Posts tagged ‘Frugal Bride’

Frugal Bride Part 2: Table service

My fiancee and I are in the process of planning a wedding.  Right now we are estimating that 450 of the 700 guests we are inviting will be able to attend.  With that many people, using china and fine silver is completely out of our budget.  We want our reception to look nice, but we cant go broke in the process.

I went online to look at disposable options for dinnerware.  I didn’t want the red SOLO cups & plates, or even paper plates and cups.  I knew there had to be something out there that looked presentable, but would still be at a reasonable price.  Disposable products are not the most eco-friendly :(; however, I also know that my friends & family that have so graciously volunteered to cleanup the reception for us don’t want to stay at the church all night long washing dishes.  If we make it so that they can just trash almost everything at the end of the night it will make their jobs much easier.

For the flatware, we went with Reflections silver plastic forks from a catering supplier called Instawares.  If you have never used these before, they are wonderful!  These forks definitely look like real metal silverware – definitely a step up from the white or even clear plastic silverware.   I was also really happy with my purchase from Instawares.  It was a breeze to find what I wanted, checkout was easy, my credit card was charged correctly, and shipping was very fast even for the cheapest shipping option available.  I will definitely be using them in the future if I have a large party to plan!

Tablecloths, napkins, glasses, and plates were all ordered through Oriental Trading Company.  I had searched several online retailers to find the best prices on these items, going so far as to calculate the per-unit price for each item.  After looking for awhile, I decided to order through Oriental Trading since they had all the items I wanted at a very low price.  I was going to just place one order with all items in it until I started searching for a coupon code (*note: you should always google coupon codes when shopping online!).  I found a code that gave $20/$69 order + free shipping!  I was able to break my order down into 7 smaller orders and used this coupon code each time.  It took a few minutes more, but $20 off of each order + $11 in shipping saved me $217.  That was definitely worth my time to place the extra orders.

All-in-all, the table service for 450 people has cost me just slightly over $400.


August 11, 2009 at 7:03 pm Leave a comment

How to get a designer wedding dress without going broke

Most brides have dreamed about their perfect dress since they were four years old.  Yards of flowing silk, taffeta, and lace completely surround the blushing bride, making her feel like a complete princess.   Almost as soon as an engagement ring is slipped onto her ring finger, the bride-to-be begins her hunt for the perfect dress.  Catalogues are combed over and appointments are made to begin trying on dresses.  At the boutique the young bride tries on several dresses, finally falling in love with “THE” dress.  Its beautiful, elegant, fits her like a glove.  As she turns around to look at the back of the gown in the mirror, she spots a tag hanging  from the dress and reaches to peek at it.  She just about faints when she sees the price – $5,000!

The average wedding dress in the US costs $1,505 according to the Bridal Association of America.  Prices range from $50 clearance dresses at local department stores, all the way up to several thousands for a designer gown.  Once a dress is purchased it usually has to be altered in some way.  The alterations can add a few hundred dollars more onto the price of the gown.  Accessories on average cost a bride an additional $333.   Adding all the pieces together, a bride’s ensemble averages closer to $2,000. For some, this is well within reach.  For others, like me, the average dress cost about half of the entire wedding budget all together!  So how can you bring that cost down, and still get the designer look that you have fallen in love with?

  • Rent your dress.  If you are not planning on keeping your gown forever, this is probably the cheapest way to go.
  • Find a seamstress to custom make a gown for you.  If you know an accomplished seamstress, you can often get a dress made for a fraction of the price of a designer gown.
  • Wait for a sample sale, or a trunk sale.  Often times the dresses that stores have used as samples for others to try on can be had at a deep discount.  A good cleaning and some small repairs could save you hundreds of dollars overall.
  • Get a bridesmaid or prom dress in white or cream.  Several popular bridal styles are also available as prom or bridesmaid dresses.  My sister actually got her dress this way.  She paid $180 for a white prom dress to wear as a wedding dress.  A similar dress was available at David’s Bridal at the time for almost $1,000!
  • Order a pre-owned wedding dress from eBay, or  This is the route I chose to take.  The designer gown I wanted was over $1,600 to purchase new.  I found the same dress in my size, and paid $926 including the shipping.  Another bonus?  I had my dress in one week, instead of having to wait 12 weeks from the designer.  With the short timeline that we are on, this was the best option for me.  I also intend to sell the dress back when I am finished with it and hopefully recoup most of the cost of the gown.

The key to saving money on your wedding gown is to be flexible and creative.  If you are willing to think outside the box just a bit, you could end up with your dream gown at a cost you can afford.

July 19, 2009 at 7:35 pm Leave a comment

New? Check out these posts to get started

How to get started with CVS ________________________________ How to get started with Walgreens ________________________________ How I use my printer to print money ________________________________ How to get coupons and keep them organized ________________________________ Stockpiling Basics

Coupon Terms

BOGO = Buy one, get one (usually buy one get one free).

EB = Extra Bucks. Use these like cash at CVS.

IP = Internet Printable coupon.

IVC = Instant Value Coupon. These are at Walgreens

MIR = Mail in Rebate

OOP = Out of Pocket

P&G = Proctor & Gamble. One of the Sunday
coupon inserts.

RP = Red Plum. One of the Sunday coupon inserts.

RR = Register Rewards. Use these like cash at Walgreens.

SS = Smart Source. One of the Sunday coupon inserts

WYB = when you buy

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