The wedding of your dreams -- cheap
Glamorous or low-key, the ceremony can be what you want. I'll show you how to get married without breaking the bank.
"You're getting married? Congratulations!"
That sure sounds better than, "You're getting married? Have fun spending almost 27 grand for a half-day party!"
Yep, I said 27 grand -- and that's without the honeymoon.
According to a study from TheKnot.com, the average U.S. couple spent $26,984 getting hitched. But maybe you can't afford that much. Or maybe you'd rather put some of that cash toward a different goal: student loans, a down payment on a house, a retirement account.
Through the first week of May I'll write nearly weekly posts about ways to save on wedding planning, from the jewelry to the honeymoon. You can pick and choose the tips that will help you create a day that's both memorable and affordable.
Frugal Cool can help. (Post continues after video.)
What works for you?
My sources will be both wedding planners and ordinary people who married on a budget and survived. For example, Sara Morgan of the bridal site Tailored suggests using the word "party" when shopping for a venue.
"As soon as you say the word 'wedding' to a vendor, the price tag goes up," Morgan says. She suggests you book the place for a "party" and discuss details once you've locked in the price.
I'll also talk with people like Kelly Bejelly, who described her $3,700 nuptials in a post at her blog, A Girl Worth Saving. "Exactly what I wanted: low-key with good food, friends and family."
Ideally the conversation will also include voices from readers, whether they're event specialists themselves or civilians who got married with a reasonable budget.
"Reasonable" means what's right for your circumstances. I'm notsaying you have to marry at City Hall in your street clothes -- unless, of course, that's the kind of wedding you want.
Instead, I'll be suggesting ways to make the day meaningful without breaking the newly established bank. You and your betrothed will be able to think about what's truly important to you, vs. buying into the white satin hoo-raw that is the wedding industry.
It's essential that you think outside that particular box. After all, who designed the box and is itching to sell you its contents?
Been there, wed that
And if you've long dreamed of a glamorous affair? You can still have it. We're talking about ways to cut corners that no one will notice have been cut, or that don't really matter. (Hint: People got married for centuries without lighting a unity candle.)
I'll serve up money-saving tips from folks who've been there and wed that, beautifully. These veterans will share ways to save thousands on a gown, or how to reduce costs at a beautiful venue by sharing rented lighting with another couple getting married on the same day.
That's where the readers come in: If you have wedding tips to offer, leave them below (and on subsequent posts) or e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next wedding-themed post will run on Friday, March 30.
Your tried-and-true ideas will help other brides and grooms come in under budget. What a wedding gift that would be.
More on MSN Money:
Our daughter got married in August. The wedding was paid for in cash and under 5000. She married on a Monday at a resort in Virginia Beach. On the ocean. Huge savings. Made her centerpieces and - I love this one- bought 5 small cakes at Wal-Mart and displayed them on a swinging circle rack. Cost of 68.00 vs. hundreds for a wedding cake. The display was elegant and beautiful. Lots of other creative ideas as well. It was a hit. Everyone loved the food and had a great time.
Her oldest sister saw their dad standing on the deck smiling. It was quite a day!
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WHAT IS FRUGAL NATION?
Donna Freedman's Frugal Nation blog is for readers who want to live cheaply -- whether due to necessity or a lifestyle choice. It explores living sustainably and making life more meaningful at the same time.
ABOUT DONNA FREEDMAN
Donna Freedman, a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska, writes the Frugal Nation blog for MSN Money. She won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. Donna also writes about the frugal life for her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
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