Recession-Chic - Throwing a Fabulous, Yet Frugal Wedding For Next to Nothing

By Cherie Johnson

Sometimes, less is truly more. In these hard times, saving a few bucks is a necessity. What's a bride-to-be to do when money is already stretched thin? Recession-chic weddings, the trend of 2010, can be just as classic - but for a whole lot less! Elegance comes in many forms with or without money in hand. Here are a few tips to help you throw a fabulous, yet frugal wedding -- on a budget that's next to nil!

The Trend of 2010: Learning How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget

Frugal wedding tip #1: Repurpose a used or vintage gown. Sure, some dresses are outdated design and cut-wise. If you're a modern girl, you want the clean look without fuss; if you're more on the traditional side, you want that classic look to fit a little better. Solution? Re-purpose a used or vintage dress, which can often be found for $200 or less at secondhand/consignment shops or vintage clothing stores in your area. If you'd rather search in a larger pool, eBay is an excellent option, with new dresses being listed every day. Once you find a dress that will work, take it to your local seamstress or tailor and tell him or her exactly what you have in mind. Since this is your dress, taking it to a professional is a must!

Wedding budget impact: ~ $800 on average

Frugal wedding tip #2: Sew a custom garter. Granted, a garter won't be a major dent in terms of your wedding budget, but it's a great way to save a few dollars. And it's easy!

You'll need a thin piece of elastic banding, about 1/4-inch, a piece of 7/8-inch lace, and a piece of matching 3 1/4-inch ribbon. Measure the circumference of your thigh, noting the measurement. Cut an appropriate piece of each material, leaving leeway on the ends. Simply center the ribbon on top of the lace and carefully sew the ribbon to the lace, staying as close to the edges as possible. Leave the ends unsown. Now insert the elastic under the ribbon using the open edges and pull through. Stitch the ends of the garter together, leaving a 1/2 inch seam. Trim. Now, press the seam open, and on the outside of the garter, top stitch the pressed seam close to the edge. And you're done! Decorate to match wedding colors or personal preferences.

Wedding budget impact: ~ $50 on average

Frugal wedding tip #3: Find an intimate venue. All the components that make up a wedding reception can be incredibly expensive. With the average price to rent a wedding venue now at $1,200, the bride on a strict budget could be in a financial bind. Usually, the cheapest places to have your guests mingle are at small restaurants or gathering places outside the city limits as well as at Foreign Legion halls and city, county, and state park sites. The perks? You have more leeway in terms of decorations and food offerings, the settings are often much more intimate, and you get more bang for your buck so to speak.

Wedding budget impact: ~ $1,200 and up

Frugal wedding tip #4: Make affordable centerpieces. Your best friend will soon become the local craft store. Centerpieces often tie your wedding design scheme together, and you can incorporate your colors and/or theme. Candles and/or tea lights are a dramatic statement that can be placed in pretty glass containers (left open of course). You can also find low-cost mini-mirrors or brightly colored baubles to scatter about the reception tables. Inexpensive glass cloches provide the perfect housing for little knick-knacks. Flowers are also a central part of the design scheme - your local florist may be able to accommodate your request for flowers that are a few days old - AND offer them at only half the price.

Wedding budget impact: 10 tables at $30 per centerpiece = $300

Frugal wedding tip #5: Feed an army on a dime. This is the fun part, though planning for X amount of guests can get hairy and expensive. A buffet is a notorious waste of food, so if you'd like to serve dinner, plan a sit-down meal that allots each guest a certain amount of each course. An after-ceremony reception that serves hors d'oeuvres only is also an option. Little plates of fruit, cheeses, crackers, dips, veggies, and sweets are a great way to cut down costs significantly. If you do have to plan a sit-down dinner, consult your venue. Oftentimes, you're required to use their caterers and nothing else.

Wedding budget impact: 100 guests at $30 a dinner = $3,000

Making a Frugal Wedding Elegant

There are a few things, however, that should not be taken lightly. You'll not want to skimp on crucial elements such as a photographer/videographer or comfortable shoes. And if any of these five frugal wedding tips are absolutely non-negotiable, there are always other ways to cut back and plan a wedding on a budget. The trick to saving money is keeping a detailed budget and not exceeding it. No matter what. With the average wedding today costing about $20,000, it's enough to make anyone go into debt. Using these five simple, yet frugal wedding tips, you could save over $5,350!

About the Author:

Cherie Johnson is the founder and owner of Creative Wedding Favors, a one-stop shop for a large selection of party and wedding favors. Cherie's articles have been published on numerous websites including Blissfully Domestic, Dress Up Your Wedding, and Wedding Museum. Since starting Creative Wedding Favors in 2006, Cherie has helped countless couples, families, and friends make their gatherings a success. Prior to Creative Wedding Favors, she worked as a professional wedding photographer, capturing the most memorable moments of the couple's big day. To find favors and gifts for your upcoming event, please visit

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