A Lavish $24K Modern Art Museum Wedding

Featuring an epic Nick Cave installation

Amanda, University Instructor & Pierce, Site Engineer 

sum-up of the wedding vibe: A classic yet cool celebration of family and love

Planned Budget: $27,000
Actual Budget: $24,000
Number of Guests: 145
Location:  Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio
photographer: Sur La Lune Photography

Where we allocated the most funds:

Catering. We really wanted a classic cocktail party-style service throughout the evening so we opted for tapas-style food stations rather than a served dinner. We can’t stress enough how incredible the full-service setup, catering, and bar services from A Taste of Excellence were. Were it not for Chris Winter and his assistant, Christene, we would have been lost.

Where we allocated the least funds:

Music and DJ. These services were gifted to us by a family member who owns TKO Entertainment (Cleveland, OH). We are incredibly fortunate to have a family member with the sought-after talent and professionalism that Ted Kusek and his team offer. Aside from this gracious gift, we allocated the least amount of funds to the venue and decor. The cost to rent the space, including the bridal suite and library, was very reasonable considering the museum is a non-profit. Additionally, beyond bridal bouquets, garland, floral arrangements, and table numbers, we kept the decor to a minimum. The uplighting of the space provided the perfect ambiance! Additionally, we (by which I mean, Pierce) designed our own invitations and had them printed locally.

What was totally worth it:

The venue and catering. These two elements were vital in helping us plan a celebration that genuinely reflected “us.” Good food = good party and our caterers delivered. Throughout the cocktail hour, guests were able to browse the art galleries and enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres. To keep the energy flowing, we opted for tapas-style dinner with food stations placed throughout the venue. The two hours when the stations were open allowed guests to mingle, eat, and drink at their leisure and helped establish the vibe we were seeking. Our catering professionals also worked with us to create vegan and gluten-free options for our guests; there was indeed something for everyone to enjoy. Months later and we’re still receiving compliments on both the site and fantastic food options!

What was totally not worth it:

I wish I could answer this question, but we only invested in the items felt what we wanted for the day, so we have no regrets.

A few things that helped us along the way:

A long engagement! No joke. We got engaged before Amanda’s final year of graduate school in the summer of 2016 and held our wedding in March, 2019. Doing all the planning work together was extremely important to us. So, having that time allowed us to build out a clear vision of how we wanted our day to look and feel, and how to style it accordingly. Opting for an off-season, Friday evening ceremony also proved to be essential in cutting costs and booking our dream vendors without the stress of being edged out. A few other critical ingredients to our success include having open, honest, consistent communication with vendors. We worked as equal partners in all areas concerning planning, delegating, and completing tasks. We also received time, energy, and financial assistance of our families.

My best practical advice for my planning self:

Take the time to enjoy your partner and engagement. Once you start the process, complete one task a day, no matter how small.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

The venue, of course! The modern concrete design of the museum, as well as some staple installations, were beautiful enough to stand on their own. Rather than overwhelm the space with unnecessary decor, we were able to highlight its beauty with appropriate uplighting, classic table settings featuring white linens and chairs, a muted color palette of greens, lavender, and gray, and an elegant four-tier white cake.

Anything else:

 In lieu of guest favors, we decided to make a donation to the American Cancer Society. As we both have family members who have battled cancer, and numerous friends with similar stories, we wanted to honor them in our wedding celebration. In late 2016, Pierce’s father was diagnosed with throat cancer. It was understandably a scary time for our family, but he showed unwavering strength throughout, continuing to work his demanding job and never complaining. He truly is an example of courage, grit, and determination. We were blessed that it was detected early and after undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, he is cancer-free as of Spring 2017! We did, unfortunately, lose Amanda’s grandfather to bone cancer in October 2018. And although he could not attend our wedding, we were so both blessed to have his love and support throughout our engagement. His spirit was certainly felt on the wedding day.


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