Dayton – Resting atop a lace-covered table in a setting that is reminiscent of a 1950s-esque living room in small town America, a black-and-white photo of a newlywed couple illustrates a simpler time, one that the mother-daughter duo of Kim and Erica are capturing for couples at their intimate wedding venue called The Marriage Studio.
In the photo, taken in 1954, Kim’s parents stand outside of a judge’s home in rural Mississippi – her mom adorned in a dress, hat and gloves; and her dad in a suit and tie. That image, defined by their beaming smiles and excited anticipation for their life ahead, is what inspired their daughter to create a nostalgic, romantic and cozy space where couples could wed in a memorable ceremony that is not costly.
“We restored my parents’ wedding photo for their 60th anniversary and listened to their fond recollection of that day,” said Kim, who has a detailed background in marketing, sales and special events in the hospitality field. “The ceremony was held at the judge’s house and the guests were my dad’s best friend and his best friend’s wife. The entire wedding cost them $20, but it was not about the grandeur of the event. It was about a meaningful and lasting marriage, not an elegant wedding.”
The photo initially sparked Kim’s idea for a comfortable vintage studio where couples could have a customized ceremony in a nostalgic spot without the expense of an enormous wedding, and the launch of The Marriage Studio is timely. According to a recent study by BRIDES magazine, the average wedding today tops out at $26,522, not including the honeymoon. Many couples do not splurge for that level of extravagance, but even typical smaller ceremonies eclipse $10,000. Simply put, weddings in those price ranges cost 25 to 50 percent of a median household income.
Another moment that spurred Kim to debut The Marriage Studio was when she learned that a female colleague and her fiancé were getting married at the courthouse because they could not afford the expense of a wedding. There was a three-week waiting list at the courthouse, though, and when it happened, the ceremony was not held in a romantic setting.
“The Marriage Studio represents the option that is more personal and memorable than a courthouse setting, and more convenient and dramatically less expensive than a larger wedding,” Kim said. “A growing number of couples want to create a lasting and meaningful marriage without the hassle of big debt from a big ceremony.
“When my parents were married, the focus was on the celebrating the beginning of a lifelong marriage instead of an elaborate event,” Kim explained. “At The Marriage Studio, we host memorable ceremonies that embrace the romance and nostalgia of those old-style living room weddings in a historic and inviting ambiance.”
Located in the historic Front Street Lofts in downtown Dayton, The Marriage Studio features 1,000 square feet of space with wood-planked floors and antique décor, including the photo of Kim’s parents from 1954 that sits on the lace-covered table. The Marriage Studio offers three wedding ceremony packages. Couples can make the space their own by customizing options that make the space uniquely theirs.
The three packages are:
This package option provides access to The Marriage Studio space for a “quick” marriage ceremony. More personal than a courthouse wedding, the “quickie” keeps the focus on the couple and included a champagne toast. The Marriage Studio’s in-house licensed wedding officiant, Jeff Louderback, can be on site promptly. The cost is $100, not including the $75 wedding officiant’s fee.
This package option is $500 and features two hours of space time, cake service for 15, one bottle for a champagne toast, a bridal bouquet and boutonniere, a floral cake topper and access to the Front Street Lofts grounds for photo backdrops. Couples can bring their own officiant or hire Jeff, who is a professional writer and author and will write a customized ceremony.
This package option is $1,000 and provides four hours of space time, the officiant, cake service for 30, beverage service (coffee and water), one bottle for a champagne toast, a bridal bouquet and boutonniere, professional makeup for the bride (on-site, airbrushing, and false lashes) from Erica, a floral cake topper and access to the Front Street Lofts grounds for photo backdrops.
For more information about The Marriage Studio, visit www.themarriagestudio.com.