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Blog Posts on My Frugal Life:

You Don't have to go Broke to get Married - Part 1
Sunday, January 17, 2010 | By amseibel

As noted in previous posts, We have three daughters.  They are all married.  We put on three weddings.  We did them all on a tight budget.  In doing so, I've learned a few things about weddings.  The most important is that you can put on a lovely shindig without breaking the bank.  Here is how we did it.

The first - Vanessa:  Although it's been almost 15 years, Vanessa's wedding was the biggest and the most frugal of them all.  Since my Son-in-law Joe comes from a large family (youngest of seven) This was going to be a big wedding - between 200 & 250 guests.  We did it all for about $3,500.  This includes the invitations, church, the priest, the hall, the decorations, the flowers, the cake, the pictures, the DJ, the bartender (with wine and beer), the flowers, the clothing and the food.

V&J announced on Halloween that they were getting married on February 3rd.  Not a long time to plan such a big wedding.  But with a combination of planning and luck, it all came together.

They planned the wedding for a Friday night - it was the only time they could get the church and the priest.

Next, the dress.  At that time Penny's Outlet store sold wedding dresses.  It was the first place we went.  Now, Vanessa is short, so we knew that whatever we bought would have to be shortened.  We looked for something that had a fancy top and simple skirt. 

The first dress she tried on had a beautiful beaded top and a plain white satin skirt.  It fit perfectly and cost $199.  After trying on several others we decided to purchase it.  The store personnel assured us the it could be returned if it hadn't been worn.  We wanted to check out some other options.

We visited several other stores and she tried on numerous dresses.  Nothing even came close to the first dress.  Since her M-I-L and I both sew we took the dress and planned the remodel.  For about $50 (from a store that was going out of business and had everything 50% off) we purchased some heavy netting - the type used to make trains for gowns, some lace medallions, some lace edging and some beading.  We trimmed the satin skirt shorter in the front and curved in the back.  Then we added the netting, sewed the lace medallions down the back, covered the seam with lace and beading and trimmed the edges.  When we finished, the dress had a six foot train with beaded lace cut-outs.  It was absolutely gorgeous!

Since it was the dead of winter in Kansas, Vanessa decided to use silk flowers instead of fresh.  Once again, she, her bridesmaids, her M-I-L and I created the arrangements, corsages, boutonnieres, and other floral decorations.  Her M-I-L worked for Walmart at the time and found glass bowls to decorate the tables on clearance for 50¢ each. She also found white wired Christmas lights for about $1.00 per string.    I used Michael's sales & coupons to pick up ribbon and those flat glass things and candles to put in the bowls.  I think she rented the tablecloths from the hall. Her colors were dark green, burgundy and gold.  We picked up the rest of the decorations for at least 50% off around and after Christmas.  I believe the only thing we paid full price for was the big burgundy rose in the center of her bouquet - around $5!

As for the bridesmaids' dresses, she chose black velvet tops with burgundy and green plaid satin skirts - using a simple pattern.  We found the patterns for 99¢ each and the fabric at Joann's for 50% off.  There were four bridesmaids - we made the dresses for about $25 each.  Then she found coordinating shoes at an outlet store at the mall for $7 a pair - in just the right sizes for all the girls.

For the two flower girls we found similar dresses at Sears for $10 each with velvet tops but a different skirt.  We removed the skirts and replaced them with skirts made from the left-over bridesmaid dress fabric.

At the time, Vanessa worked for a photography studio.  So not only did she get their top of the line wedding photo package at cost, but by knowing the invitation people, cake lady, the DJ's, the bartenders and the people who rented the hall, she got everything else for about 30% off.  Her grandparents said they would pay for the cake - around $250.

Now the food.  How do you feed 200 people on a small budget?  Well, we did it.  Our plan was to have meat & cheese trays, vege  & fruit trays, rolls, baked beans, potato salad, pasta salad and coleslaw.

Near my work with one of those places that sold salvage food items.  I had purchased food for the family from there for years and knew that their quality was good.  Right after Christmas they marked all their deli meats (unsliced) down to $1.49 per pound.  I bought two each of the turkey and ham items and one of corned beef.  They also had ten pound cheese blocks for $1.99 per pound.  Bought two cheddar and one of Swiss.  We put the meat in her M-I-L's freezer and stored the cheese in the fridge at her house also.

We were able to order the small egg rolls from a company that only sold to other companies for $1.00 a dozen.  My son-in-law managed a soccer store and was able to purchase them and have them shipped to the store for a "party".  Planned those to come in the day before.  The rest of the items we bought at Sam's or Aldi's. We bought bowls, serving utensils and trays at the local party store - on sale after Christmas.

A friend of her in-laws owned a small pizza restaurant.  He said that we could come in and use his big slicer to slice the meats and cheeses. So that is what we did - just a couple of days before the wedding.

The whole family got together the day before the wedding to prepare the food.  We sliced the rolls and prepared the meat & cheese and vege and fruit trays.  They were wrapped in plastic wrap and tucked into her M-I-L's spare fridge.  We also made the pasta salad.

The best man's sister owned a catering business.  As a wedding gift to the couple, she and her two teenage children came in and setup and served the food.  Afterwards we did the clean-up.

It was quite an event.  Everything came off perfectly.   Even the weather cooperated - it was about 50 degrees and sunny (unusual for Kansas in February!!)

Luck? Planning?  Maybe a little of both. 


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powerpt presentation ideas
Saturday, September 19, 2009 | By carlarenee1126

My son is getting married next yr and I would like to surprise them with a powerpt presentation of them groiwng up/photos at wedding reception.  I need help on how to do this.

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I feared I had been too cheap!
Monday, September 07, 2009 | By dingybat

I had known I was going to marry this man, so I began picking up things to transform into centerpieces and other decorations and such- at Good Wills, thrift stores, garage and yard sales and church rummage sales.  When he asked me August 28, 2009, I took inventory of what I had and was pleasantly surprised!  I had all the invitations for the bridal shower, bachelorette party and the wedding itself.  I had bags and a hat for the bachelorette party, and plenty of wedding books (IE, guest sign in book, record keeping book, ect).  Candles, ribbon, Tulle, embellishments of all sorts.  Poster board, stencils, paints, glue sticks, silk flowers and greenery.  Favors and place cards.  I was at a Good Will and I found my wedding dress!  It was a pale yellow dress with a small train.  At a bargain price of $10.00!  With that find, I had my color reference.  I was at a craft store when they had a "all-you-can-stuff-in-a-large-bag-for-$5" sale, so I got miles and miles of ribbon, tulle and other accessories.  (I can stuff a bag, I tell you!)  I started making the decorations, center pieces and my headpiece.  I was sitting on my living room floor, after finishing one particularly wonderful piece and I was overcome with emotion.  I started crying.  I was suddenly terrified that everyone would think I was hoakie and cheap, that it would all look that way.  My fiance laughed and hugged me, telling me that he was proud I could do all these things.  He reminded me we will have more money for our honeymoon because of my ability to make a buck stretch and I snapped out of it!  I found a wedding chapel that is a historical site and rented it for $95 for the day.  I work with a minister who will marry us for a $50 donation, and I have a friend who owns a tavern with a party room who is letting me use it for free, as long as my guests buy the drinks from the bar.  So, with all this, I have spent about $200 so far.  With food I expect to spend no more than $300-350.  I wouldn't mind hearing comments from members after they view my pics about this.  Can someone be too cheap?  Sometimes I am very proud of myself, and sometimes I wonder!


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reception ideas metro detroit
Tuesday, January 06, 2009 | By hollyji

Help! I want to have a fun wedding reception for around $4000 for 150 people. All of the halls/clubs/hotels seem so similar and are soooooo expensive.
Does anyone know of any alternative ideas? I'm afraid to plan something outside because of the weather, but love the idea of canoeing followed by a bbq and music... I'm stuck and getting frustrated.

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A March Wedding
Thursday, October 30, 2008 | By lhamm

I need HELP! I am getting married to my High School sweetheart in March of 2009. The thing is I have no idea what colors to use for my flowers or wedding party? Alot of people has suggested silver, blue, and brown? I have no idea though? I always said I wanted to use a deep colored pink, but I don't know how that would look in march? Please someone help!

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Our Wedding Rings
Monday, September 15, 2008 | By karensheart

We got our wedding rings today!


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Shopping Spree Bridal Shower Theme
Monday, March 10, 2008 | By Alexis2for you

We are hosting a bridal shower for my friend and she insists on the theme being centered around "shopping Spree" or shopping related since that is one of her favorite past times.  Can someone please help me with ideas for invitations, centerpieces, etc.  The wedding is scheduled for April 26 so I have no time.

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Monday, February 18, 2008 | By alwaysthelovely1

I am a mother of four and will be getting married on June 14, 2008. I have no ideal what to do about finding a dress and getting all of the stuff we need by this time. I hope to find a dress before then for under 200 dollars.  I also need a cake and an ideal for the reception food. If anyone knows of these types of things please let me know. It would be a blessing. Thanks

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Cheap weddings for 2000 please Alex.....
Tuesday, December 18, 2007 | By thefuturemrsgross

Hey Guys!I am trying to have a wedding for under 2,000 and i am doing a pretty good job of it so far, but i need more help! My wedding is in April 2008 for 200 people; and i am stuck.

Some things that have been accomplished are:
Invitations (a friend made them as our wedding gift) all i had to do was buy the ink for her printer.

My Cake: it's being  made by a friend of the FH's family for 200 bucks or less.

Photgrapher: My FH's step dad is a amatuer photographer, and he's doing it for free! We;re also having disposable cameras on the tables at the reception.

Food: Depending on IF i can find a location, it will be a potluck dessert Style! Most places i am noticing are telling me i have to cater.

My dress: My grandma paid for it, as a gift.

I'm just stuck on the rest, i am having a hard time finding a location (indoors) that will hold 200 ppl at tables, that also has a non host bar, and won't need catering. Does anyone have any ideas as to any close locations to Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA where i could hold a cheap, yet princess/elegant wedding and reception?



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Our wedding on a local beach
Wednesday, April 18, 2007 | By adams123

In the summer of 2004, my husband and I got married at our favorite local beach. With permission, we set up seating and props and had the wedding of a lifetime! It was the most beautiful wedding location. I'm not just saying it because it was free to have our wedding at the local beach, it was perfect for us. There were waves as the back drop and the sun was setting making pictures look fablous. I would suggest it to anyone who loves the outdoors and has a favorite local beach. Who needs to travel down south to get married!!!!!

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