Your Special Day at a Special Price
Save up to $45,000 on your wedding.
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Be Creative with Your Cake
Instead of a huge wedding cake, serve an array of desserts: everything from flourless chocolate cake to lemon tartlets and heart-shaped cookies, these from New Rochelle caterer Dinner in Hand.
On average, 20 percent of guests don’t eat wedding cake, which costs an average of $5 per slice. Many pros suggest buying a smaller decorated cake for wedding photos and having a plain sheet cake in the kitchen to serve guests, or simply buy a small cake (not necessarily a “wedding” cake) and serve an assortment of desserts for each table. Mother-of-the-bride Fichtel bought a $60 10-inch cake for the bride and groom (along with her own wedding toppers at the vintage store Carol Charney in Larchmont), then, on each table, she had an array of desserts—everything from flourless chocolate cake to lemon tartlets—served by New Rochelle caterer Dinner in Hand. She guestimates it saved her about $400.
If you’re hell-bent on a large wedding cake, consider one with butter-cream or cream-cheese frosting instead of expensive fondant and go with an independent baker who bakes out of his or her house rather than a full-fledged bakery.
Savings: $200 to $1,000
Ask Friends For Help
As soon as you get engaged, update your Facebook status to mention your upcoming nuptials, says Ingram. See if family members or friends might be able to help you save money. This is how Kathleen Ruscigno saved hundreds of dollars on her invitations; she asked her friend Katie, a graphic artist, to design the invites. Susan Squillante is saving about $1,500 having one friend do the video and $200 having another friend do her makeup.
Savings: Approximately $1,000 to $2,000
Scale Back on Flowers
You can achive similar looks at different price points.
Centerpieces courtesy of Diana Gould
Conventional flowers for a typical wedding cost, on average, $2,000 and are usually shipped in from South America, covered in pesticides, and sprayed with artificial scents, says eco-friendly bride Harrison. Local, organic flowers cost $200 to $400.
Ingram suggests finding a wholesale flower company (e.g., Main Wholesale Florists, or East Coast Wholesale Flowers in Norwalk, Connecticut). Usually a designer on-site will take on your event at a fraction of the cost of a more expensive florist. Monica Chimes of Monica Chimes Floral in West Harrison (914-428-7212; monicachimesfloral.com) suggests using a large, inexpensive flower, such as a Gerbera daisy or sunflower, that takes up a good amount of table space. Another option: order from an online source, which cuts the middleman and saves brides about 30 percent off their floral costs. Chimes also suggests having your bridesmaids carry either one single lush or striking flower like a Peony or very small bouquet of Cymbidum Orchids or even Mini Calla Lilies.
Savings: $500 to $1,600
Buy Your Gown On Ebay
The cost of an average wedding dress can be astronomical ($2,000 or more). That’s why experts suggest seeking alternative routes like eBay, donate and recycle websites, thrift shops, and plain old bargain hunting. Most of the big bridal shops have huge sales once a year. Check the local paper and websites (e.g., rkbridal.com, thebudgetfashionista.com, nymag.com), or our favorite, The Bridal Garden, a nonprofit bridal boutique with designer and couture wedding gowns for up to 75 percent off retail prices.