Win Dinner At Saffron From the Independent Wedding Fair

Consider this your invitation to Something New: The Independent Wedding Fair.

This Feb. 6 from 11am-3pm, join a hand-picked selection more than 20 of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area’s most talented and passionate wedding vendors at FIVE Event Center in Uptown Minneapolis.

“Independent” doesn’t mean “high-cost” or “low-cost” — it means a good cost for the level of service and experience they provide. We look for local people who are determined to give a lot of bang for a buck, often by not having the infrastructure that larger businesses might have.

Besides the opportunity to meet and talk with a variety of wedding professionals, the Independent Wedding Fair will offer panel discussions on wedding topics like “planning the timeline of your wedding” and “how to achieve your wedding style.” The atmosphere will be low-pressure and cordial.

Still not sure? Join us for some amazing snacks from Chowgirls Killer Catering, Sweets Bakeshop, and Jessica’s Cakes, or just chill out in the lounges with music and take it all in. We’ll have live music from a string quartet, food and cake samples, and door prizes including a hand-knit shawl from Knit-n-Jules.

For tickets and more information, visit the website.


We’re teaming up with Saffron Restaurant & Lounge to put a $100 gift certificate on the table. Here’s how to enter:

1. Post a comment at the bottom of this story, using a valid name and email address.

2. Your comment should be a tip for planning and enjoying a great wedding — something you wish you’d known, or something a bride and groom might not necessarily think of before the day of.

Tips can be ways to save money, add style, or just enjoy the day.

We’ll use the best ideas to create tip cards that we’ll give out at the wedding fair, and one tip — drawn at random — will win the submitter a $100 gift certificate to Saffron.

Contest Deadline: Drawing will take place midnight, Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Heavy Table contributors and Something New vendors are not eligible to win.


Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The critically-acclaimed and award-winning Saffron Restaurant & Lounge is the brainchild of brothers Saed and Sameh Wadi. Opened in February 2007 and specializing in contemporary Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, the restaurant features a seasonal menu which utilizes only the highest quality ingredients. The delicacy of Saffron’s cuisine is in the details of the craft; curing lamb bacon, grinding aromatic spices, and making ice creams and sorbets daily is what we take pride in.

The bar at Saffron is an ideal location to sit and relax while enjoying hand-crafted cocktails, a wine list with selections from around the world, and delectable mezzes from the Mediterranean. The space itself boasts a vibrant, warm, and inviting atmosphere that makes it a perfect location for dinner with family, friends, and business associates or an intimate night out.


  1. kassie

    I think the best thing I did was keep it simple. We had a tiny ceremony in my church. The next day we did the reception.

    Other things,

    1) It is more for your guests than for you.
    2) Wedding dresses don’t have to come from bridal shops.
    3) The farmers market has beautiful flowers
    4) The local parks can make beautiful locations.

  2. robin marty

    my tips:

    1)look for a white bridesmaid dress and save hundreds of dollars.
    2)have your party dress in one simple color and give matching ties/shawls in a complementary color to create a coordinated look
    3)candles in small glasses make excellent lighting at sunset ceremony and can be given to guests as remembrances
    4)one of the biggest costs is rental; try finding a place you can borrow like a garden or cabin
    5)when planning an outdoor ceremony, try to remember that it can snow in May in Minnesota.

  3. Amber

    I recommend putting someone in the family or wedding party in charge of paying everyone the day of to relieve stress and allow you to enjoy the day more. Print out a sheet of who gets paid what amount.

  4. Mel

    Do something fun for your guests. We skipped the wedding cake and served a dessert buffet instead. Lots of little bite sized goodies for people to choose from. We also served mini cheeseburgers and fries after a couple hours of dancing madness. Our friends still talk about how much fun the wedding was and the late night snack we served.

    Remember that no matter what happens during your wedding that it is about the marriage. Enjoy having your family and friends together and try to let the little things go.

  5. Kinzie

    Raining on your wedding day? Don’t skip the outdoor pictures – come prepared with stylish umbrellas or find a cool gazebo. You’ll have photos that are super memorable.

  6. Anna

    I second searching for a white bridesmaid dress!
    I think it’s important not to sweat the little details that might be out of your control on the day of your wedding. Just repeat to yourself: “My wedding won’t be perfect but it will be awesome!”

  7. MIMI

    Think about scheduling the wedding at unconventional times. Also everyone seems to enjoy informal weddings more. Don’t waste your energy on seating arrangements and place cards. These things will all work out on their own.

    We got married on Friday at 12:30. We both have huge families and many friends but wanted to make sure everyone knew that they were welcome to come to the wedding. We had over 200 people at the church because many just took a long lunch to attend. Then we went to a restaurant for lunch with 40 or so of the guest. The restaurant gave us a great deal on the food and everyone liked the novel approach.

  8. Laura

    I loved all the details of my wedding day: wearing a silk dress my grandmother sewed, assembling the bouquets with my mother in the church kitchen, inviting only our closest 25 friends and family, enjoying a cocktail hour and an amazing meal at an art gallery (no dancing, no drunkenness, just fantastic company). The best tip: if you have to look up someone’s address, don’t invite them.

  9. Anja

    To save on venue costs, rent a park pavilion
    and have an outdoor wedding, with a barbecue or
    catered reception on picnic tables. People will
    remember the spirit of the event, being together,
    and the fun they had, rather than how much you
    paid for the wedding.

    An iPod “DJ” can ensure that you’ll get the music
    that you want at the event. Enlist a friend or
    relative to take care of set-up and troubleshooting.

  10. Lisa

    I love when you go to a wedding reception and there is a candy or snack table set out after the dancing has started – at one wedding I attended a candy buffet was set up a couple hours into the dancing. it gave everyone a second wind, especially those of us in the wedding party who had been up since 8 am!

    Also, think about unconventional food options. I attended a wedding with a mashed potato bar with dozens of topping options and everyone absolutely RAVED.

  11. Jacquie

    We decided to skip the traditional guestbook and have a photo-booth guestbook. You get a copy of each picture, and your guests get to take home a fun memory! We had a blast looking at our guests pictures and comments the next day. Also, we used frames for the seating assignments that fit the photo-booth pictures.

  12. Melissa

    I decided to skip the bridesmaids/attendants. The day is about the couple, not your friends anyway. As a bonus you will save money on flowers and attendant gifts. Your friends will show up to help you out before the ceremony anyway and they will be happier since they did not have to spend money on expensive bridesmaid dresses.

  13. Clair

    Using our own iPod playlist was not only fun (and memorable!) for us to put together ahead of the wedding – but a great way to save money too (only renting the stereo equipment).

    No chance of a bad DJ – we were guaranteed hear songs we knew everyone would love!

  14. Kris

    Decide on which component is most important to you and build your celebration around that. We wanted to make our wedding a party for our friends so we found a location that could accomodate the (Irish drinking) band we wanted and could provide kegs of “good” beer.

  15. Lynne

    1) Local clothing boutiques often feature local designers and have amazing and affordable dresses for everyone from the bride to the flower girl(s).
    2) With many vendors, when you say something is for a wedding they instantly add 10 percent to the price. There’s nothing wrong with your floral centerpieces and boutonnieres being for a “retirement party.”
    3) If you’re serving cake, go with a small, decorated version for the cake table and couple’s cake cutting. Order a sheet cake to serve to the crowd. Same delicious taste and the cake all looks the same when cut into pieces.
    4) Instead of a traditional food buffet, set up food stations around the venue. People are more spread out, lines don’t get as long and they have a reason to “tour” the space and mingle instead of staying in just one or two spots.
    5) A full host bar can be really expensive. Choose a good white and red wine and serve those as your “featured wines.” Offer a small, but thoughtful selection of beers, large selection of non-alcoholic choices and, in lieu of an assortment of liquors, create a signature cocktail for guests to enjoy.

  16. geoff

    Unlike choosing a husband (who you know you can mold to your wishes!) you should hire your vendors and venue based on who they are, and not who you want them to be. when you try to force them out of their comfort zone, chances are you’ll both end up unhappy in the end.

  17. Christina

    If inviting children to your wedding, designate an attendant or friend to engage the children in some activities geared especially for them (arts and crafts, face painting or balloon figures for example, or even have them do an art project as a keepsake for the bride and groom). The kids will be engaged and feel that they were included in a special way, in addition to being less likely to be disruptive and out-of-control.

  18. Ashley Siebels

    A great wedding photographer can allow for even the cheapest wedding to be remembered as elegant. Buy a dress off the rack, bake your own cake, get married in the best backyard you know of, but please…please…spend big money on your photos.

  19. Ashley S.

    Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to other people! You don’t have to do everything yourselves, and likely other people (especially close family and friends) will be happy to help in any way.

  20. Kristi

    Trust your vendors! They have probably done this many, many times. So ask their opinion about what they think is best. And if they tell you something won’t work, don’t push it. Remember that they are people and treat them well. No one wants to go the extra mile for a difficult customer. Keep track of the big stuff (who, what, when, where, how much) and let them handle the details.

  21. Ellen

    Make sure your whole wedding reflects your personalities–including the food! I enjoy a departure from the normal wedding food and it adds a lot to a reception. Example: my mom had cherry bread pudding instead of cake at her second wedding. It’s her favorite dessert and she wanted to share it with everyone. It makes the whole even so much more personal!

  22. Durk

    1.) Prioritize the key aspects to you wedding day (photography, food, attendant gifts, limo, favors, entertainment) to help balance your budget. In hindsight, we really could have cut corners in some places to enhance others.

    2.) Book early (applies to everything — gives you freedom of choice)

    3. Mix tables up a bit to make sure everyone has fun during dinner

    4. Hire Becca Dilley as your photographer (unless she wants a weekend off)

  23. Christopher James

    See if your caterer will make a special “goodie basket” of sweets, snacks, a split of champagne, and other goodies to send with you and your new spouse to enjoy at home (or in your hotel room) after the reception.

  24. Katie

    We used a cookbook for our guestbook and had our guests sign and write messages by recipes they liked. Now whenever we make something from the cookbook, we think of our wonderful guests and read the fun and thoughtful messages they wrote us.

  25. Pat

    White roses with the stems cut short and packed into small square vases were one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen at a wedding. They were placed on the tables at the reception. The bride did them herself with vases she got at Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrell.

  26. Dan

    If a fall wedding is planned, try growing as much produce as you can over the summer to supply the reception. A friend did this and said she was able to save some money on catering and everything was certainly fresh and delicious.

  27. Nate

    Just simply do enough planning and let the wave of the wedding day take you away. Enjoy the ride.

  28. Crystal (Cafe Cyan)

    If you’re a DIY person, have family/friend parties to help you make or assemble invites, programs and favors. Our families were glad to help and participate.

    I wish we would have remembered to grab our families when we cut the cake. Not a huge deal, but wish they could have watched.

  29. Marcella

    Have a cookie or candy table with a variety of goodies and packaging so guests can take home treats to enjoy later. We had a cookie table with items that my aunts and grandmother made and everyone loved it.

  30. MD

    (1) Enjoy yourself in the moment and remember that the day/night of your wedding will fly by and be a happy blur. As a such, hire a wonderful photographer to capture the moments. Those will beautiful shots will be with you for a lifetime.
    (2) If you have bridesmaids, look for their dresses at venues other than bridesmaid shops. While at the farmer’s market one morning, one vendor there had simple belted cocktail-length dresses in beautiful raw silk that would be a flattering cut on most body types. The colors were vibrant and the price was very reasonable.
    (3) Save on flowers by buying two or three colors of roses, tulips, etc. in bulk and assembling the bouquets yourself.
    (4) As an alternative to a wedding cake, serve cupcakes which can also be displayed in elegant tiers. Best of all as a guest, one can choose among several flavors.

  31. Kris

    I agree with the first person who posted. Weddings are for the benefit of your guests, rather than yourselves. If you’re at all a high-strung type of person, you’ll be too stressed to enjoy things much for the first few hours anyway. My one regret from my own wedding: skimping on photos; don’t make the same mistake! Things I’m glad we didn’t splurge for: party favors and an expensive wedding gown. Things I’m glad we did invest in: good-quality cake and nice event location.

  32. Erica

    Having the wedding ceremony and reception at the hotel where everyone was staying at made it super convenient for all the out of town guests. Easy transitioning and a lot of fun!

  33. Andy

    1) keep things small but with something to satisfy everyone. when there is too much going on, it becomes difficult to appreciate what there is.

    2) do not be afraid to follow your own visions and disregard the suggestions of family.

    3) have the wedding in a location you love & try to involve as much local content (food, flowers, etc) as possible.

    4) drinks, good music, and lots of love is really all that’s needed.

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