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Brides are rethinking their wedding budgets this year

by Linda Miller Modified: May 15, 2013 at 5:07 pm •  Published: January 20, 2009

In a perfect world, every bride would be able to have her dream wedding regardless of cost. In the real world, that doesn’t happen often.  Budget almost always figures into the picture and it plays an even bigger role when the economy is lousy.

Here’s some information from a David’s Bridal survey. It’s a bit long, but if you’re planning a wedding, read on:

With nearly a quarter of couples becoming engaged between Thanksgiving and New Years, the beginning of the year marks the period known as “Bridal Christmas.” Many women may be starting 2009 with a ring on their finger, but less cash in their wallets. While the uncertain economy will not stop couples determined to tie the knot, it is causing them to rethink their spending habits – especially when it comes to wedding planning.According to the annual “What’s on Brides’ Minds” survey, conducted by Infosurv, Inc. for David’s Bridal,  three-quarters (75%) of brides-to-be admit that they will have to make adjustments to their wedding budget as a result of the economic climate. About one quarter plan to cut their budget in half and one in ten said their budget had dropped more than 75%. Over half (53%) of respondents do not plan to spend more than $25,000 on their big day, while a little over one third (34%) said they plan to spend $10,000 or less. As a sign of the times, aside from their wedding, paying off debts (77%) was noted as couples’ top economic priority.“Brides always strive to create the perfect wedding day without spending a fortune; it is simply more pronounced due to the state of the economy,” said Robert Huth, president and CEO of David’s Bridal.

For brides-to-be getting ready to take the plunge in 2009, David’s Bridal offers these tips to help them personalize and plan their wedding day without breaking the bank:

Engage in Chiconomics: Be a Smart Shopper

In these challenging economic times, brides should create a spending plan to identify where they want to splurge and where they feel they can spend more cautiously. The survey revealed that the first area that brides-to-be would be willing to adjust is the number of guests (45%), followed by the wedding cuisine (45%). When asked what items they refuse to compromise on, the top responses were wedding bands (45%) and, not surprisingly, their wedding dress (37%).

While the perfect wedding dress may be where future brides are willing to put their money, if there is less of it, spending wisely is key. Fifty-five percent of brides surveyed said they plan to spend no more than $600 on the bridal gown of their dreams. To stay within budget, it’s a good idea to shop at a bridal store that offers wedding attire and accessories for the bride and entire bridal party to save both time and money. Brides-to-be should also look for bridal stores that offer discounts on additional products and services, including financing options, layaway programs or proprietary credit cards that have same as cash terms.

Consider Going Green: Eco-Friendly Weddings Can Be Wallet-Friendly, Too

This year’s survey revealed that many future brides have a “green” side and are concerned with preserving the environment. While 45% of those surveyed said they are making an effort to be environmentally conscious, many do not realize that eco-friendly practices are also great ways to save cash. Brides can plan an earth-friendly wedding and help keep costs down for friends and family by selecting bridesmaid dresses that can actually be worn again (re-use is a cornerstone of going green) –whether for another function or with ballerina flats and a cardigan for a date night– or encourage their bridesmaids to choose a flattering dress in the wedding color scheme. Almost two-thirds of respondents (59%) said they were planning on one of these options, to ensure that bridesmaids are happy with –and reuse– their dresses. For wedding invitations, if a bride-to-be wants a traditional style to mail, she may want to look for green options, including those made of 100% recycled paper or natural cotton fibers filled with wildflower seeds.

Don’t Compromise Personal Style for Budget: It’s All About You

Buying a wedding dress is a big decision, and with limited funds brides-to-be need to make the smartest choice. The key is to find a gown that fits the budget and the bride’s style preference. Brides should look for a bridal retailer that offers gowns that are fashion-forward and affordable because they can have both. Beyond the dress, it’s important for brides to create their own unique style for their big day, which is easy with the right bridal accessories. From colorful sashes to distinctive crystal brooches and delicate veils, brides have an array of options from which to choose when tailoring their look to complement their personal style. A beautiful piece of family jewelry can also be passed down through the generations as a meaningful heirloom.

Buyer Beware: Look for a Partner You Can Trust

With the declining economy, an added concern has recently surfaced among the newly engaged – trusting that a bridal shop and designer they choose will be able to deliver. Nearly half of brides surveyed (46%) are concerned that their bridal boutique may go out of business. In light of this, brides should choose a reputable partner that has a solid record. When smaller bridal shops close their doors due to the economy, they often leave brides stranded without their deposit or gown – a significant blow to a wedding budget. To further ease concerns, brides may want to choose a bridal store that allows you to try on a dress in their size and take it home the same day.

When it comes to selecting “The One,” while friends and family tend to most frequently dish wedding advice, brides should not forget to take advantage of the resources at the store where they purchase their gown. Bridal consultants are a great source of information, providing knowledgeable insight into the quality, fit and design of all gowns. They are also most familiar with the inventory and may suggest a gown that a bride may not have considered.

Explore the Internet: Surf, Shop & Share Online

The Internet can serve as a very useful tool for wedding planning, so couples should compare costs and look for sales in this tough economy. There are several online bridal retailers that offer valuable services to help brides create a seamless wedding day, so couples should do their homework ahead of time. The web also makes it a cinch to get the opinions of loved ones. Surprisingly, only 23% of brides-to-be reported using social networking sites to poll their friends and family about wedding day elements, but as expected, sites like MySpace and Facebook were the most popular.

Savor the Moment: A Wedding is a Once in a Lifetime Occasion

While planning a wedding in today’s economy can be challenging, a little research and smart shopping goes a long way. Brides should try not to get too caught up in the planning process and remember that a wedding is a joyous occasion to celebrate. When it comes down to it, no matter what the budget, once a bride has met her match, she’s already rich in love!


by Linda Miller
Fashion Blogger (Contributor)
Linda Miller always has loved makeup and fashion, especially shoes and handbags. She admits to owning more lipsticks and glosses than many makeup artists, but she's not giving up a single tube. When she got the opportunity to move from...
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