Your Special Day at a Special Price
Save up to $45,000 on your wedding.
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Favor Frugal Favors
Don’t forget about Freecyle and Goodwill. Depending on what you need for your wedding—from ribbons to tablecloths—you just might be able to find it for free from your local Freecycle list. Kathleen Ruscigno says she and her husband, Anthony, handed out lucky bamboo plants (two stalks symbolizing man and wife) in square glass vases with river rocks. “Our florist was able to provide these at four dollars fifty cents apiece,” she says. Kathleen also handwrote her own thank-you tags on rice paper, which were attached to a ribbon tied around the stalks as a way to not only save money but to make them more personal.
Melisa Imberman suggests edible favors, Maria Valente at Chocolations in Mamaroneck (914-777-3600) is happy to work within any budget. You can also buy bulk candy, e.g., jelly beans in assorted wedding colors and place in a pretty pouch with a ribbon. Or skip favors altogether. If people really enjoy the wedding, they’ll never notice.
Savings: $200 to $1,000
Use Your iPod
Thanks to the iPod, a fancy band or DJ doesn’t have to factor into your budget—you can have your wedding coordinator or helper manage the music. Or, hire a student quartet to play at your wedding. Check with local colleges and schools like Hoff Barthelson in Scarsdale (914-723-1169) or the PAVE (Performing And Visual Arts Education) program at New Rochelle High School (914-576-5643) to see if a professor can recommend a group you can use. Also, try Eliot Magaziner, an incredible 86-year-old violinist who conducts the Manhattanville College Community orchestra and coaches piano and string quartets, or Flora Kuan, an accomplished pianist who teaches the college’s most advanced piano students (914-694-2200). You may also have luck with artists. Hastings resident Alyssa Cooper (914-552-4115) not only sings beautiful tunes (a mixture of jazz, gospel, pop, and folk) but can get together a duo of three or four for a negotiable price. Also check out Sarah Jane Inc., a New York City-based small music agency with a database of more than 1,000+ musicians at negotiable prices.
Savings: $500 to $5,000.
Be a “Do-It-Yourselfer”
Print your own invitations. Or snag an artist friend like Kathleen Ruscigno did. When newlywed Rachael Diamond, who got married in Mamaroneck last October, was close to her budget, she designed her wedding program on her computer and printed the programs (pictured below) at Kinko’s. “I personally hole-punched 200 of them, bought the ribbons, and put them together. It saved me hundreds of dollars.” She and her fiancé (now husband) also drove around Westchester to various addresses that held importance to them, took photos of the numbers, uploaded them on Kodak Gallery, then printed them out in sepia and put them in frames she found at The Christmas Tree Shop for $1 each. She used those as her table markers—another expense saved. Rosita Fichtel also wrote out the cards for the tables for her daughter’s wedding in frames she found at a craft store. “I didn’t think it was necessary to spend money on those," she says. "Plus, I think it added a more personal touch."
Savings: $200 to $600
Be Thankful for What You Have
In the end, the fact that you and your guy love each other is most important. Getting married surrounded by family and friends is what matters most.
Jeanne Muchnick is the former editor of The Bridal Guide Magazine and has written for numerous national and local publications including Brides, Modern Bride, and the New York Times.