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Follow these been there, done that tips from a savvy, money-saving bride
A s a news reporter for CBS’s Channel 5, Erin Colgan knows how to dig up details. So when it came to planning her June wedding to Matt Foushee, a little roll-up-your-sleeves research helped her save big.Go for a non-traditional day. “We got married on a Sunday evening, which cut the entire cost of our wedding in half,” says Erin. “The cost of our reception site and our band were halved, and the limo quote for the day was much cheaper, too.”Shop around for great wedding gown pricing. “I ordered a Maggie Sottero gown from a bridal store in Columbia,” says Erin. “I compared prices before handing over the cash ($1,750) and found it online for $1,300. The store came down to match the Internet price, so I’m glad I asked.” Choose a reception site that allows you to hire your own caterer. “Some places required we use their caterer and one quoted us $75 a head,” says Erin. “Instead, we used Regal Catering at Hibernian Hall and got the same menu—maybe even more—for $23 a head.” Try do-it-yourself reception décor. “We hung Chinese lanterns in Hibernian Hall,” says Erin. “I found a great deal where a mass of them didn’t cost more than $50. I also sewed my own table toppers for the reception hall with $50 of coral colored silk-textured material from Hancock Fabrics.” Make your own table arrangements. “The day of our wedding, 10 of my mother’s closest friends made 20 table arrangements. We found wholesale flower dealers that other brides recommended.” Add in the bridal party flowers, and the total was $1,000. Downsize the cake. “Yes we had a beautiful cake, but it wasn’t a five-tiered towering monster,” says Erin. “Instead, there was a beautiful smaller cake for us to cut, and the caterer plated pieces of sheet cake for guests. This took the cake from nearly $4 a slice to less than a dollar a slice.” Do your homework. Erin’s favorite budget busting tool? Besides the Internet, she loved the tome Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget (Windsor Peak Press, $14.95) by Alan and Denise Fields.