• Bargain Thursday: Wedding Strategies


    A popular magazine features photo spreads from dream weddings of the rich and famous. But when a local television reporter gets married, you can learn a lot.

    Lauren Lee is a tenacious reporter on FOX13. After she became engaged last fall, Lauren used her reporter skills to find the least expensive way to have a dream wedding.

    Lauren is frugal. But she wants a fabulous wedding on a budget of about $10,000. She says the best advice "is to find two things really important to you. Spend money on those two things and do everything else as cheaply as you can." For Lauren and her fiancé, Cole Giovannetti, that means the music and the party!

    She spent less than a dollar each on fancy invitations by buying them from Costco. Lauren found her designer gown in a Chicago resale store. She paid $50 for a dress that still had tags on it, and a retail cost of about $2000. "$2000 compared to $50? A savings of about $1500," she said. "That's how much our band is going to cost! That cost is wiped out."

    If you buy resale, make sure the gown has never been altered. Check the fabric for stains. And, don't let a little "hem dust" sway you. You can have that cleaned and the dress will look as good as new.

    Flowers are typically a major expense in a wedding budget. Lauren is spending a total of $200. She bought in bulk from Costco. The flowers will be delivered to her wedding site and family and friends will assemble them in vases they are donating for the event. Other friends are donating paper lanterns, candles, and other decorations.

    Lauren and Cole are getting married on the Gulf Coast. She has spent $150 on invitations, $50 for the dress, and $200 for the flowers. That leaves about $9600 for everything else: the band, the site for the ceremony and reception, and food for 150 people.

    No regrets, and no debts; a good way to start a new life together.

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