I’m always about saving money, so it was quite frightening when my daughter told me she was getting married. I wanted to save where I could, but I didn’t want to be cheap. Most of all, I wanted to give her the wedding of her dreams! I know: wedding costs can be astronomical! I found out: they don’t have to be. Here’s how we saved:


Thankfully, my daughter is not extravagant, but still the dress had me worried. After watching those bridal TV shows, I knew that wedding dresses could cost more than my car!

We went shopping and she tried on dresses. We explored renting, buying from a huge mail-order bridal website, and even buying from Craigslist. Nothing seemed to work, and we were still trying to stay under $300, if possible.

Then I got an epiphany in the middle of the night (which is when all good epiphanies seem to come). Maybe there is a shop that sells bridesmaid dresses in white floor length that could also act as a wedding dress for less. BINGO!

Gateway Bridal and Prom, in Salt Lake City, Utah (also online) sells 43 of their bridesmaid dresses in either floor length or tea length. All of the dresses are around $200. Wow! You can choose which fabric you like best (chiffon, satin, silk, or taffeta–luxe or low shimmer) in any of the styles. And you can try them on before you order if you’re near.

About 8 weeks before her wedding we were able to get a Rush Shipping on the dress and a nice garment bag for just under $250.


We found a bridal sash that we loved on etsy, but it wasn’t wide enough and again, too pricey–over $200! The sash was made of Alencon lace attached to double-faced satin ribbon. Another epiphany: make it yourself. I was able to find the lace on etsy and the long satin ribbon on ebay for about $35 total. I just hand-sewed the the lace (and believe me, I am no seamstress!) onto the ribbon and it was perfectly gorgeous.


To save money in this arena, we took the term “Do It Yourself” one step further. We let the bridesmaids choose their dresses (or skirt and blouse outfits) themselves from either something they already owned or something they’d like to buy that they would continue to wear again and again.

My daughter told her friends and her sisters what colors she wanted (coral, yellow and beige) and the style she liked (casual dresses or skirts were fine). And they each found what worked for them. The bridesmaids were able to shop sales without having to find something that matched everyone else in all the right sizes. And they were able to buy outfits that they loved and will wear many times after the wedding (which is really what value is all about, isn’t it? Buying something that you need and will use!) They even chose their own shoes, which I think turned out really cute!

With these few money-saving strategies, she was able to have the wedding of her dreams. And I was able to breathe easy knowing my budget was still intact!

This is a guest post by Renee from Scotts Valley, CA
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