Your Special Day at a Special Price

Save up to $45,000 on your wedding.



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Consider looking in unconventional places and off-season—after New Year’s Eve, for example. Rebecca Thorpe found her wedding dress “at a tiny boutique that looked like nothing special. I just popped in, looked in the discontinued styles, and found my dress. It was originally two thousand five hundred and I got it for eight hundred and fifty with minimal cost for alterations—around two hundred.”

Kate Harrison, our green guru, found her dress in the sale rack at the back of an Asian boutique and was able to snag a gorgeous pair of Vera Wang heels for $50 on eBay, which, after the wedding, she resold to another bride for $50.

Emily McCarthy, who recently moved from Tarrytown to Suffern, New York, got her Amsale dress on eBay for $1,500—less than half its $4,000 value—in mint condition. “Make sure you check the seller’s reputation by reading the feedback comments to avoid getting swindled,” she says. “Also, ask how it will be shipped and whether or not it will be insured.” Also, know if the photos on the site were taken after the wedding (to make sure there are no stains).

Others swear by bravobride.com, a website on which you can buy and sell gently used wedding, prom, and special-occasion attire. Also popular: woreitonce.com, oncewed.com, savethedress.com, idonowidont.com, and preownedweddingdresses.com, which feature pre-owned, “lightly loved” dresses at substantial savings, in all sizes, styles, and prices. The J. Crew website (jcrew.com) also has beautiful dresses, often in the $300 to $800 range. And if it doesn’t fit, you can return it to a brick-and-mortar store. Also check out whitexchange.com, a new website that offers online designer consignment for brides, maids, and moms.

Sometimes, just venturing beyond your backyard (in our case: across the Tappan Zee to Rockland or up the Hutch to Connecticut) can be cheaper (and more fruitful) than staying within Westchester. Try Marie’s Bridal on Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield, Connecticut (about a 40-minute drive from Westchester). It has a great selection in all price ranges and its service is old-school. In Rockland, there's Bridal Accents in New City (845-638-3956). Also, don’t forget to check in with your local Goodwill or thrift store for affordable options.

For great costume jewelry, check out Siren in Mamaroneck. You also can find affordable extras on websites like bridetobrideboutique.com and theknot.com’s “trash to treasures” board. Or rent jewelry for the big day (think of it as Harry Winston meets Netflix) at adornbrides.com.
Savings: from $200-$2,000.

Free tux for Grooms

Andrea Most Gottschall and Elyssa Feldman Most, owners of the wedding-planning company A Most Creative Affair in Tarrytown, suggest saving money by having the groom and groomsmen wear dark suits. Of, if you prefer black-tie, have the groomsmen rent their tuxes; often, the groom gets his free of charge. For instance, for every five tuxes rented at Men’s Wearhouse, which has locations in Yorktown Heights, Scarsdale, and White Plains, you get the sixth one free.
Savings: $500-$1,500

Use Less Paper

Invitations may be gorgeous, but think of the trees felled and the money wasted. Use Evite (evite.com) instead. Don’t want to offend the older generation with virtual invitations? Choose a company with inexpensive options, like VistaPrint, to print your invitations. Then save even more money by using a postcard for RSVPs and having your directions online for your guests to print. “Avoid oversized or bulky invitations, since this greatly increases your postage costs,” says Leah Ingram. “Save postage and additional paper cost on your wedding invitations by forgoing the inner-envelope reply card and asking guests to reply online or by phone. Skip ordering reception cards, and have the reception information printed on the bottom of the invitation instead.” Finally, don’t pay extra for your invitations to arrive assembled. Rather, buy a few bottles of wine, gather friends, and have an invitation assembly party!
Savings: $2,000 to $5,000

Consider a Photojournalist

Newspaper photographers are often cheaper—about $2,000 to $3,000 on average—than regular wedding photographers. Ask the photographers of your local newspaper if they freelance as wedding photographers. The caveat here is that you will be the one putting together your album. It was due to all the compliments he got on his own wedding album five years ago that Sleepy Hollow resident Mark Liflander (914-552-0802), who works in Yorktown for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, began freelancing for weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs. Many area brides also swear by Port Chester-based Leslye Smith of Smith Studio (914-939-6500), who packages photos in gorgeous boxes and, if you like, gives you the disk to make your own album.

If you’re really feeling frugal, ask friends and family to bring their cameras and snap away. Many online sites offer Photoshop Elements so you can airbrush photos, whiten teeth, get rid of zits, even digi-tan. You even can make your photos into a movie for as low as $99.99 for 75 photos and $174.99 for one tape and 50 photos. Go to realtimedvd.com.
Savings: $1,000 to $5,000.

Be Clever with Your Centerpieces

Lots of candles always work, pros say, as do blooming plants, potted orchids, or vases filled with fruits (lemons, limes, apples). Aisle markers used in the ceremony can double as centerpieces at the reception. Or, do something fun and multi-functional, like filling inexpensive glasses with Hershey Kisses—and having them double as your favors. Another option: buy a few extra roses and scatter red petals on the tables.
Savings: $500 to $2,000