Posted April 6, 2012 09:42 am - Updated April 6, 2012 09:44 am

Cut Costs for Your Wedding Day

Wedding season is around the corner, and many soon-to-be brides are in the midst of planning a day to remember for their significant other, family and friends. Wedding costs can add up quickly, but there are some ways to reduce expenses and future debt before walking down the aisle.


For soon-to-be brides or those who are newly engaged, here are some of my tips for saving on your wedding day:


1) If you still need to set the date for your wedding, consider getting married during off-season wedding months, such as January and February. May and June are the busiest wedding months, and October has also become popular, said Joan Christensen, owner of House of the Bride in Surrey Center.


It’s a simple case of supply and demand. During off-peak seasons, you’re more likely to get discounts on your reception site, catering, photography and flowers.


2) Consider consignment shops for your wedding dress. Some consignment shops have brand new wedding gowns for a fraction of the cost of dresses at bridal shops. Many women rush to buy a dress when they get engaged, but they often change their minds and get stuck with an extra dress. Some try to recoup some of their money at consignment stores, such as The Perfect Dress at 138 Davis Road in Martinez.


At The Perfect Dress, most wedding gowns are $250 to $300, said owner Janice Pipkins. Many dresses are $99 to $199, and no dresses exceed $500. Some of the wedding gowns are brand new and others have been worn for only a short period of time, she said. Dresses are available in sizes 2 to 20.


3) Find sales on designer wedding gowns at bridal shops. Each July, House of Bride has a big sale on bridal gowns. Bridal shops have two major buying seasons in April and October, so they’re trying to make room for new dresses, Christensen said.


4) For bridesmaids dresses, instead of asking everyone to purchase matching dresses, choose a color and allow your friends and loved ones to buy a dress they are likely to wear again. Or, they might already have a dress in their closet that fits the color scheme.


5) Allow the groom and his groomsmen to wear suits rather than rent tuxedos. They can still get matching ties and handkerchiefs.


6) Use flowers that are in season, Christensen said. This can help to save on your floral bill.


7) Rather than spending money on save-the-date cards to announce your wedding date, use Facebook, email or telephone calls to relay the news to family and friends.


8) Before hiring a professional wedding planner, determine if someone close to you has wedding planning talents. Or, do the planning yourself with the help of family and friends.


9) Rather than having an expensive, formal dinner, consider having a buffet. 


10) Skip the alcohol, if it isn’t important to you. However, if you want to serve alcohol, choose one drink or purchase it from a warehouse store.


11) For the wedding day, ask a friend with hair and makeup skills to take care of the beauty needs for the bridal party.


12) Save money by skipping the party favors. Engraved matchbooks, pictures and candles can add up. Decorate tables with candy and maybe give out candy as a less expensive gift.