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Three wedding planning tips that won't break the bank 

click to enlarge Champagne glasses at Helen and Kendall's intimate wedding ceremony. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Champagne glasses at Helen and Kendall's intimate wedding ceremony.
You don’t have to go into debt to pay for your wedding. Here are three tips on how to plan an inexpensive, stylish, contemporary wedding:

Invite Fewer Guests
A small guest list means fewer people to entertain, and creates a more intimate experience that's often more memorable than a big party.

Get Married In Colorado Springs For Free
One fantastic spot for a wedding is Monument Valley Park, bordered by Fountain Creek with a number open spaces — the best way to see them all is by bicycle. (Start at the America The Beautiful park and ride up to Criterium Bicycles to get an idea. It’s a great bike ride and there are dozens of possibilities.) But Colorado Springs offers visitors and residents alike some of the most scenic open spaces in the country. Oftentimes these locations are way more scenic than a traditional wedding venue. The best part: They’re free.

Schedule Your Wedding For A Weekday
A wedding on a weekday dramatically lowers the cost of products and services like flowers, DJs, caterers and photographers. Bonus: If you limit the wedding and reception to four hours or less, you save even more.

click to enlarge Tammy and Bryan share kiss at the Devil's Playground on the Pikes Peak Highway. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Tammy and Bryan share kiss at the Devil's Playground on the Pikes Peak Highway.

Now, to really get your creative juices flowing, here are a few stories from couples who thought a little differently about their big day, saving a bundle and putting together magnificent events.

click to enlarge Chelsea and Ryan were married at the Garden of the Gods. The Garden of the Gods is the crown jewel of free wedding locations in Colorado Springs. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Chelsea and Ryan were married at the Garden of the Gods. The Garden of the Gods is the crown jewel of free wedding locations in Colorado Springs.

Chelsea and Ryan’s wedding ceremony was held at the Garden of the Gods. The Garden of the Gods is the crown jewel of free wedding locations in Colorado Springs. There are a number of unique and out-of-the-way spots for a small wedding ceremony — Chelsea and Ryan were married in front of the Siamese Twins rock formation. It was a short hike in their favorite sneakers to get to the ceremony. Afterwards Chelsea’s grandfather hosted a barbecue for the happy couple in his backyard.

click to enlarge Helen and Kendall share a kiss in North Cheyenne Cañon. This park is 15 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs and has some amazing Rocky Mountain scenery. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Helen and Kendall share a kiss in North Cheyenne Cañon. This park is 15 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs and has some amazing Rocky Mountain scenery.

Some of the best pictures come about because of unique, off-the-beaten-path wedding locations, and North Cheyenne Cañon is one such place. Helen and Kendall took advantage of the location, 15 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs with some amazing Rocky Mountain scenery, for a weekday ceremony at a little pullout along Gold Camp Rd. The ceremony lasted just a few minutes, but the picnic afterwards with their children and close friends was magical.

click to enlarge Amy and Kyle exit their wedding ceremony at Monument Valley Park. Monument Valley Park is another fantastic spot for wedding. This thoroughfare runs along Fountain Creek and features several different open spaces. The best way to see them all is by bicycle. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Amy and Kyle exit their wedding ceremony at Monument Valley Park. Monument Valley Park is another fantastic spot for wedding. This thoroughfare runs along Fountain Creek and features several different open spaces. The best way to see them all is by bicycle.

Amy and Kyle were married in the Heritage Gardens, across from the historic Van Briggle Pottery Building. The couple's wonderful reception at a nearby community center featured barbecue and a blue grass band.

I hope this post inspires you to create the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.


Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He's also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout.

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