Cheap Brides Will Appreciate These Penny-Pinching Tips


Budget FashionistaWhenever I watch Platinum Weddings, I feel like I need to do something good for humankind afterward because that level of debauchery might lead to moral depletion. I just can’t wrap my mind around a woman, even a gung-ho bride, investing so much excess into one day — and having family and a fiancé willing to go along with it.

If I told my bestie I spent $15,000 on a gown or $10,000 on linens, she’d konk my head between her palms like a set of cymbals. For some reason, when we factor in the word ‘wedding,’ it legitimizes blowing the bank. But a gal like me believes in being frugally fabulous. I am a Kmart, Target, and Wal-mart hustlin’, thrift shop-scourin’, online discount-findin’ dollar stretcher. And my man loves me that much more for it.

So when I talked to Kathryn Finney, fellow stylish saver and founder of The Budget Fashionista, she had some tips on throwing a fantasy event sans the painful price tag. 

Save a different date
Think about having your celebration on an off day, like a Friday, a Sunday, or even a weekday evening. “And if you have it on the Sunday before a holiday weekend — for example, Memorial Day or Labor Day — you’ll save quite a bit of money,” says Finney. This played out at her own Ritz-Carlton wedding when she saved 50 percent by having it both on a Sunday and a holiday weekend.

Don’t use the ‘W’ word
Resist the urge to refer to your wedding as your wedding when you’re talking to vendors. Fees go up 20-30 percent as soon as they hear that word because they know people will pay big money for their big day, Finney warns. “When you go to the florist or the reception hall, just say it’s a party. You’re having a party instead of a wedding reception,” she coaches. “If you can, have the flowers delivered to your house because it makes a huge difference in terms of cost. That’s the number one rule: don’t mention ‘wedding.’” 

Grab a glue gun and get crafty
Fresh flowers are beautiful but they can be ridiculously expensive. “Bouquets can run up to $500, but you can go to Wal-mart or a dollar store and get some nice silk flowers to create your own. No one’s going to really know the difference,” Finney assures. She learned herself the hard way. “My bouquet was so expensive and then my best friend got married and we went to the dollar store and we made bouquets for everyone—for her and the bridesmaids—and the total cost was about 1/4 of the cost of just my bouquet.” That’s well worth whipping out faux orchids and hydrangeas.
Say yes to the dress
Consignment shops, eBay, and Craigslist are full of gowns that have been worn once, then sold or donated. Don’t let old wives' tales keep you from taking advantage of a great bargain, Finney warns. “Some people feel like it’s bad luck to buy somebody’s wedding dress. I don’t think a dress is going to bring you bad karma. If anything,” she snarks, “it’s going to bring you good karma because you didn’t pay full price for it.”

Pretty girls rock
We all have horror stories about some friend of a friend or well-meaning relative who insisted they could do makeup but left us looking a hot mess. “Your hair and makeup might be one area you should spend money on because of pictures. That being said,” she adds, “hair pieces are a great way for you to get the look without spending a lot.” Going to the beauty shop the morning of your wedding will save the expense of having your stylist on hand—at an hourly rate—while you’re prepping to walk down the aisle.

Great savings in (the same) store
There are usually savings in store if the bride and her band of maids and matrons purchase their gowns from the same boutique. If there are more than five in the wedding party, shop owners are usually inclined to knock something off either off the gown itself or alterations to the gown. Online sales might seem like goldmines, but consider the expenses of purchasing gowns sight unseen, only to be disappointed in size, color, fabric, or design—and be forced to spend the time and money to send them suckers right back in a limited amount of time.

What are your foolproof, money-saving wedding and reception tips?

Image via Cameron Nordholm/Flickr

marriage, weddings


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miche... micheledo

I made my own wedding cake.  My mom went in to photography stores in our area and asked if they knew of people who did wedding photos as a hobby.  I then went and looked at their pictures and found someone I like.  I got ALL the negatives and the pictures she developed (3x5) for $700.  She did a great job.  I also found out she made bouquets and she did all my flowers. 

We just had cake and punch after the wedding.

OSayS... OSaySaySay

We did all of the food ourselves. We had a little buffet of finger foods:

Deli rolls made of large flour tortillas, fresh spinach leaves, yellow cheese, turkey slices; roll into tubes and slice like sushi...can do any variation of this

Lil Smokies dipped in BBQ sauce

Fruit chunks and yogurt dip with Grand Marniat from Jason's Deli

Cheese squares, crackers, salami and pepperoni, meat balls

Special ordered a Wedding cake, groom cake that we splurged on

I had a $600 wedding dress and a $150 reception dress

Fresh flowers are a must! Fake flowers ARE obvious to those who know better!!

Pretty much nix all fake's always obvious to anyone who knows better. Play up the makeup but no fake lashes, nails, hair. Just a pretty manicure will do.

Fake makes you look old!!!

Don't get divorced and the $ will be worth it. We spent around $4000 for everything

1blue... 1bluemonkey

I bought a pretty white blouse, made a gray taffeta skirt that matched my dove grey Ropers, and we had an "after party" instead of a reception at a dance hall. My husband wore black jeans, his black Ropers, and a black and grey western shirt with a string tie.  The cake was a gift from a friend of my mom's, my grandpa took the pictures and we had one snapshot cropped and blown up to be the "wedding picture" and my grandpa gave the flowers as a gift (real ones, not fake).  We got married in December so the church was already decorated with Christmas lights and poinsettias.  The only thing we bought were invitations and the punch to go with the wedding cake - all totaled our wedding cost about $200.

nonmember avatar Mareeyah

I totally agree with the non-fresh flowers. I don't understand why many women frown on them and desperately want fresh flowers that are expensive and won't last a week. Well, here's a fact: at my wedding reception, the venue provided fresh flowers while we added artificial ones. Many of our guests later had to take a closer look at the flowers because they had thought that the real ones were fake, and that the artificial flowers were real! I definitely saved a lot, did not regret it, and now have a nice story to tell all those who criticize artificial flowers at a wedding.

nonmember avatar Sparkles

I can easily tell the difference between fake flowers and real flowers- I couldn't bring myself to do faux!

nonmember avatar soon-to-be Mrs.

I think fake flowers are beautiful!! Im excited because everybody love mine and the bridesmaids bouquets, and the best part is we all get to keep them and have them for years to come.

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