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Five Money-Saving Wedding Tips

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By Robert Brokamp (TMF Bro)
May 8, 2003

You just got engaged? Congratulations! Your joy, however, may turn to panic when you learn that the average American wedding costs $19,000 for an average 200 guests, according to USA Today. But you're not average -- you're Foolish. As a wedding present, we have some money-saving tips for you.

1. Don't do it on a Saturday in June. The most popular time to have a wedding is on a summer Saturday night. Holding the big event at another time is guaranteed to save you money.

2. Involve your friends. You are smart and talented. You have smart and talented friends. Ask for their help in performing music at the service, taking photographs, working as a bartender, or videotaping -- all functions that will cost you $500-$900 to have someone else do. Also, consider any "connections" you have. Do you know someone who works at a hotel and can help you get a deal? Do you have an aunt who works in the florist industry? Does your friend's grandmother own a farm, ranch, or vacation home on a lake that would be perfect for a reception?

3. Do it yourself. Have we mentioned how smart and talented you are? Put those talents to good use. Consider making your own veil (it is really just a headband and tulle), arranging flowers (since the cost is in the labor and not the blooms themselves), baking the cake, or designing and producing your own invitations and wedding programs. Many craft stores and community colleges have classes for just these things.

4. Don't buy "wedding" things. Anything that has the word "wedding" attached to it can instantly fetch a 25% premium. Try this exercise:

Take a word:  Add "wedding" and the price goes up:
Dress                Wedding dress 
Shoes                Wedding shoes 
Disposable cameras   Wedding disposable cameras 
Cake                 Wedding cake 
Whoopee cushion      Wedding whoopee cushion 

5. Do you need to buy a wedding dress? We are not suggesting you not wear clothes for your wedding -- just strongly encouraging you not to buy a wedding dress. Wear your mom's dress, your mother-in-law's, your godmother's, your sister's, your best friend's -- they will all be flattered, you'll be starting a family tradition, and these are all dresses that have been worn just once.

Got your own money-saving wedding tips? Share them in our Living Below Your Means discussion board! And if you want to start your union off on firm financial footing, check out The Motley Fool's Guide to Couples & Cash: How to Handle Money With Your Honey.

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