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Wedding Wish: Faire Wedding (updated 6/7/09)

Started by Dominic_Deegan, February 13, 2009, 08:52:44 PM

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Thank you, Celtic Lady, for the happy b-day. :D

I didn't say it well in my last post. What I meant to say about the RSVPs is that I realized I need to do them sooner rather than a little later. I was going to wait until closer to the end of the year. Now, I'm going to send them out as soon as I find a nice invite and re-ask a few times throughout the rest of this year and into next year. Mainly because plans always change, things happen last minute (emergency or not), and some people just simply change their minds. The package we are aiming for includes 50 tickets aside from the bride and groom. We made a list of 40 people, and are setting aside 10 tickets for others that might need it them such a photographer. We honestly think that only between 20-30 will actually be able to make it. I just wouldn't know what to do with the excess tickets. If there are that many left over tickets, then we will go for the next size down package and add on the extra things we want that it may not include. Honestly, things like a sword arch would be a nice touch and memorable, but I don't need it either. It's just a nice bonus. I'm more concerned about enough food, drink, and music for the reception. The ceremony itself can be pretty plain as far as my fiance and I are concerned.
"If you like rainbows, then you'll have to get used to the rain."


My fiance and I are planning on a May wedding at the Castle of Muskogee in Oklahoma at the RenFaire there.  We had originally thought it would be a nice small gathering for our close friends and family as this was not either of ours first weddings.  While we are having fun planning and preparing, it has turned out to be a bit expensive!  More so than what we had originally thought.  I did save some money by making the invitations myself rather than professionally and they turned out wonderful!  I wanted the scroll wedding invites, but every place online I saw them they had a minimum order of like 50 or 100.  I certainly didn't need that many so I bought some cotton fabric, cut out 8X11 sheets and ironed freezer paper on them and sent them through the printer.  Then I spray painted dowels and finials silver and my friend sewed hems into the tops and bottoms of the invites and I put the dowels through those and there I had my scroll invites!  I rolled them up and tied them with ribbon.  I printed all the RSVP cards in silver ink and included another card with "Things to Remember" such as full costume is encouraged but not required - and there is a costume rental at the gates, and I requested that this is an adults only ceremony and reception as it can prove to be a long day for little ones.  I also mentioned that their presence is the only gift we desire.  I did a map on the other side.  For a few select family members, they will also be attending the Kings lunch and the Queens Tea and we purchased tickets for those as well.  The Castle has a Kings Feaste one Saturday night during the Faire, and we are incorporating our reception into that.  It is a sit down dinner with authentic music, entertainment, and food.  Although per person this is much more than what you would normally spend on an average wedding, it will be well worth it!  I will post pictures of the event later!  We do have people coming in from out of state and it is their responsibility to provide transportation and lodging, however I did provide them with a list of hotels and B&B's in the area.  I sent out the invitations the end of February with an April 1st RSVP deadline and also put on my Things to Remember card that "Due to the limited seating, no late RSVP's can be accepted".  The Castle needs a firm head count ASAP so they can accomodate us for the Kings Feaste.  We have already paid for everyone, and if they send a regret before that date then we can get our money refunded.  Hope this helps for anyone who is planning a ren wedding.  It's alot of fun!!!

Esperanza McDaniels

My husband and I got married last year at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival in Tampa, Florida.  We had quite a few out of town guests, as most of my family live in Ohio, and his sister is in Tennessee.  The complex that we live in, also rents out suites and motels, so that was convenient for us, but I did check around local hotels.  I found The Holiday Inn to be the most accommodating, in terms of giving us the best rate.  As for the faire, I called and spoke to the coordinator quite frequently.  You will find that they are more willing to work with you to ensure that your day is as wonderful as they can make it.  Now, my wedding was much larger than the average Ren Wedding and the largest that BARF had ever had. (5 bridesmaids, 5 groomsmen, 2 flowers girls and a ring bearer and then 85 guests!)  They ended up waiving my chapel fee and rented out the feast tent, exclusively to my wedding party.  I was also able to customize the menu to my guests tastes, in terms of allergies, vegetarians, things like that.  The price I was quoted included entrance into the festival and food, beverage, and entertainment per each guest.  Although there were bumps in the road (as any wedding WILL have) overall, it was an a lovely experience, and ALL of my guests fell in love with the festival and the people there.

As far as ordering things for your wedding, I did A TON of research. My husband and I knew that we were paying for at least half of the wedding ourselves, as our parents would take care of the other half.  I was engaged for a year and a half and I used every bit of that time to plan the perfect wedding, as inexpensive as I could make it.  I found that Ebay was my friend in more ways than one.  I was able to purchase so many party supplies, decorations, jewelry for the wedding party, napkins, etc. from ebay for half the cost I would of paid elsewhere.

I ordered ALL of my invitations, RSVP's, Save the dates, thank you cards, etc. from a wonderful website that sends a portion of the proceeds to charity.  The invitations were my favorite, as it looked like a scroll, and they actually burned the edges of the paper to give it a more authentic look.  The more you purchase from them, the more of a discount they gave you at check out.  Here's the website:

A wonderful place where I found little things for the evening reception (not the one I had at the faire, a seperate one for dancing, karaoke, speeches, etc) was  They have a bunch of wedding things for practically pennies.

All of our clothing was custom made.  After I knew where I was holding the wedding, I began to haunt the festival, looking for vendors that appealed to me in terms of clothes and something I could use as a wedding favor to give the guests.  I found two local women who were amazing seamstresses.  One, I approached with pictures and sketches of what I wanted the groomsmen to wear.  We discussed fabrics and then prices, and she gave me an excellent price per costume.  The other, I went to for my bridesmaid dresses and my mother's dress.  Again, we went over the best fabric and then a price, and I was beyond pleased with the final outcome.  I also found a very skilled Chinese woman and her husband, who made roses out of pieces of wood.  They were exquisite and the detail on them were amazing.  I thought that they made the best gift that I could give to my wedding guests, to remember my special day, since a rose that has bloomed represents so much love, hope, and beauty for a couple in love.  And they would never wilt, or die.  We had them made in our two wedding colors, and they came out better than I could have hoped for.

I had the most fun planning my wedding.  Even with all the hiccups along the way, it was one of the best experiences I've ever had.  I hope that I have been of some assistance to you.  Please, feel free to let me know if I can answer any other questions you may have.  I leave you with a pic of my happy day:
Esperanza McDaniels
Pilot for The Harbinger

Bite'n Penny
Cruise Director of The Clan O'Conchobhair


Thank you mamma_buddha and Lady Amalthea for your help and advice!

Our wedding plans are on hold for the moment. We still have not been able to find jobs out here in Chattanooga, TN. My father has said that he will help with some of the wedding costs, but I still don't want people to do that really. Matt and I don't mind paying for the wedding and reception itself. Since pretty much everyone we want to invite will be traveling from other states, we are asking them to save their money for their own travel and lodging expenses. We are also planning on telling people that if they feel they have to get us a gift, to send it to us after the wedding, they could help with our honeymoon, or even just send us money. As it currently stands, we are living with Matt's mom so we don't exactly have the room to put things sent to us.

All in all, we desperately need jobs first before we can even begin planning the wedding. We are trying to line up as much as we can and I plan on sending a general invite and RSVP to everyone we want to invite just to get a general head count. Once we have jobs, money, and can get real plan rolling, then we will send out proper invites with instructions, and what to remember to bring.

That is a great idea about not allowing children! I would like my kid cousins to come, but I also think it would be a bit too long of a day for them. I didn't really think about that before.
"If you like rainbows, then you'll have to get used to the rain."


They do perform weddings at the Tennessee Renaissance Festival. They have an private event section for weddings and parties. They used to hold small weddings in the garden near the entrance I don't know if they still do that.

You could also try some of the smaller faires. The Alabama RF and Ardmore RF have both held Weddings. In both cases the couple were part of the staff. The Weddings became part of the entertainment at the faire. So your wedding might not be private.
Alabama Ren faire is in NW Alabama. Here's Photos from the wedding The faire is in Oct. The Ardmore fair is not happening this year but would have been this coming weekend.

Dragon Days is in it second year as a ren faire. It's  in a couple weeks. April 25-26. You can visit the faire. The Park has a wedding area. It's in Cookeville, TN.
Twenty seasons of covering renaissance  festivals. Photos/calendar/blog.
Fairy photographer

Lady de la Warr

We got married at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire last season (2008). It was beautiful. They have a private area for weddings called the "Feasting Glenn" and a gazebo to do the ceremony in followed by a reception in one of the pavilions directly adjacent to the gazebo. This helps to keep uninvited guests from interrupting.

The wedding package we bought included 50 tickets. The cool thing about PARF is that any tickets you don't use can be sold to people for use on another day. They would have allowed us to turn in the unused tickets but we had to do this a week BEFORE the wedding. Well who knows a week BEFORE who will show up and who won't??? But again - the tickets we had left over were good for admission any day of the faire that season. So I sold them for what they cost me - which was a discount per ticket of around $10. So the buyer got a deal by not having to pay full price for admission and I made out by being able to recoup the money I spent on tickets. My point here is wherever you decide to do this you need to ask them if you can use any left over tickets for admission on another day. You don't have to tell them you are going to sell can just let them think YOU are  going to use them yourself or you are going to give them to friends. But you need to find out.

There is a Hampton Inn directly across the street from faire. They are expensive but you can reserve a block of rooms for your wedding guests and as long as they book 30 days or more in advance you can get a reduced group rate (last season group rate was $119 whereas normal price was $149 I believe). It's a nice hotel and it's very convenient - you can walk to faire instead of having to drive anywhere  ;)

We paid nowhere NEAR $20k for our wedding. Grand total - including wedding, reception (flowers, food and cake was included in the price), decorations I threw in over and above the flowers that were included, initial cost of photographer (which included the book of proofs but not the real wedding album), my and his garb (and I was dressed as the Queen of Denmark complete with a real crown of silver and brass with genuine gemstones set into it and he a noble complete with pearled velvet garb) and all the other miscellaneous items - around $10-12k - and that's probably a slight overestimation.

So if you still don't have a definite place to do your wedding in mind and you aren't against a little travel, check out PARF for your wedding. You won't regret it.

Edited to add the following link to some of the many pictures taken the day of my wedding:

And just for the heck of it, here is one of the many pictures of my husband and I (I had removed my veil in this picture):

Professor M

Forgive me for putting in my two cents.  I'm afraid you're going to get overwhelmed by all of the suggestions you've been getting.

I went back to your original post, and you mentioned having your wedding at a faire, or at least a ren-themed wedding.  I've attended several of those, and you really can do them on a small budget.  You can probably find a local park with a gazebo or pavilion that you can reserve for the wedding. 

You find a minister to officiate (there are plenty who will), and ask your guests to come in garb.  At one wedding we did, the bride and groom arranged with a local costume chop to have a rack of costumes available, and anyone who didn't show up in garb was offered the chance to wear something off the rack.

For music, you hire a bagpiper, hammered dulcimer player, violinist, or whatever you prefer.  If money is really tight you buy a few CDs of your favorite ren-groups and play them.

For food, find a local caterer who does outdoor barbecues.  Many of them can bring their own stoves and grills and cook on site.

If you still have money in your budget, hire some ren-themed entertainers to mingle with your guests.  This really adds to the atmosphere.  I've performed at weddings.  Our group included musicians, dancers, improv comedians, and magicians.  You may not find a group like that in your area, but hiring 5 or 6 performers who will work in garb will give you the ren-themed effect you're looking for.

I hope this helps.
"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."
~ C.S. Lewis


Thank you to everyone who has been replying and offering advice. I'm sorry it has been a while since I last posted in ANY topic much less this one.

One of the biggest issues concerning the wedding was mainly where to have it and how many could make it. I want my grandparents to come. They live in Virginia currently and are getting ready to move back to North Carolina with my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins. My grandma is terrified of flying and doesn't drive. My grandpa had a stroke a few years ago and lost most of the vision in his left eye so he can't really drive for too long.

Because of this, I decided to look to Virginia and North Carolina for ren fairs that might have weddings. I found one that looks wonderful and their prices were so low it made my jaw drop when I read it! I e-mailed the special event coordinator at the fair to see if those really were still the prices as well as to ask for more information. What we are now seriously considering is The Annual Carolina Renaissance Festival and Artisan's Market near Huntersville, NC. it would only be around a 3 hour drive for my family out here, specially if they've moved back to Raleigh area before the wedding. I also know that my mom, step-dad, sister, dad, and step-mom would go. It will be even closer than Texas for my fiance's mom, brother, and friends as well who live in Chattanooga, TN and Birmingham, AL areas.

That festival doesn't have it's own camping, but it does have lots of hotels and campgrounds within a 10 miles radius. Another good thing is that the festival usually runs during a time of year we originally planned to have the wedding; October-November. That will give us nearly half a year worth of extra time to plan  everything. My dad also said she would help a little bit, but I didn't want to ask him how much. The only things the wedding packages do not include that we will need to add is a cake, food and drink for the reception, and photographer. Another thing to consider is music or some kind of entertainment for the reception. Their biggest package (starting at $2,000) says it includes "costumed festival revelers to mix and mingle with guests", but it doesn't say if that is for the ceremony, reception, or both. As I said before, I already e-mailed the special event planner for more info. Of course, on top of all of that, we still have to plan, make, and/or order our wedding garb. We still want it to be really nice and dressy, but also something we can wear again to other fairs/festivals.

First things first though, we need jobs! I finally landed my third interview in five months for this coming Tuesday. It is with a company I have worked with before, so hopefully that will give me a good edge up on other applicants since they won't have to train me as thoroughly. It will be more like reminding me of some things, lol.

"If you like rainbows, then you'll have to get used to the rain."

Lady de la Warr

The Carolina Renaissance Faire is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL faire! I have attended closing weekend for the past 2 years. I think you will be quite pleased with it  :)

Good luck to you both!


Yes, CRF would be a lovely place to be married. And Lady de la Warr and I should know, as we were both married at Ren Faires and were present at each other's weddings. And I have to say that wherever you decide to do it, I'm sure it will be lovely.   
Peddlin M'Crack
Countess of Tyrone
IWG #3790, Local 96


Well, the Carolina Festival did look amazing and it is close to a good chunk of my family and his. Unfortunately, we decided against it after we talked to their special event coordinator. The only one thing that was a deal breaker for us personally was that they did not offer any kind of food with the reception. No catering, buffet, or plates of any kind. They did offer coupon books at $13 per person though, so it wasn't like they offered nothing at all. I just didn't feel great about it since practically every other festival I have looked at offers some amount of food and drink in their price, even if it ends up being a bit more because of it.

That aside though, it just seems more and more like we won't be able to have a renaissance wedding anyway. We have been six months out of a job, in debt, on food stamps, and really just going no where at the moment. It's pretty bad. It be able to save up money, even with help, by the end of the year is getting nearly impossible. The more friends and family I talk too, the more they say the same general thing. They want to go, but don't think they can. Especially from the ones who have to travel farther, which is understandable. We only have 49 people on our list, which was actually stretching it to begin with, but 30-35 of them are iffy on coming.

I think it would be best for now if we just hold off on any kind of wedding right now until we can get on our feet again, pay off our debt (around $1,500 at the moment), and start saving up. We already made a goal and deal that we would save up at very least $5,000 each ($10,000 total) and have our debts paid off before we even start planning a wedding.

We want to thank everyone who has responded so far and we do appreciate the advice and information. It's just not in our cards right now. Thank you, once again.
"If you like rainbows, then you'll have to get used to the rain."


Well, it certainly has been a while since I last posted on this site, much less in this topic. I thought I would just give a quick update on everything that's been going on since a lot has changed since the last time I posted.

I have moved back to San Jose, CA to be closer to my family. I'm currently living with my Dad and Step-mom, who are helping me get on my feet. I had gotten a job with Hallmark in Tennessee and I was able to transfer into one near my Dad's house. The bummer though is that I had to take a demotion and less hours (from 30 hrs/wk to 10 hrs/wk). Well, at least it is something and can at very least get me some gas money. I'm still looking for a steadier job or just a second one to help fill the hours. I'm also looking for an apartment for myself, but that's proven difficult. I just don't really have the money to do it right now until I get a better/another job.

My fiance, Matt, is currently living with some friends in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. We are still together, but it is flimsy right now. We are not arguing or having huge difficulties. It's mainly just that he only kind of looked for a job within a 9 month period and I got tired of it. He's shown this behavior before and it lead us moving in with his Mom and Brother. It was unhealthy for him to stay at his Mom's (that's a whole other story, and a long one too!), so he arranged to move in with some of our friends. He already has a job and they are not asking much in terms of rent from him; $300/mo. plus his 1/3 of shared utilities (it's him and two friends). All in all, he shouldn't be paying more than $500 max a month for the rent, shared utilities, and shared food. To me personally, that's a steal! He couldn't come with me because my parent's rule for helping me was that they would not also help/support him. They know he's been lazy and dragging butt on getting a job. I understand and agree. I told him that this would be a perfect time for him to get his life together before we continue with the relationship, even if that doesn't include marriage. I'm hoping that living completely on his own and having to depend on himself will help him with that. If not, then oh well there's nothing I can do. Hence the reason I am living with my parents again in the first place.   
"If you like rainbows, then you'll have to get used to the rain."