Bride Gets $80,000 Dream Wedding for Just $1,000 & You Won't Believe How

bride looking at wedding dress with tailorsWeddings can get extremely expensive. You don't need to tune into Say Yes to the Dress and hear some of the brides' budgets for their gowns alone to know that. But now and then, you'll hear through the grapevine that so-and-so was able to land the Deal of a Lifetime and get the most incredible dress, venue, honeymoon, etc., for an unbelievable price. Well, that story you heard? It's likely nothing compared to the coup recently pulled off by a couple from Fresno, California.

Newlyweds Jessica and Isaac Piche scored an $80K wedding -- complete with a five-star plated meal, professional photography, a live band, etc. -- for just $1,000. How did they do it, you ask?


They bartered! Because the Piches have their own video production company that makes web videos and commercials, they were able to trade services with wedding vendors.

Jessica admits that "it took a long time to get all of the vendors on board," but she stood her ground, and in the end, the Piches got a whole lot of bang for their very thrifty buck.

Admirable? Incredible? Oh yes! But realistic? Ehh. Not for every bride who may not own a video production company or do something else for a living (or even a hobby!) that would be an attractive alternative to a traditional payday for a vendor. For most brides, getting the most for your money at your wedding requires other tricks and tips.

More from The Stir: The Biggest Wedding Regrets Revealed by Women Who Want an 'I Do'-Over

We asked professional wedding planners to share what they recommend to their brides on a budget.

1. Prioritize. It can definitely help to make tough choices right out of the gate. "Decide which things you want to splurge on and which things you can live without," advises Jayna Cooke, CEO of EVENTup in Chicago, Illinois. For instance, maybe photography matters more to you than having an after-party, or you can do without a cocktail hour if you can get the honeymoon of your dreams. "When you get different bids from different vendors or start going over budget, you know where to cut and where to keep," says Cooke.

2. Then figure out what you're absolutely willing to spend and be upfront. "I always suggest that brides come up with a price they are willing to pay for each line item," explains Jenny Preston of Jenny Does Weddings. "This gives vendors a realistic idea of what is possible and what will get them the job."

3. Get flexible with the date. An age-old tip, but a goodie, because it's true: "If you can live with your wedding being on a Friday or Sunday rather than a Saturday, it will save you a lot of money," says Cooke. "The majority of weddings are held on Saturdays, which means that you will be spending more to rent out a venue [then]. You can [also] hold off and have your wedding in an off-season like winter to save money and have more options!"

4. Go with mom-and-pop vendors when possible. Although a famous, well-known photographer or caterer may seem appealing, you'll likely get a better deal -- and even more individualized service -- from a small business, says Preston. "Highly publicized vendors typically have a full calendar a year out, do not have time to barter, and know what they can get for their services," she explains. "Going for a less known, small business vendor will usually be a more personal experience and one that can be negotiated more easily."

5. 4. Don't overwhelm yourself with DIY. One of the quickest ways to cut costs is to assume you and your bridal party can just get crafty instead of hiring a vendor to do centerpieces or other decor elements. But be judicious with DIY projects, warns Sabrina Cadini, wedding and event designer at La Dolce Idea in San Diego, California. "When you add up the cost of materials needed, time spent on each project, and the pressure they will get, it’s going to take them a long time and possibly cost twice as much in reworks and mistakes than [brides] think," says Cadini. "Choose just a couple of items that they can make with the help of their wedding attendants for a fun night together."

6. Pick a planner with connections. Just like landing an amazing job, landing a great wedding deal could be all about who you know -- or who your planner knows. "Often, working with the preferred vendors of your wedding planner will land you a better price," explains Preston. "For instance, a wedding planner may have a great package deal that includes a photographer, florist, and stylist who are all happy to work together for a discounted price."

7. Be gracious. Even if you can't barter like the Piches, being nice (read: not a diva!) and meeting with vendors in person can go a LONG way. "One of my brides had $200 taken off the price of her wedding dress just because she was kind and spoke to the sales reps like they had been friends for years!" says Preston.

Putting this advice to use may not whittle your final bill down $79K, but it could certainly help you stay within a tighter budget. That said, it doesn't hurt to remember any transaction is a two-way street. "Many vendors are passionate artists who are trying to make a living doing what they love," says Preston. Respecting that can help you get your dream wedding at a price you and your vendors can live with.

How did you cut costs for your wedding?

Image © Zero Creatives/Image Source/Corbis

Read More >