Wedding planning in a recession, part 2

By Christine Nelson -- bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - "It brings back very happy memories," says Jackie Kavege every time she passes Fleming's Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Charlotte's Epicentre.

It was inside the restaurant's private dining room where she held her wedding ceremony and reception, instead of at a traditional church.  A major cost-saving move.

"We didn't have to pay a church fee, we didn't have to pay a fee to have the room, to have the space at Fleming's.  So we just paid per person for the food," she explains.

The food cost was also minimal since they cut their guest list to 50, who enjoyed a four-course meal.

She didn't have to dig too deep in the floral budget either to transform the dining room into a romantic setting.

"We weren't getting a lot of pieces," Jackie says.  "Seven [arrangements] for the table and two large ones for the alter we created."

The biggest steal, which sometimes is one of the biggest expenses, was her dress.  Jackie bargain shopped on the internet until she found her designer gown....

"I found mine at The dress was $140. When I found it, it was on sale. They only had two left," says Jackie.

You're probably thinking Jackie skipped the dancing and entertainment to save money--right? Wrong!

She had her guests walk a couple blocks down to a nightclub called The Forum.  It was already in full swing. All she had to do was pay to rent the upper level for her 50 guests.

Jackie explains, "To rent a hall and hire a band and have an open bar at the reception site that adds up.  So we were able to do this and take advantage of their DJ for $800 for 54 people."

Total the cost including invitations and party favors for 50, pictures and an unforgettable ceremony and reception will blow your mind:

"Right around $9,000," says Jackie smiling.

Now she and her new husband are starting their lives together, debt-free.

Jackie saved a good $20,000 by implementing these cost-saving moves.

We asked her if there was anything she would change... She said "no," because that intimate setting made it the best wedding she had ever been to.