For most people, a new gazebo in the backyard means a nice place to sit in the summertime and a gathering point when friends come over for a barbecue; however for longtime Roundup resident Christine Wanner, the new gazebo she put in her backyard is a physical monument to the growth of her business. Wanner is a legally authorized "wedding officiant" and her new gazebo provides a nice place to hold a wedding or renewal of vows ceremony; and it can also be used as a setting for family or graduation photos, and it can be rented out, even if someone else does the ceremony. But beyond performing the ceremony, Wanner also provides many of the finishing touches to make a couple's wedding day special. Besides the newly installed gazebo, Wanner offers her customers a wide selection of silk flowers, which they can arrange themselves if they choose; as well as complimentary wedding bands, and there is even a variety of wedding gowns and veils that can be borrowed for the cost of a trip to the cleaners afterwards.
In colder or more unpleasant weather, Ms. Wanner will do the ceremony in her living room, but she also performs weddings at other locations, and is willing to travel up to fifty miles for no extra charge. She requests that people try to schedule their wedding as far in advance as possible, but went on to state that if a couple shows up with a marriage license, she'll do a last-minute wedding if needed. She also told us that she feels that in this economy, her services provide a low-budget alternative for the ceremony, which could help a couple free up more money for the reception -and speaking of receptions, Ms. Wanner is quick to emphasize that she does not do wedding receptions; but she has a collection of cards from local businesses to assist her clients in finding additional services. Anyone having a related local business is encouraged to get with Ms. Wanner about adding their business card to her collection.
Ms. Wanner is also still on the lookout for more wedding dresses, veils and bouquets.
Roundup woman's discount wedding service receives national award
ROUNDUP - When it comes to weddings, the bride and groom say "I Do" to a lot of expenses.
So much so, that many couples never get the wedding of their dreams; some can't even afford a simple one.
Enter Roundup wedding savior, Chris Wanner, a Montana woman whose one-stop-shop discount weddings are being recognized on a national level.
If you look through Chris' basement, you will find a lot of wedding dresses.
"Oh goodness, I'd say at least 100," said Wanner.
That's not the number of gowns, no, there are many more than that.
That's the number of couples she's married.
"The whole concept started back in 2004 when a student at the high school called me and said she wanted me to marry her and her fiancé."
At the time, Chris wasn't ordained, meaning she couldn't perform the ceremony for her former student.
She couldn't get the certification in time, so they got married at the court house.
But Chris didn't give up.
She's always had a passion for weddings, so she kept at it and opened her own wedding business, but with a bit of twist.
"Every bride regardless of their economic circumstances has the right to feel beautiful on that one day," said Wanner. "Not everyone can afford a $1,000 dress and a big church wedding."
This motto keeps Chris' prices under $100 per ceremony. That includes dress rentals, flower arrangements, wedding bands, a gazebo and now that she is legally able, the actual wedding.
This budget business started getting a lot of attention and not just from local couples. Google gave her a call.
"She told me that I was in the running for the 2013 Montana state ambassador for small businesses and I was like 'OKKKK!'"
And she won! Google gave her an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. for recognition at a national awards ceremony.
Just one year later, Chris looks back on the trip with pride in her eyes.
But though she's garnered national attention for her business she got an even bigger pay off on Saturday.
She wedded Olivia and Daniel, but they're not just any couple.
Back in 2004, Olivia asked her former teacher to marry her and her fiancé, but her teacher wasn't legally able at the time.
So she and her fiancé had a courthouse wedding.
After a few years, they called it quits.
Saturday, they were remarried, but this time by Chris, the way it was originally meant to be.
"It's like full circle. I was so honored that they decided to come back to me because I couldn't do it the first time. It just made my heart sing."
All but one of Chris' many dresses were donated and she said she couldn't help her community without her community's help.
If you would like to donate to Wanner's Weddings or if you are interested in her services, you can visit her online at www.wannersweddings.com.