Saturday, October 4, 2008

How to Have a Fairy-Tale Wedding on a Real Budget

This is long - but well worth your time to spark some creative money-saving ideas!
(Thanks IMAMTS!)

The average wedding now costs about $28,000. Meet a couple who saved $16,000 on their wedding. Good Morning America talks to this couple to see how they did it and if you follow this link you can too!
If you don't want to go to GMA's site, here are the tips:

By ANDREA CANNING {& Comments/edits by Me}

Today's price tag can put a damper on a fairy-tale time. But for newlyweds Natalie and Gene Taylor, saving a ton of money on their wedding -$16,000 worth -did not mean giving up their dream day.

Like so many other young couples, the Taylors did not have a fortune to spend on their wedding so extravagance was out and creativity was in for their 200 guests.

Here are some tips that "Good Morning America" received from the Taylors and from other viewers.

Get married in the fall or winter. Summer weddings are the most popular. By getting married off season, the venue cost may be cut in half.

Order invitations online {from Nina Bucciarelli. You can't beat her price for the quality!}. The Taylors saved around $1,200 by ordering their wedding invitations online and picking out the perfect style for their price.

Look for discounted wedding dresses. Just because wedding dresses can be inexpensive does not mean they sacrifice quality. Natalie found her $1,100 dream dress for $100. {And lets face it, you are going to wear it ONCE!}

According to Jamie Zanzinger of Real Simple Weddings, off-the-rack dresses from places like Anne Taylor, J. Crew and Target are the way to go. {Target to the rescue again!}

"What they're doing is picking these really high-quality fabrics and then not embellishing them so you can go and buy your own crystal beading or gorgeous lace and have a seamstress make it into an overlay for you," Zanzinger said. "You can make it your own. Make it look like a really high-end designer dress."

Ditch the florist. For the Taylors' ceremony, a florist was charging $2,500. Wal-Mart did the job for $570. {Wal-Mart also carries Martha Stewart's line, so your not sacrificing style either. Also, you could get a planner, who knows how to handle flowers and get them wholesale. A lot of planners are hands-on!}

Find a friend or family chef. Rather than outsourcing to a caterer that could cost thousands, try to find a friend or family member who cooks. Natalie's mother and sister fed the 200 guests for $1,000.

Pictures should be priceless, literally. Rather than hiring a pricey photographer, save around $2,000 by having a friend take wedding pictures. {This one is arguable. For anyone who has taken pictures at an EVENT, knows it is an art, and it is NOT easy. Plus, photographers have professioanl equipment to handle lighting challenges, etc. You wouldn't want to go through all this work to save money, have a beautiful day and then....your pictures STINK. I think this one of the areas you can splurge.}

Decorate with borrowed style. Ask family members to help decorate with borrowed Christmas lights, tablecloths, tables and serving dishes instead of paying a professional decorator thousands.

Eat a fake cake (not really). Buying a cake that is all fake except for the bottom layer allows the cake cutting celebration without the full cost of an elaborate wedding cake. {My friend fed 300 people by purchasing extra sheet cakes that were sliced in the back - so her wedding cake didn't have to be enormous. Great idea!}

I'm not sure if it was this couple mentioned above, but one of them collected scraps of gold from family members and had it melted down to create their wedding bands! Kudos! Love the creativity and putting the emphasis on their marriage, not just the wedding!