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Cheapo Weddings

Wedding Dresses: I was looking for a wedding dress when I got married a year and a half ago. Like most women, I paged through the hundreds of wedding dresses in the bridal magazines wishing that I could afford one of my "dream" dresses. There was one dress in particular by Cristos that I fell in love with. However, I knew that the $1500.00 to $2000.00 price tag was WAY out of my reach. I decided to just go try out some dresses at a local bridal shop. I had gone through about 10 dresses when I started describing the "dream dress" to the sales associate. She brought in a dress that she thought might be similar, but it wasn't really what I was looking for. Then she asked me a few more questions about it and said that she thought she might have something even more like it. Lo and behold- she came back in with THE dress. I couldn't believe it! I was almost afraid to ask the price..... $325.00!!!. I said is this a Cristos? And she told me no that it was an Amy Lee. Amy Lee does a line of dresses that are knockoffs of more famous (and expensive) designers called Versions. So my suggestion to those of you out there with a "dream dress" is to take your pictures along with you and/or visit www.amyleebridal.com . Hope that helps at least some of you out with your hunt for the perfect gown! Susann Brown

More budget wedding ideas: Make your own wedding favors! Don't be pressured into buying expensive wedding favors. Even at about $5 each, it adds up. Go to your local Michaels or AC Moore (with coupons in hand of course) and even if you are not artistically inclined, you can make (or get your friends/family to help you make) cute favors. Two ideas: buy small votive candles for about .17 each and wrap them in a bit of pretty fabric with a ribbon around it. Or: Buy (in bulk) potpourri and do the same to make small sachets. Both are really inexpensive, cute and easy to make. Also, if you don't want to have an expensive dinner, try what my friends did. They had a brunch wedding and had pancakes, waffles, omelettes, etc. The food was excellent and because it was held in the afternoon, open bar wasn't expected. Beer, wine, juice and coffee were provided, though. Good luck! :) , Tami jean, NJ

For our wedding we wanted a really good photographer, but the local photographers around here are brutally expensive.  We  went to the local police academy and asked the crime scene photographer to do it.  Sure enough, he was just starting his own photography business and he took BEAUTIFUL photos for us.  He also included a videotape of our wedding and reception for free.  We were absolutely thrilled and he charged about 1/3 of the price we would have paid for the local professional studio photograhers.  Check your local police academy for photographers! Tami Anderson

Weddings: Check ebay for gorgeous dresses at a fraction of the price. I regularly see $1000+ dresses go for around $100. Also as far as food we hit Sams and did two meat trays, a cheese tray, veggie platter, and added lots of croissants so people built little sandwiches. The cake we had was stunning. We had seen a article in the paper about a ma and pa bakery that would do this beautiful cake for $125. It was four tiers and each tier was a different flavor. Check you yellow pages for little out of the way bakeries run by a family. We had a great time and everyone raved about everything. We even had Congressman Istook and his wife there and they had a great time. Also check ebay for little things like your guest book and little gifts for attendants. You can tell I spend too much time (and money) on ebay. Good luck!, Kathryn, KY

My wedding was a fall wedding - colors: burgundy/ivory. Bridesmaids: we ordered a burgundy dress from JCPenny catalog that was dressy enough for our wedding, but could also double as a "Sunday best" outfit. If they are spending the money, they should be able to wear the dress again! Wedding: I was blessed to have musical members in my family and friends circle. We paid for their travel and hotel, they didn't bring a tangible gift - their singing/playing at our wedding was their gift and we didn't need to "pay them". We bought bulletin covers from a local church supply store and printed up our own wedding program. Reception: My parents grew different gourds in the garden. Mom dried them and painted them our colors and put them in baskets with pinecones and freshly fallen, beautifully colored leaves for centerpieces for the reception tables. The bridesmaids bouquets were long stems and wrapped with ribbon. These bouquets were placed in vases of water at the wedding party/family tables as centerpieces. This way the bridesmaids didn't have to worry about where to put them or carry them everywhere and there were less centerpieces for us to make/buy. We bought all our tableware (tablecloths, placemats, plasticware, cups, etc.) at Sam's Cake: We went to the local community college and found a cake decorating class. The teacher was a homemaker (not a "professional" baker"), but made us a 3-tier stacked wedding cake with butter cream icing. Yum! And it was beautiful. Her class make separate sheet cakes and iced them for extras - and we needed them! We placed those same freshly fallen, beautifully colored leaves around the cake and punch bowl - which was a cranberryish flavor -burgundy in color! Thanks! Gretchen Krist, NC

Wedding reception food -- tips : http://www.stretcher.com/stories/970303b.cfm , Grace, CA

Cheap Wedding Ideas : Hi! I had to jump in here! I wanted to let everyone know that if there is a local college in your area, be sure to call up the music department and see if there are any students who would be willing to play a wedding. This is a great way to get the instrumentation you want at a cheaper rate. I was a music major, and we lived for these types of gigs! We were given performance opportunities and the bride and groom were given beautiful and affordable music! Hope this helps!, Melissa, FL

wedding flowers : When my sister was married, she wanted really beautiful flowers. She found a local independent florist who buys flowers at the SanFrancisco wholesellers market. He made beautiful hand tied bouquets for bride and bridesmaids. For the rest of the flowers, he bought for us at "cost". We had a great time making coursages and table arrangements. Roses, delphinium, stock--everything was so pretty. A florist would have charged $40-$60 for table arrangements that we made for $5-$10 each. The florist let us setup in his work room--he had all the supplies we needed and also coolers to keep the flowers looking their best. If you can find a florist willing to work with you like this, you can get thousands of dollars worth of flowers for a fraction of the cost. , Pam, MI

Budget Wedding Reception: This was a second marriage, but anyone could do it. The bride requested that instead of gifts, the quests bring a "dish to pass" for a pot-luck dinner. She asked that along with the dish, bring the recipe for the bride to make a keepsake recipe book. It was held in the church hall right after the wedding and a lot of fun. The only thing I would add is to say the dish should be made to serve some number of people, say 10-12. Some of the (generous) ladies made IMMENSE mac & cheese and other casseroles that went uneaten because there was so much interesting food., Sharon, NY

Wedding expectations : When I had my wedding, I was pressured by different members of our family to conform to the traditional open bar, big buffet meal, rented hall extravaganza that is more about catering (literally) to what the guests "expect" than what the day is about. My greatest suggestion is to do a lot of research and to have the day that YOU want, not the day that others expect you to have. I had my reception at a golf club that was cheaper than even the local fire halls and MUCH prettier. I found a florist who did not do a tremendous amount of weddings, but who was willing to work within my budget and used cheaper flowers that were just as beautiful. One of the budget wedding books I found even suggested a "cake and champagne" reception, but did say you should make that clear in the invitation. I've been to a lot of elaborate (and expensive) receptions where the food was lousy, the drinks were watery and the band was way off key. The ones I remember fondly are the unique affairs where it was far more intimate than flashy and was an expression of the couple, not of what Brides magazine thinks it should be. Good luck. , Coleen, PA

I love weddings! : I've really enjoyed your wedding stories, and I'd like to tell you my "cheap wedding" story. We couldn't get our family's church for the ceremony, even though my uncle and cousins were on the vestry and promised to get everything back in place before Sunday morning, so my MIL spoke to her minister, and we had the service in the prettiest little church! One of the girls I worked with had a glorious voice, and I asked her to be my soloist. The new church furnished the organist and the cleanup cost very little. So we, of course, gave a donation to the church. We asked our dear old Rev. Doolittle, who'd been the minister at our church but was now Chaplain at the Veterans Home, to perform the ceremony, and he was given a donation also. My angel Mother found enough white slipper satin on sale for my dress -- it cost $7! And our dear neighbor, who was an elderly spinster and earned her living making cassocks for priests, asked if she might make my gown. Of course, I accepted her offer immediately! She made the most beautiful gown, fitted, with long sleeves coming to points over the wrists, and buttons from collar to pointed waistline (she covered all 35 of them herself!), and a lace collar that stood up and curved over under my chin. She put me through about seven fittings before she was satisfied, and believe me, that dress looked like it had been stitched on my body! She wouldn't take anything for sewing the dress, but she said kind of softly, if I'd like to pay for the button forms and the lace for the collar, she's accept $5! Then she presented me a white Bible, "to carry down the aisle". The cake was a gift from the bakery down the street, where I used to stop on my way home from work and pick up donuts to eat on the way. We had our reception in the Oddfellows Hall (my Da was a trustee), and Mother and her friends baked hams (three, I think), and brought in enough sandwiches, jello, cookies, pickles and chips to feed the US Army. Some of Mother and Da's friends staged a mock wedding, at the end of which Elfa, who lived on a farm, came in leading two baby goats on satin ribbons, and introduced them as our "kids." I had my dress dry-cleaned at the neighborhood cleaners, and they put it in a suit-box for me. I wrapped the box in layers of newspaper and sealed it with paper tape and stuck it away in the closet in the basement. The wonderful think about it is that, nearly thirty years later, our future daughter-in-law asked if she might wear my gown for her wedding, cuz #1 son just loved that dress in our wedding picture! Now, who could turn down an honor like that? My younger daughter had only to shorten it about five inches (our Sally is a little bitty thing), and they had lots of fun telling son that they were "shopping for wedding stuff" or "going to the movies" when they would get together at Sally's to work on the gown. You should've seen his face when he looked up the hill and saw her coming down in that dress! I wished I'd had a movie camera. After the ceremony, I asked the minister to detain them at the brook when the ceremony was over and he had introduced the new couple, and DH and I went down and draped the new daughter with the family tartan plaidie we had bought for her, and pinned it with my brooch. Of course, the full pipe band was there, and all the men in the wedding party, including DH and younger son, were in full kilt regalia. You should have seen our Sally marching down the lawn in "our" wedding gown, with her new plaid over her shoulder, kneeing that tenor drum along and grinning from ear to ear! Gee, I hadn't intended to make this so long -- and I guess it really should go in off-topic. but I just had to share it! , Dore, MI

Cheap Wedding Ideas: I wanted to thank everyone for all the great wedding ideas! My DH and I were married in Vegas a yr. ago with the premise that we would have the actual ceremony in June at our church with friends and family but finances have not allowed! Its been kind of a bummer to me and I have been desperately looking for some way to make it work! We both work full time and go to school full time, and I guess the biggest thing is that our families haven't had the finances or offered to help with anything. Its still such a dream of mine to have it done though - these ideas have been great! I'm thinking that I will try to put my rebate $ towards building up a fund to shop those 40% off coupons at Michaels! Things are pretty paycheck to paycheck - but you girls have had such great inexpensive ideas! If anyone who has done the weddings or invitations would like to email me and give me some more tips I would appreciate it so much! I'm kind of scared to print my own invitations - our computer is not that great, but with our school grants I think we are going to get a new one and maybe I can tackle it! Thanks so much, you guys are great!!!, Jennifer, CA

Weddings -- meal time: You cannot have a wedding at a meal time and NOT serve dinner--that is just plain wrong. It also increases the chances of the guests getting drunk because there isn't substantial food, just desserts or snack foods., Grace, CA

wedding ideas We planned our wedding in 3 weeks. My wedding dress was an ivory tea lenth dress with a loose jacket and small ivory and peach rosebuds on the lapels, $25 on the Sears clearance. Shoes were off the $2 clearance at walmart (also an off white/beige low heel). Instead of a veil, I had a big ivory picture hat that I picked up on a clearance rack at a mall a few years before, just because it was really pretty, & added a band of pearl from a craft store. Total was under $50 for everything. Thrift stores are great too I have since learned, as sometimes they get donations of clearance merchandise or stores that go out of business. My bridesmaids wore dressy bluebjean skirts and paisley western style blouses (on sale at walmart, about $25 dollars total) with granny boots (because my hubbys brother refused to be a groomsman unless he could wear jeans, the ........so and so). and they carried wire and wicker baskets with silk flowers we made ourselves about $12 each). and made my boquet with silk flowers from the craft store as well. We decorated the church with big peach colored pillar candles ($2 each from Dollar General Store) and fan folded gold florist paper to set behind them and a couple of silk flower boquets on the alter as the only decorations. The reception was a buffet at my parents home or if they are getting married at a church thier is usually some kind of reception room available. Also, our churches ladies group often will fix foods for receptions at a very reasonable costs, it would be something to check on. You can purchase boneless hams (hopefully on sale about now because of easter) and have them sliced by the store, and make some other simple buffet foods, like a salad of some sort or veggie trays, chips and dips or crackers and cheeses, pickles, olives, nuts, mints........ as for the wedding cake, if there is no friend or family member who can make one, how about checking with your area vocational school, they usually have a food service and catering students and often will do cakes (maybe even meals) at a reduced cost. Good Luck with the wedding preperations!, Amber, MO

My 2 cents on budget weddings: Okay, Dh & I were married last April 20. First of all- DO NOT get married on a Friday night. (We had several people unable to attend due to this reason, and we have regretted it!) LOL Now, with that said, here is what we did: Our wedding was at 7pm. We printed up cards to match invites that said "Dessert reception to follow". Now, I know some people think, FEED, and some don't. Others can't afford it. It's a matter of your own. If you can't afford it, then don't do it. Plain and simple. If anyone is displeased because they came to your wedding and didn't receive a meal, then they were kinda there for the wrong reasons... LOL Plus, most people attending a wedding knowing ahead of time that no meal will be served will grab a light snack at home, eat before hand or something. Don't fret over it!! A friend of ours plays guitar REALLY well, so he and my future BIL played the music for our wedding. I was really pleased with it. The only thing we had on CD was our song during the unity candle, and all the rest was guitar. It was pretty. I printed my own invitation on my home computer. I went to Kinko's, and found some invitation weight paper that I loved, took them home to print, and then took them back to Kinko's to have then "laser cut" the invitations. (My invites were printed on 8X11 paper, and when cut in half, you had two 4 1/2" X 11" invites. I found some matching sheer ribbon, tied small bows, and hot glued to top center of invites. Very classy, and CHEAP!) My total for 50 invites was less than $15.00, including the ribbon bows, and envelopes. OH! I also bought some vellum paper at an office store, had it cut a little smaller then my invites, and glued this over the printed words. It was really pretty! I watched those Michael's sale ads like a hawk too. Save those 40% off coupons each week, and have friends save them too! I would go each week and buy about 5-10 things at 40% off that I needed, then wait until the next week to restock on coupons! LOL My bubbles were bought for $1.99 a box, and the bows to slip over the bottles were around $2.00 for 12 bands. Really cheap. I also bought my arch there, all my flowers, garlands, and tulle to decorate with. I bought about 20 yards of tulle at Jo Ann Fabrics when it was on sale for like 50 cents a yard last year.

This could go on forever! LOL If anyone is interested in more ideas, you can email me at november_rain1972@hotmail.com Stephanie, TX

Wedding on a budget : My husband's friend had karaoke for the music instead of a band. He down loaded the music from the internet (I guess you can find karaoke music on the internet). He had a book that he printed out the songs you can sing and the words to the songs. He also had a friend play part of the time cds he also downloaded from the internet. There were other things he saved but we arrived late for most of the wedding. Karaoke sounds strange, but it did work for the wedding for everyone had a great time., Minerva, IL

Budget wedding - evening:  I'm sorry to be a pessimist, but I have to agree with Natalie's post. If the wedding's at 6:00 and reception's at 7:00, I think the guests are going to expect enough food to "count" as dinner, whether it's finger food (and lots of it) or something more substantial or formal. I like the idea of a "dessert reception", but you might want to say that on the reception invitation, i.e. "Dessert Reception to follow". I don't think people expect to be fed quite as much at a mid-to-late afternoon wedding, but if the wedding's at 11:00 a.m. and the receptions's at noon, or the wedding's at 6:00 and the reception's at 7:00, I think the expectation's going to be that there will be subastantial food included. That might not be the case if the wedding were at 7:00 and the reception at 8:00. Any chance of moving it up an hour?, Jane, CA

CHEAP WEDDING: We went to a wedding a few years ago and they had made roses out of Hershey kisses, Hugs and pennies. They attached a note that said "A kiss from the bride, a hug from the groom and a penny from Heaven". They laid these around on the tables and everyone was to take 1 when they went home. My sister ended up with a dozen and they looked pretty in a vase. Email me jen90@cableone.net if you want the details., Jen, MO

Wedding on a Budget Suzette - check out Dillard's right now - they have up to 75% fancy evening gowns right now. I'm planning my wedding soon, and I found a very pretty (but simple) ivory off-the-shoulder gown for $25! They have a lot of white and ivory gowns right now for $100 and less! Also, some of the Dillards stores have a bridal department (mine didn't) and may have some of last year's designs on sale right now. I also saw a wedding gown at the VA Thrift store today $50 for the dress, slip, and veil... HTH!, Stefanie, MO

Wedding Party Favors ): If you have a Party City near you check their for wedding bubbles, etc. They are often on sale along with those aluminum pans for serving and balloons are cheap, too. Amy in Conyers, GA, Abbott, GA

cheap wedding supplies : Ebay is a great source for things like bubbles, and even dresses. We were looking for a neighbor at one time and couldn't believe the difference in ebay vs. a wedding store!, Sheryl, NC

Weddings  Night time weddings. Maybe I am old fashion but I never go to a wedding expecting to be feed. If I am feed that is just a pleasant surprise. Young people and their parents spend enough money on the wedding with out feeling that they should feed them all. I had a night time wedding and feed them Cake, Mints, & Punch. Of course that was 20 years ago (and still going strong). , Robin, TX

Weddings : Here are some ideas we used for a friend on a tight budget - Bouquets - Bunched flowers of one type in specific colors in tight bunches secured with rubberbands and then wrapped with silk ribbons and a simple bow with long streamers to hide rubberbands - used for bridesmaids and bride (bride's were all white). Got vases for center pieces (ivy bowls i think they're called) at a hobby store on sale for 50 cents each and put in colored water and a floating candle (note take long fireplace matches to light them and make sure you put candles in carefully so no water get on top - we had a heck of a time lighting our candles) and we sprinkled rose petals around the bottom of the vases (this was simple but elegant). I bought tulle (really cheap stuff) and swagged it around the cake table and took cheap silk flowers (made silk ribbon bows) and glued flower heads onto them and made nice little bouquets and pinned them to the cake table where the tulle came up to meet the table. We found really cheap white table clothes from thrift stores and on sales. I recommend if she uses professional photographer you talk about which pictures exactly to take and limit it as time is money. Make sure you get the good stuff and forget the professional for the rest. For the rest I got Fuji quicksnaps really cheap with coupons and placed them on some of the tables and made elegant but simple stand up cards with silk ribbon that stated that the wedding couple would appreciate if they would all take turns taking memorable photos during the event and leave the cameras on the table. As the couples gift I developed the photos for them with coupons and with sales of course. We also asked everyone that we were close to to bring their digital camera if they had one and help take pictures. We had one guy that took some miraculous photos (they were better than the professional) and we could digitally enhance them. I enhanced many myself and gave them a belated gift of several of these photos enlarged - I just printed them with my inkjet printer which has photo quality printing and just gave them to them to frame (the bride was given several lovely frames as wedding gifts). I thought about printing her invitations but someone donated them (another idea - ask for gifts to help with the actual wedding). But we were going to get some of that preprinted paper with roses on it and them print the invitation on vellum cut the edges with some of those fancy sissors punch two holes in the top center close together and insert a silk ribbon - then using envelopes I received from the nice ladies empting the cards at the stores we were going to send in those. Stamps are really expensive part - again as a gift at the shower someone gave that as a gift. Asking for stuff like that does really help - people are always looking to give stuff that is needed. Again, renting or sharing with other brides getting married about the same time is always useful. Marta Stewart actually has some good ideas - she has a book out - but take it with a grain of salt as she can get expensive and look for even less expensive ways to implement her ideas. Going for a simple, but elegant theme does seem to work as long as you take it throughout. , Elissa, TX

Cheap/Quick Weddings : My daughter fell in love with a serviceman. They were going to get married on his return from Korea. She found out she was pregnant before he left for Korea. Both families met a his base on a Wednesday night. Thursday morning, we all went for the license, blood tests, and shopping for the wedding. We stopped at Walmart the wedding rings (our gift), then to the florist and bought an artificial bouquet and boutineer,then we went to Krogers, I believe for the wedding cake. Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending on who you are), a wedding was cancelled, and we got the cake for about 25.00. We are going to hold the wedding at a chapel on base, but the florist suggested the parlour at the First Baptist Church. It was beautiful with chandeliers and beautiful furnishings and artificial flowers. My husband performed the ceremony and I played the piano. Grandpa gave her away. We only had the wedding party and about 5 relatives, so we had the dinner at Ryan's steak house in a private area. I believe we did all this for about $300.00...and the groom split the expense except for the rings. Her dress was a beautiful blue dress with lace that a friend had given her earlier. We may not have had the white dress and all the frills, but it was very pretty and memorable. , Janice, OK

Suzette/wedding: You mentioned that the wedding would be at 6 and the reception at 7. Since you will be having all these guests around dinnertime, that probably means you will be expected to serve a full dinner to your guests, which can really be expensive. Maybe consider changing the time of the wedding to an afternoon wedding where you can serve finger foods and such at the wedding, or an evening wedding where you can serve hors d'oeuvres or desserts (I for one would LOVE to go to a dessert reception!!)., Natalie, CA

Wedding Ideas : Just thought I would share a great ideas where my son and his wife got married, there is an old mansion in another nearby city of Kingsport, they only charged $350 for the day + the extras of the chairs and tables was a nominal fee, but the place was absolutely gorgeous and the weekend they got married all the roses were in bloom, something we hadn't anticipated but it made it even more gorgeous, some of you who don't have a place that you have decided on yet may want to look in your area for older historical places, alot of times they will rent places out for nominal amounts and it sure has a beautiful memory if not somewhat unique, the kids had thought of going to a regular church to do the honors and that would have been fine, we also thought of the "Park" Smoky Mt. there are many places where there are pavilions and stuff. However the mansion was extremely elegant and fancy, the grounds were beautiful, we bought probably close to $50 or so in silk flower at Micheals and the Dollar Tree to use on the mantles of the fireplaces and for table decorations. fortunately I had some blooming roses in my yard and we took a slew of flower heads to use on the tables too. Some of you who are doing your own food may want to try this idea too, Right after Valentines and Easter you can get great deals on chocalates and other heart shaped candies, we did this and I unwrapped each individual heart shaped choc. and placed them on a borrowed 3 tier plates with some paper doilies on clearance and they looked lovely and were gone at dinner in no time flat, no one new they were from Valentines as we removed the foil wrapper. also we did this with 1/2 off hershey kisses and dove choc. to put on each dinner setting, several chocs. were wrapped in tulle and with ribbon. we did this on a Sun. a couple of weeks before the wedding with a group of us gals and in no time we had 100 of them made, it was fun. We kept them in the freezer to keep fresh. The mansion and grounds were so beautiful they really only needed minimal decorating, but we'd seen pics from local florist of what some others had done to the same place at other weddings, everything from very elaborate to semi-formal, we even bought a $10 arch from Big lots for the bride and groom to stand in front of as they were getting married in the garden area in the back of the mansion. We intertwined the Dollar store vines/flowers all thru it and it was lovely. We uses some spray painted green short pieces of 4x4 with holes drilled in it to support the arch as it was a little wobbley. Also picked up floating candle flowers on discount at Walmart and put some more decorative fancy large salad type bowls I'd had in the back of the cupboard and filled them with water and put the floating flower candles in them at the wedding on a table for some other interesting eye catching decorations. Hope this helps some of you with some ideas, we had a great time with it all., Debbie, TN

Wedding Saver : Well one great way to save money is to rent your wedding dress. Really do you think your kids will ever wear it later? I rented a dress for $200.00,if I had bought it it would have been almost $1,000.00, and they did all the alterations to the dress. They would have made it a short sleeve dress, added bows, ect.. I even had my Brides Maids Rent their dresses from there too. It saved everyone alot of money and time. Look around there are lot of them out there. And Best of luck!, Laura, MD

Wedding saver : I got married 5 years ago and I wanted an antique looking gown so i hunted thrift stores.Just happened upon a GORGEOUS one that was on the floor in a ball at one ahop in Fla. I put it on over my clothes and it fit!!! I paid $40 for that dress-all it needed was to be shortened so I spent another $25 at the local tailor and then I had it cleaned. EVERYONE at the wedding thought I made it bc it was so beautiful. I am now taking it apart and making 2 pillows out of it-one for each daughter to receive on their wedding day. Who says you need a new gown from some warehouse???? PS-I never did that ridiculous $100 cleaning and preservation thing after the wedding either. A plain dry cleaning works out fine-use your own box., Debra, NY

Weddings: I got married after Thanksgiving. It was a nighttime wedding. For the reception decorations I used the clear votive candle holders with white candles for the illumination. And then used white and silver Christmas balls, some were plain and some had lace or glitter on them. The glitter ones really looked pretty in the candle light. Then I purchased some fresh pretty greeniery from our florist to wind throughout the balls and votive holders. Also used some pretty wire ribbon through out it too. It looked great, and did not cost that much., Rhonda, TX

Wedding on a Budget : I hope this can help someone. If you live in the NY,NJ,Conn area this place is worth the trip. ROSARIA JEWELRY Corp. Bridal Accesaries Wholesale, 1205 Broadway at 29th street, NY, NY 10001. This company is wholesale but he is located at street level and will be happy to sell to anyone. You do not need a resale number. I purchased my wedding veil there. I found a veil I liked at David's for $150.00 and I found the same one at this place for $10.00. They are importers and they carry every veil you can think of. Even the really tall ones that Homecoming queens where. This place carries the following. Gloves $7.00-8.00 in all colors. The price maybe higher for the gloves I got married in Dec. 2000. Netting for veils w/ different finished edging, pearls,ribbon etc. Tons Wedding jewelry. The really good thing about NYC is when you find one wholesaler that will sell to you, there is always another one with different merchandise 2 doors down that will also sell to you & maybe for a better price. Happy Shopping, , Renay, NJ

Re: Budget Wedding : To save on the flowers for the church, we called the bride for the wedding scheduled after ours to see if she was interested in splitting the cost of the flowers. While we still had to pay for bouquets, etc., we got to use the flowers for the 2 hours we wanted them. Also, a friend of mine managed her wedding budget so well that she paid about $1,000 for everything. (They were both still in college.) She and her mother used artificial flowers bought from Walmart. Also, the banquet hall for the church might be reasonable. To save on my wedding dress, I bought a sample model from a bridal shop. I paid $450 for a $1,300 dress (including alterations, bead replacement, and cleaning). No one believed the dress wasn't new. Hope this helps. , Susan, MD

Suzette FL : Re: Wedding on a budget. I too have been planning a wedding, and have found many great sites just by searching with the various search engines available. Try searching AOL or GOOGLE and specify "discount (wedding gowns, invitations, flowers, etc.)" I have even got a picture of how I want my hair done, and the style cake I'd like by using this wonderful feature! HTH, Nancy, GA

Wedding Ideas: When I got married, we printed our own invitations. We bought special software and got the cards and paper at Staples. They came out really nice! I think It cost me just under $150 for about 160 invitations. Much cheaper to do it yourself. We also made our favors very inexpensively. Candles in bell shaped holders wrapped in tulle. The best thing to do is shop around early enough so that you have the time to seek out deals. For example, I got the candle holders at Michael's on clearance. One bit of advice......just my opinion, but don't skimp on the photography. Good pictures that capture that day are worth every penny!, Bonnie, MA

Wedding on a budget : I was at a garage sale today and picked up a copy of the Tightwad Gazette for a quarter! anyway I was looking through it just before I logged on and it has some ideas for saving money on weddings Also, when I got married I bought my veil on clearance at a store (I would have gotten my wedding gown the same way except the clearanced discontinued sample ones were all too small) Mom and I did the reception food ourselves We were working on it the morning of the wedding , Judith, LA

cheap wedding ideas: please email me at knitwitt99@hotmail.com . Me and dh got married with a month to plan and my high school graduation 2 weeks away. Money was real tight and we catered and did everything our self. , Jennifer, TN

Suzette, FL - Wedding Help: If you have a Michael's arts & craft store near you, you may try getting a lot of things there using the 40% coupons that are often in the Sunday papers. They have blank wedding invitations. You could check on the cost of those (at 40% off, of course) and printing them yourself. They also have the supplies to make your own silk flower arrangements/bouquets, wedding veil, bows, etc. They have wedding bubbles and lots of tulle. You can get the candles there to decorate the tables, including the floating ones. , Susan, TX

Wedding on a Budget : Have a very dear friend who is getting married in August, and money is somewhat of a problem for them. Need some really great and inexpensive ideas that I can help her with, such as invitations, decorations, reception etc(wedding @ 6pm, reception @ 7pm). Are there any places where she might get some freebies or fabulous discounts. I am the Maid Of Honor and live over 200 miles away but really want this to be special for her even if it means me doing all the leg work. TIA, Suzette, FL

Favors: 1) My husband and I use this first idea for Christmas gifts in his large office, but it would work beautifully as a wedding favor idea, too. As a bonus, it would add to the decor without costing a fortune. We found an old-fashioned local bakery that makes beautifully decorated sugar cookies. They will tailor the order any way we wish. The normal price is $1 per cookie, but most bakeries offer a significant discount for larger orders. We place our order a few days ahead of time so the icing will have time to air-dry at the bakery. When ready, we slip each cookie into a small cellophane bag. (You can find plain treat bags as well as all sorts of decorative designs at craft, baking, or party stores.) The beautiful cookie is still visible inside the bag, and the bags normally come with color-coordinated ties. (Use pretty ribbon to tie shut if you prefer.) Last year we went a step further and created a list of recipients on our computer. Then we designed a pretty label with our holiday message and printed out personalized sticky labels with our computer. Each label had a holiday picture on it, along with a message like, "Happy Holidays *NAME* from Rebecca and Steve." We attached the labels to the bags BEFORE inserting the cookie and packaged them as usual. The cookies were a big hit because each was personalized with the recipient's name. That step isn't necessary, though. You can always create identical labels with a pretty design and a message from the bride and groom. If you're not comfortable with computer stuff, ask around. Personalized labels aren't difficult to create, and you probably already know a friend, neighbor, or relative who can easily help you set it up. Also, if you really want to cut costs, you can make the sugar cookies yourself. Baked cookies can be frozen ahead of time and thawed just in time to ice and decorate. Make it easy on yourself by glazing with a simple powdered-sugar glaze, sprinkling with tiny candies as desired, and allowing cookies to air dry until hard enough to survive bagging. You don't have to decorate like a pro. Simply decorated cookies will look great inside the printed bags. 2) An alternate idea for a little larger wedding or party favor is the Printscape Personalized Gift Bag made by 3M company (no, I don't have any connection!). Each kit comes with everything you need to make 5 small gift bags (about 5"x7") that you personalize on your computer. You simply add pictures, graphics, messages, etc., in whatever design you wish, then print on the special paper. You can print as many identical designs as you like. Assemble bags and fill with candy, cookies, a small candle, or whatever treats you wish. Your guests get to keep the goodies AND the message on the bag. 3) Especially if the bride and groom are moving into a new home together, consider creating "change of address" type favors. One way to do this is to use perforated business card stock (available at office supply stores) to create pretty "personal" business cards with their new address and phone number. At the same office supply stores, you should be able to find flexible magnets that are specially cut to the size of a business card. The magnets have adhesive on one side so you can easily attach your pretty business cards. Package the magnets any way you choose, and your guests will now have a handy way to keep up with the bride and groom's new information. Once again, if you're not comfortable with computers, there's an alternative. Most copy shops now offer very good prices on professionally printed cards and can have them done in a very short time. Just take them home, stick them on the magnets, and package them. 4) Finally, wide plastic champagne glasses can be found very cheaply at party stores. Gather a few pretty candies in a piece of tulle and tie shut with a pretty ribbon. Attach a message about "toasting" the couple, how "bubbly" they are, or their "sparkling" new life. Set a bag of candies into each champagne glass for a favor that adds to the table decor.

Here's an idea for a really unique wedding favor that I'm sure wouldn't cost much at all. One bride bought a stack of blank recordable CD's and recorded a ton of songs that were favorites of her and her husband.  (mostly love songs).  Then she scanned some images onto squares of her and her groom as children and made the CD "cover" that she slipped into the CD jewel boxes.  The result was a homemade CD as a favor for each wedding guest.  I don't think this would cost much to do.  With rebates, you can probably get the CDs and jewel boxes really cheaply, and with a little creativity, you can do a nice job of making up the artwork.  Just a thought. Tami Anderson