(More) tips for the frugal bride

wedding on the cheap

I have no illusions about my eventual wedding. I may have mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again: I have six younger siblings. My father is a good provider for his family, but he cannot afford to be oppulent. I don’t have any savings that aren’t dedicated to my eventual retirement. So, I know that when I get married it’s going to be a relatively simple affair. Neither my family nor I can afford to drop a thousand dollars or more on a dress, much less anything else.

So, for my own future reference and possibly yours, I will now present a list of things any bride can do to create a frugal yet fabulous wedding.

Get high tech. Spend the forty bucks to splurge on wedding planning software like Smart Wedding 4.0 that keeps track of things like spending, guests, seating, appointments, vendors, and gifts. It’s like having your very own wedding planner…except this one won’t push you into buying nasty little packets of stale Jordan Almonds.

Go to the library. Or better yet, to one of those bookstores that have a little cafe and will let you read books like Denise and Alan Fields’ Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget while drinking a latte.

Be confident in your ability to find the perfect dress for less. Don’t feel you have to settle for retail prices. Surf the Internet classfieds, check EBAY, visit sample sales, consider checking your local Salvation Army or Goodwill outlet, and look for knockoffs. Sometimes having an original dress handmade by a tailor can be less expensive than buying it off the rack. Making your own dress with help from books like Susan E. Andriks’ Bridal Gowns: How to Make the Wedding Dress of Your Dreams is also an option.

Instead of booking an expensive hall, consider letting mother nature host your wedding. She has wonderful taste in colors!

Finally, use any resource you can. Plenty of Web sites, such as Brilliant Wedding Pages, have oddles of money-saving tips and tricks that will help you choose favors that are so fantastic, a dress that is so divine, and a setting that is so sublime that no one will ever know you’re a budget queen.

Now, if only there was a cost effective way to inspire The Beard to go ring shopping…

10 Responses to “(More) tips for the frugal bride”

  1. Lori says:

    When I was shopping for my runaway bride costume, the wedding dresses in the thrift shops were dated and dirty. I ended up buying a gold formal at one of the thrift shops and washing it, and buying a veil and tiara at Hobby Lobby. Total cost for the outfit: $29.

    Otherwise, I’ve never planned a wedding, but I’ve always had to be frugal. Ergo, here a few tips for frugality for the bride who wants to save up some money for her wedding:

    Pack your lunches. It’s easy and very inexpensive to make a pot of soup or roast a $5 turkey and freeze the leftovers. Check out cooking websites and library cookbooks.

    Save on groceries–visit http://www.thegrocerygame.com, and clip coupons.

    Shop around for car insurance.

    Shop around for gas. (Cheaper gas stations tend to be away from the major streets.)

    Consider whether convenience is worth the price. ATM fees, late fees, Starbucks, $10 parking spaces, vending machine candy…it adds up.

    Get the most out of every penny. Does cable TV, the gym membership, one more CD, a new pair of earrings, a $3 cup of coffee, a manicure, etc. really make you very happy for very long?

    Now, take all the money you are saving and open an ING savings account for your wedding (or whatever). The have competitive interest rates and it’s easy to set up an account–go to http://www.ingdirect.com.


  2. Never teh Bride says:

    Great tips, Lori! Even for the hopeful future bride who just wants to think about the possibly highly distant future…like myself.

  3. CBOT says:

    Assuming that the Beard is a person and not a literary device, why not ask him?

  4. Bria says:

    That’s what I’ve been thinking, CBOT 🙂

  5. Never teh Bride says:

    I’ve thought about that myself, CBOT. After all, this is 2005 and if people like Pink can propose to their racecar boyfriends, I should be able to propose to The Beard…who is very real and sitting at his desk in our shared office as I type this. He’s a man of many excuses. This past week, I basically handed him an ultimatum that said when our lease is up, if we’re not engaged or at least engaged to be engaged (with firm dates) I’m going to move out. That was hellishly hard to even say to him.

  6. Kourtney says:

    Never teh Bride, sometimes that’s what you’ve got to do. Hellish hard is eactly it. My sweetheart & I had a similar conversation, but that one about kids. I thought for sure I would be out apartment shopping, but it turns out I guessed wrong. And, speaking of proposing, I proposed to him (while he was cleaning windows in the house), and after a month & a half of thought, he accepted by asking me “what date do you want?”. So now, we’re getting hitched in February. Sometimes, those fairy tale endings realy do come through. At least, fairy tales with streak-free windows 🙂

  7. Lori says:

    In a romantic relationship, I think you must advance or retreat.

    I think that a woman who wants to get married is a little like a 16-year-old who wants a driver’s license. The kid is not in a position to enforce his wishes on his parents, but does have to lobby them.

    Your situation reminds me of my last boyfriend and me. When it finally got down to brass tacks, he admitted he wasn’t going to get married. That was in 1997, and I’ve never found anyone else.

    Sad? Not entirely. Shortly after I took up dancing, I was deliriously happy to be rid of him. Why? Because I felt such joy in dancing, and never would have gotten him to go. When I saw him last year, he looked like such a sad sack that I felt like I’d dodged a bullet.

    Now, perhaps The Beard is wonderful and just needs a bit of encouragement. But if he won’t commit, do you really want to be strung along indefinitely?

    A random observation I had just the other day: the single women I know are just as happy and well off as the married ones. Whatever happens, good luck to you, Never Teh Bride.

  8. La BellaDonna says:

    A {hug} to you for your courage, Never teh Bride. It’s a very hard thing to do, to ask if the person you love loves you as you love him. If you want to get married, and he does not, the answer is a pretty shattering one. But you deserve to be married to someone who wants to marry you, who appreciates the importance you place on being married. What is important to you should matter to the person you love. If The Beard cannot appreciate the importance to you of being married … it gives you a scale by which you can measure your importance to him. Sad, but true. I know you’ve had a grocery list of reasons he hasn’t asked you: graduate school, etc.; but the truth is, an engagement isn’t a contract for getting married next week. A long engagement is not all that unusual; it signals commitment to the prospect of marriage, with a realization that the marriage itself is not necessarily the best choice while finals are still under way.

    You deserve to be married to someone who wants to marry you.

  9. Never teh Bride says:

    Thanks for all your advice, guys! You’re the best!