First Person: We Had a Big Wedding Despite the Recession

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My husband and I decided to get married in mid 2008, right in the heart of the economic crash. It wasn't the best financial time to plan a wedding, but we wanted to make it work. I knew if I wanted to have the wedding of my dreams, I was going to have to make sacrifices both in everyday life and in my wedding exceptions. With a lot of smart planning, some do-it-yourself projects, and compromise I was able to have the big wedding I always wanted in-spite of the recession. Here are a few ways I saved money while planning our wedding.

The Venue

If I had my way, my husband and I would have said "I do" in front of a beautiful waterfall, but realistically that would have been far too costly. Once I began calling locations and learned they started around $3,000, I started to panic. I had no idea how we could be able to afford a venue. Luckily, a family member recommended a local middle school. After contacting school staff, we learned we could use it free because my mother in-law to be worked there, but even without her discount the rental would have only been $200 for eight hours, which would have meant a total savings of $2,800, but as it is we save no less than $3,000 on our venue.

Food

After talking to several caterers in my area, it was clear food was going to be a huge expense. Most places charged around $6 per plate of food. We were expecting 80 people, so the total cost would have been somewhere around $480. That is a lot of money to spend on food. After talking it over, we decided to do the food ourselves. Of course, it wasn't a plated meal like most of the caterers were offering, but it was much cheaper. We were able to buy more than enough food for 80 people, and it only cost us $200. Doing the food ourselves was completely worth saving $280.

DIY wedding programs

Of course wedding programs aren't a must-have, but were something I wanted. I tend to get hot easily and thought it would be nice to have hand held fans available for me and my guests. I spent several hours researching the cost of custom made fans and found they averaged $2 each, or a total of $160 for 80. I decided to add them to my DIY list, and was able to make all 80 fans for $45, which is a savings of $115.

Getting married during a recession is less than ideal, but we were able to pull it off. All told, these three compromises saved us $3,395 and allowed us to stay within our tight budget.

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