Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

March 31, 2013

MELINDA HESTER: How to have a beautiful wedding cheaper

ASHLAND — With most weddings costing $10,000 on upward to $30,000, we have to wonder how to reduce this cost. This is totally out of the reach of most people, but June brides still want that “wow” factor wedding.

Ask for wedding help instead of gifts. Musical accompaniment and photography would be high on the list. If you have a friend who loves photography, ask for help with the pictures. Could they allow you to have the disc? Let friends and family order their own photos.

If you are a member of a church, ask the ladies auxiliary for help. The most beautiful wedding I have ever seen cost only $2,000 total. The bride had many friends, and they used their talents to help her achieve a gorgeous, memorable wedding.

I also went to a wedding where everyone brought a dish of food. No catering costs. Is it wrong or tacky to ask for this at your wedding? No! That money can better be used as a down payment on a house.

Use eBay for close-outs on bridesmaids’ dresses or wedding gowns. There are top-of-the-line names there. You might be surprised.

Enlist friends to decorate the tables for you. Go minimal with flowers. A single rose is beautiful. Do you know someone talented with a computer who could help you make invitations? Ask friends to help serve food and to bring certain things. Start buying soda pop now and stocking it away when the price is right. Decide your recipes to be used now and buy what you can at sale prices using coupons. Stock it away and have trusted people cook it for you either at the church or deliver it later in crock-pots to keep it hot.

A wedding shouldn’t break your savings. This is a trend that started after the ‘60s when the fare was usually a wedding cake, nuts and mints.

With planning, you can have a dream wedding at a bargain basement price.

We were sitting at the Alamo Restaurant in Gatlinburg, Tenn., watching a wedding across the street. A little couple was there entirely by themselves, getting married. I thought, now that’s romantic. They saved infinite dollars by doing it this way because even though it was a wedding chapel with cost, it in no way would cost what a traditional wedding would. A beautiful day for them, and they were already in the honeymoon capitol on the eastern seaboard. If you have friends fighting for who will be the matron of honor or family who doesn’t get along, you might want to consider this alternative. Simply announce you are married on Facebook. Have a reception later, where the bride and groom wear their wedding day attire, along with pictures of the event on a screen. The wedding chapels take excellent pictures and video if you want to include that in your cost.

Let’s try not to spend more money, but rather enjoy what we have and manage it better.

Living “paycheck to paycheck” isn’t a lot of fun. By putting away some cash each week, you can hit credit cards one by one hard. Many people are paying themselves completely out of debt.

Living frugally is not being cheap. It is making sure that you get the most from your money that you already have.

Be patient. Things will come into your price range.

Watch yard sales, auctions and thrift stores.

If you need to dig yourself out of a financial hole, let’s do some spring cleaning. By hitting one bill at a time, you can put something extra on that bill every month. When one bill is paid off, hit another bill hard. Money you save can be used to pay off debt. Tax returns are coming back now, and that would be a great extra payment toward debt. Never let your credit score decrease. It is hard to earn and easy to lose.

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