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Finding the perfect location for the big day

You've met the man of your dreams, and now you're dreaming of the big day when you'll go from a Miss to a Mrs. Most brides-to-be already have an idea set in their minds about how they want to shape their wedding. One of the first things to consider and research is location.

Most people automatically think of a church, which is a wonderful place to exchange vows. However, there are plenty of other unique venues to hold the ceremony. These places can save money and turn the special day into a unique expression of the bride and groom's identity.

There are several places in Mecklenburg County alone that couples can rent from Park and Recreation. Over the next few columns, you will find out a little about each of them. First up is the beautiful Freedom Park.

The Mahlon Adams Pavilion can seat up to 75 people, so it's perfect for a smaller guest list. The cost of the rental includes chairs, tables and WiFi. What's also great about this site is the fee also covers the use of a kitchen and parking.

Another money saver is that you can bring in your own alcohol. This can really cut down on your reception costs from your caterer. All you need to do is get a beer and wine permit, which should run about $50.00.

The cost of renting the pavilion varies depending on what day of the week you choose to tie the knot. You will find this is the same circumstance with many of your other vendors.

Friday through Sunday carries a price tag of $480.00 for the first five hours for county residents. If you live outside the area, it's $605.00. If you'd like to stay longer, it runs $94.00 an hour after that. This is also the same rate if your wedding falls on a holiday.

You will have even more money to spend on other areas of your wedding, if you book  this location on a Monday through Thursday. Five hours goes for $278.00, with additional time also running $94.00 an hour. Non-Mecklenburg County residents pay $356.00.

Besides saving money on the actual site rental, Freedom Park is a beautiful setting to capture wedding photos. The trees, bridges and pond will serve as a wonderful backdrop. Plus, you can tell everyone you got married at the location of a Hollywood hit movie. Gwyneth Paltrow and Jack Black shot several scenes for the film Shallow Hal on the grounds.

The Mahlon Adams Pavilion at Freedom Park is located at 2435 Cumberland Avenue. For more information check out parkandrec.com or call 311 to make a reservation.

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