Our Wedding, Our Way: Wedding or Bust!

By Melissa Tussing CTW Features Published: January 21, 2010
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The story of two kids tying the knot fresh out of college is hardly new. But in the midst of a rough economy, the story is becoming more complicated. For two doe-eyed couples, planning a 2010 wedding has meant sacrifice, persistence and a healthy dose of DIY.



The Couples
Hillary Sowatsky, 21, and Jeff Hentschel, 23: Hillary and Jeff met as students at Northwestern University. Jeff graduated in June 2009 and started working for Ford Motor Company in Detroit; Hillary will graduate a quarter early in March 2010. The future Mr. And Mrs. Hentschel will tie the knot on April 10, 2010 at Hillary’s home church in suburban St. Louis.

Alyssa Derose, 21, and Zach Gaidar, 22: Alyssa and Zach began dating in high school and attended Western Illinois University together. The future Mr. and Mrs. Gaidar will exchange vows on Oct. 1, 2010, at Prairie Crossing in Grayslake, Ill., an outdoor venue with a barn and a gazebo.

SETTING THE DATE
Alyssa and Zach initially planned to get married in April 2011. “It just seemed so far away,” Alyssa said. “We didn’t know what would be going on in our lives so far away from now.”

To save money, the couple decided to hold their wedding on a Friday. “It cuts the cost in half,” Alyssa said. “It’s the same with hotographers, going to DJs, anything like that.”

But that decision poses its own challenges. Some guests have offered to take the day to help the couple set up. Others have said they can’t attend because they can’t take the day off of work. Alyssa’s main concern is that her rehearsal dinner is on a Thursday.

“We’re probably going to use the rehearsal dinner, instead of having more family, as just the wedding party,” Alyssa said.

Hillary and Jeff decided to get married in April to catch the end of the wedding off-season. But Hillary said she’s already noticed venues booking up more quickly than usual.

FINALIZING THE GUEST LIST
The easiest way to cut money is to cut the guest list, Hillary said. “If you cut one table, that’s 10 meals, linens, the centerpiece, invitations for everyone and various other stationery and favors,” she said.

For Alyssa and Zach, cutting down the list quickly turned to cutting down on invited family members. Alyssa’s dad is one of 10 children; Zach’s mom is one of six. “We definitely had to cut people out,” Alyssa said. “We cut out the younger cousins. We just invited our age.”

A huge priority for Hillary and Jeff has been to create an environment that can include more people even if the theme is less extravagant. “When I got engaged, I knew it was more important to me to have everyone there that I want to have there,” Hillary said.

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What are you doing to save money?

Here’s what the young brides had to say:
Get Married in the Off-Season:
• “[April is] a much more popular month this year,” Hillary said. “The main advice for brides looking to save money is getting married in an off-season month.”

Have the Wedding on a Friday:
• “It cuts the cost in half,” Alyssa said.

Keep the Guest List Trim:
• “We’re probably going to use the rehearsal dinner, instead of having more family, as just the wedding party,” Alyssa said. • “If you cut one table, that’s 10 meals, linens, the centerpiece, invitations for everyone nd various other stationary and favors,” Hillary said.

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