"Planning an affordable wedding doesn't mean it has to be cheap," says Jessica Bianchi, the budget-balancing founder of ThriftyBrideToBe.com.
Along with money-saving tips and wedding-related classifieds, the website offers creative solutions for brides who say "I do" to saving a buck or two, whether it's on their entire wedding or certain aspects of it. Splurging on those killer Manolos might mean scrimping elsewhere!
We sat down with Jessica and got some surprising and creative money-saving tips:
When it comes to wedding dresses, "consignment" isn't code for a gaudy explosion of taffeta from the '80s. Consignment boutiques carry many gowns that have never been worn because the wedding never happened or because the bride found a second gown that she liked better. You can get unworn or gently worn dresses for up to 80% off the original purchase price.
Carrying a brooch bouquet made of beautiful costume jewelry that you collect from your relatives (your something borrowed!) or vintage boutiques (your something old!) is a stunning alternative to fresh flowers. It's unique, personal and you don't have to worry about wilted or discolored blooms. You can also save thousands of dollars if you use faux flowers for your bouquets and centerpieces.
Scope out local brew-on-premises wine facilities, where you can buy wine for as little as $3 a bottle. If your venue lets you buy your own wine, you can put a bottle of red and a bottle of white on each table. Create custom labels for an added personal touch.
Multi-tiered wedding cakes look fabulous in photos. But let's face it, people don't really eat the cake and many venues charge exorbitant fees to slice and plate a piece for each guest. Rather than forgoing your dream of a three-tiered cake, ask your baker to use faux slabs for the bottom tiers. These will be covered in fondant and decorated to look real, but only the top layer will be edible; that's the part that you and your groom will cut and can keep if you wish. Serve each guest personalized cupcakes which can also act as your favor and you'll save a ton of cash on butter and flour.
Aside from being a cute and inexpensive way to thank your guests for celebrating with you, saplings give back to the environment and symbolize the growth of your marriage. Place the sapling in a decorated pot to make the favour DIY.