Wedding Planning in a Recession, Part 1

By Christine Nelson - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The last thing a couple wants to do is celebrate wedded bliss in debt, but that's what ends up happening to a lot of newlyweds.

Now, they're getting more and more conscious of how they're spending their dollars on their big day.

The flowers, dress, shoes, rings and everything in between, the cost of a wedding can reach tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It's money some couples just don't have.

"Definitely, brides are coming in with more limited budgets than they were last year, or even the year before," says Charlotte wedding planner Alyse Woodward of Alyse Woodward Events.

Tip number one to cut your costs: Scale back on the guest list.

"It gives you more money to spend for your attire or for your flowers or anything else because each guest can be $100 and that's just for food," says Woodward.

Also, have your ceremony and reception in the same location. That way, you're likely to pay one combined fee.

When it comes to decorating for the big day, flowers can be a huge expense but there's trendy alternative that uses tissue paper to create floral illusions.

Woodward explains,"They basically fold the tissue paper to make these fun pom-pom balls.  I had a bride who suspended them from the ceiling underneath an outdoor overhang with twinkle lights and it was absolutely gorgeous!"

A little creativity like do-it-yourself invitations can also save you big cash. Some can be done right on your home computer... or invitation kits are available online.

And if you are trying to save money, so is your bridal party.

For the men, use the matching ties worn in the wedding as their bridal gift.

For the women, have them buy their dresses from a chain store instead of a bridal boutique.

"They can try it on, make sure it fits and they're not incurring the costs of alterations," says Woodward pointing to a sample black cocktail dress from White House Black Market.  "With something like this you can get it anywhere from $80-$200."

Just do the math and see that you've saved big.  A vow both the bride and groom can say "I do" to.