smart spending

5 clever ways to save on your wedding

Use nontraditional retailers
Use nontraditional retailers © iStock

Use nontraditional retailers

Buy your wedding rings at Costco? Fields says that warehouse stores sell more than just pallets of canned tuna and paper towels; they are also a great source for rings, cakes, favors and flowers. "It doesn't sound very romantic to buy an engagement ring at Costco, but who cares? It's a diamond engagement ring. It looks very nice, and it's 30 percent less than it would be at a retail jewelry store," he says.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are micro-vendors, artisans and craftsmen who sell their rings, headpieces and invitations directly to couples through sites like Etsy, often at a fraction of what major retailers charge.

Once again, the key is to avoid stores that cater to bridal couples. Many brides have discovered that buying their wedding dress from everyday retailers like Ann Taylor and J.Crew means paying hundreds, rather than thousands, for the garment. One Seattle bride bought an ivory dress at a shop that catered to bridesmaids and mothers -- it was across the street from a high-end bridal shop -- and paid less than $200. "Add a veil and you'd never know it was not a wedding gown!" she says.

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