smart spending

Frugal $ense: Save big on your wedding

There's no reason a wedding should put you in debt. This month's Frugal $ense winner saved thousands on her big day by applying a few simple tricks, and she was happy with the way it turned out.

September's Frugal $ense winner: Kristen Talbot
Kristen Talbot won $100 for submitting the following tip:

Don't pay too much for wedding expenses
"When planning a wedding, simply call it a "party" or an "event" whenever possible while booking venues, scheduling hairdressing and buying flowers. As soon as you mention the "W" word, the price for the same goods and services can go up by 50 percent or more. For example, the woman who styled my hair charges more than double the price for the same hairstyle if it involves a wedding party. When I was looking for accessories, I found that the same pretty accessories cost one-quarter of the price when purchased in the craft store located three stores down from the bridal shop. The simple white satin gown I wore was 10 percent of the price that it would have been had I purchased it as a wedding dress. Starting out married life with extra money in your bank account is great!"
-- Kristen Talbot, of Port Orange, Fla.

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Bankrate.com: How did you figure this out?

Kristen Talbot: I was looking at a lot of different magazines and publications and things like that when I was preparing for the wedding. When I was looking for my dress, I found a lot of things that looked like wedding dresses but weren't, and I found that there was a huge price discrepancy. (My husband's suit actually cost more than my entire outfit.) And when I started talking to different places to hold the wedding, I found out that the price for an event was different from the price for a wedding. Supposedly, the excuse is that people drink more at weddings, which is not necessarily the case.

Bankrate.com: Did you do anything else to save money at your wedding?

Kristen Talbot: I did that and a lot of other things, too. I bought my accessories in a craft store instead of the bridal shop. I made the wedding cake. I had taken some cake-decorating classes and I know what I make is better. So we were happy with the way things turned out.

Bankrate.com: How much do you think you saved overall?

Kristen Talbot: Several thousand dollars. Things really do add up. Of course, you can't always get away with saying it's a party or an event. When buying flowers, they insisted on knowing if it was a wedding.

Bankrate.com: So in the end, were you happy with the way everything turned out?

Kristen Talbot: Definitely. But something always goes wrong with a wedding. We got married barefoot. After all of the planning, we had everything right. Then my husband and I arrived and went to change. I was wondering what was taking him so long. He had forgotten his dress shoes. So I just took off my shoes and we went down the aisle in bare feet. I married the man I loved and that's the important thing, whether we were barefoot or not.

Bankrate.com: Do you do anything else to save money or be frugal?

Kristen Talbot: We've had to for a little while. A few months back, my husband lost his job, so we've really had to cut back. We still do the things that we like to do. We still have date night. He looks for movie tickets online to find a good deal. And we either go out to eat or to a movie -- we rarely do both. I'm cooking at home a lot more, and my husband likes it better.

News alert Do you have a frugal tip? You could win $100 for your tip. Submit it here!

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