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Bridal discount etiquette

Tactfully pointing out sales to the bride; plus, valuable weekend coupons.

By Karen Datko Apr 23, 2010 10:44AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


Serving as a member of the bridal party on a friend’s special day may be a priceless experience, but it’s one that doesn’t come cheap.


In 2009, the average bridesmaid spent $1,009, including her dress, airfare and bridal shower, bachelorette party and wedding gifts, according to The Wedding Report, a market researcher. (Last year was the first year the group collected data on bridesmaid costs.) By 2014, that average is expected to creep up 2%, to $1,029.


Balancing an attendant’s budget is the responsibility of both that person and the bride and groom, says Alan Fields, author of “Bridal Bargains.” As an attendant, you need to be clear about what you can afford at the time you’re asked to participate. For their part, the engaged couple should keep the cost of items they aren’t paying for in check. “Brides and grooms do have an obligation not to bankrupt their attendants,” he says.

It’s easier if the bride is a bargain hunter, too. My friend Liz, who is getting married in October, wanted to find nice dresses that were inexpensive enough that it wouldn’t matter if we never wore them again. She scoured the Web and then had the three of us visit the same David’s Bridal in Manhattan where she bought her dress, a move that entitled us to an extra $20 discount. Total cost of my perfectly fitted maid-of-honor dress: $125. (The Wedding Report says the average bridesmaid spent $178 on a dress, and another $56 on alterations. By that measure, I saved 47%.) “She’s a model bride,” says etiquette expert Peggy Post, director of The Emily Post Institute.


If you spot a sale, coupon or other budget solution the bride hasn’t, feel free to gently point it out, Post says. It’s also OK to speak up if the added costs have become overwhelming. “Couples get so excited planning a wedding, and it snowballs,” she says. “Just say, ‘I really have to watch my budget.’”

We’re featuring valuable coupons and sales each Friday to help you spend less on the items you buy. Found a deal we missed -- or looking for a better price on a specific item? E-mail me at or send me a tweet @kellibgrant.


When shopping, keep in mind that the sales you respond to and the coupons or codes you use let the retailer build a profile about your buying habits, which can influence -- for good or bad -- the future offers you receive.


Sears. Through April 24, save 30% on all Energy Star-qualified appliances. Sears also offers a sale of 10% off all other appliances. Be sure to check the status of your state rebate program since several states have already depleted their program allocations. Rebates vary by state. In New York, for example, residents can receive an extra $75 toward an Energy Star refrigerator, or $105 if they can provide proof of recycling for their old one. Georgia residents get $50 for an energy-efficient refrigerator. (It’s also worth checking if the energy savings tally up to what’s promised.)


Vera Bradley. Shoppers save up to 80% on sale items from this accessories designer, plus get another 20% discount once an item is placed in their cart. To push consumers to spend quickly, the site is offering the discounts only through April 25, and will charge for shipping. Rates start at $8 for orders of up to $50.99.


Ann Taylor Loft. Another limited-time offer (through April 25) comes from Ann Taylor Loft, which will take 30% off a shopper’s bill for purchases made during the Friends & Family event. Bring a print-out coupon, or online, enter coupon code FRIENDS at checkout. Shipping is free only on orders of $100 or more. Mother’s Day is big business for florists, and to grow its window of opportunity, retailer FTD is offering deals to customers who buy now. A limited number of bouquets are 25% off through May 10. Customers can save another 20% at checkout if they pay with an American Express card (use coupon code 5657, expires Dec. 31) or Visa card (use code 18566, expires June 30). As with Valentine’s Day roses, prices tend to increase as the holiday approaches.


Saks Fifth Avenue. Read the fine print on this offer. The list of excluded designer brands spans 12 lines. If yours makes the cut, you can save 20% (10% on beauty and fragrance) during the Friends & Family sale with a coupon. Online, use code FRIEND3 at checkout.


Related reading at SmartMoney:

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