Its getting to be that time of the year...June (and the rest of the summer for that matter), the most common month to be getting hitched. This next month (and this week) features an additional weekly post on ways to save on wedding expenses.
I was married not too long ago, in August it will be 3 years. I grew up with very "frugal" or "thrifty" parents, and since weddings are no friend to anyone's wallet (except maybe the bride and groom if its very traditional) we were stuck with finding ways to cut back on wedding expenses. There were some actually good solutions in my opinion, and one I took up again recently after being asked to stand up in a wedding.
The dress can be by far one of the most expensive parts of the wedding. After watching shows like "Say Yes to the Dress" on TLC, women are willing to spend thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, on that one special dress that will make them feel like the beautiful woman that they are. I recall my dress shopping trip with my mom to a nice bridal shop in a nearby town. As I walked upstairs to where all of their bridal dresses were, it was there, on a mannequin. It was the first dress I saw. My mom was not so pleased by the $800 price tag, but I actually thought it was not so bad. Later that night, I started exploring on the internet, determined to find my dress for a price my mom could not refuse. And it was on ebay that I found the same dress for $630. I know it sounds crazy, but if you know the style and size of the dress you want (and tried it on in the store), look for it on auction sites like ebay. Sometimes, the savings are quite astonishing.
Women who are standing up in weddings can also follow suit. I am standing up in a wedding this summer as a "groomswoman", which was nice because I was given the freedom to choose my own dress as long as it was black and floor-length. Again, I went to ebay and found a Jim Hjelm dress, selling from $250-$355, for $47. Brand new. As with any ebay purchase, look through the seller's feedback and check what the fitting sizes of the designer are. Bridal wear is such a tricky business because for some reason they all seem to run small. Typically, whatever size you are in jeans, you need to up it by one or two sizes. Strange, I know, but since you aren't buying it from a shop, either check your measurements or try on a dress made by that designer in a store if you can't get the actual one. I would also say your best bets are the ones selling from New York, which is where both of my dresses came from. With all of their shops and being the high-fashion city they are, they always seem to have plenty to give to the rest of us.
Additionally, after getting my dress in the mail, my mom had a friend who was a seamstress. As any bridal magazine doing an article on budget-savers will tell you, having friends who can provide services for you will save you big time. My aunt did most of the flowers, a family friend made our wedding cake, a family friend (with a professional camera) did our wedding photos, my bridesmaids and I put together wedding favors and service programs...I could go on. But if you're on a budget, these are some of the best ways to save money.