Day 14: Wedding Day Blues

By Zaneta Lowe  - bio | e-mail

Columbus, GA (WTVM) -- From lavish receptions with live bands, to the bride's dress and of course the bling,walking down the aisle can really run up the bill. According to the Association of Wedding Professionals International the average wedding costs around $24,000, but like so many people these days, what if you can't afford it? Mountain Top Inn Wedding Coordinator Jo Cates says there are several steps couples can take to plan their dream wedding, without nightmare costs.

First it's all about location. "I tease the brides and I tell them all they have to do is find a groom, get their license, what they're going to wear and their rings," Cates says. The Mountain Top Inn is essentially a one-stop shop for weddings and receptions. Packages are all inclusive. For a little over four thousand dollars you can get a chapel, minister, flowers, photo and video package, along with food for the reception.

Donna Comer runs a bed and breakfast in Columbus that also serves as a wedding venue. The historic home is a Greek revival built in 1840 and Comer says it automatically provides ambiance that can't be bought. "It is so comforting to people when they come in, they tour, they walk around, the feel of it, is just great," Comer says. Speaking of decorations experts say another way to cut down on flowers is by using lots of greenery. Also, steer clear of floral intensive holidays like Mother's Day, Christmas, and Valentine's Day.

Next, try not to schedule your wedding at the same time everyone else does. The majority of weddings take place from May to October, so couples can often save across the board by avoiding those months. The day of the week is just important. Getting married on a non-traditional day during the week or on a Sunday, could trim some costs.

Cut the cake. Many bride's spend lots of money on a cake that doesn't get eaten. So instead, experts say for a big wedding, try a smaller version of your dream cake then serve sheet cake from the kitchen. For a smaller wedding, you could even use a faux bottom layer and no one would ever know the difference.

Finally,dress down the gown. Brides can check out sample sales and outlet stores, even buy a dress from someone else and have it altered to their size and style. Another option, especially for a small, simple ceremony, is to order a bridesmaid's dress in white.  In the end, of course it's the marriage that should outweigh money.

"If that really, really big wedding is what you have to have to be happy, but the problem is, you don't want to spend so much that you're paying for it for years and years and years."