Wallet Woes

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First comes love . . . then comes marriage . . . then comes the financial fright fest that is budgeting for the wedding of your dreams with the bank account of your nightmares.

For most, the Big Day spells big emotions, big gowns—and even bigger debt. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Just ask Rebecca Sarson, a store manager at David’s Bridal and a bridal business expert.

“Preparing for a wedding can no doubt come with unwanted headaches and hefty price tags,” Sarson says, “but you don’t have to let overspending come back to haunt you!”

Sarson outlines a few simple suggestions that will provide the “wow” without the “ow.”

“These days, couples are thinking outside the box when it comes to venues,” Sarson says. “Rather than a traditional wedding reception hall or country club, check out less expensive facilities, from city-run spaces like zoos and civic gardens to restaurants.” (Check out the upcoming story in the print edition of Our Wedding about civic spaces in Sacramento and nearby beach venues—written by yours truly.) Sarson also suggests scheduling your wedding during off-peak times and choosing any day other than Saturday for your nuptials.

If you’re still set on walking down the aisle on a weekend, try saving some cents on food and drink. Sarson recommends scheduling a daytime reception (“since it’s always cheaper to serve lunch than dinner,” she says), offering a signature cocktail instead of an open bar (you know how much your friends can drink) or doing a dessert or appetizer reception instead of a full sit-down dinner. (I can tell you from experience that my wedding guests were more excited for the taco bar and self-serve cookie display at my wedding than they were for the first dance . . . I can’t say I blame them.)

As for decoration, DIY is always adorable—and affordable—so why not let that crafty friend of yours make the centerpieces (using seasonal flowers will also cut down on costs) or make your wedding favors deliciously unique by packing home-baked goodies or candy in a cute bag tied off with a ribbon in your color scheme?

“That will definitely satisfy your guests’ sweet tooth!” Sarson says.

At the end of the day, anything that feels like you will make you happiest. So if you’ve already splurged on the ring—brides look at their wedding rings more than 1 million times in their lifetime (this fact may or may not be supported by science . . . but it sounds about right)—why not save a little money for your honeymoon or post-wedding plans by tightening the bridal belt? (And we all know that a defined waist is super flattering.)

Find more wedding tips and tricks at davidsbridal.com.