These days, the typical wedding is anything but cheap. After all, for most people, it is one of the most important days of their lives. Still, finding ways to keep the costs down is a noble endeavor. Here are some tips from folks across the country.
DRESS DUTY. I was going to take my daughter's wedding dress to the dry cleaner, when I read the tags. It was made of 100 percent polyester, making it 100 percent washable. I placed the dress in a large net bag, used gentle detergent in cold water and washed it in the washing machine. I even dried it for four minutes on a medium setting in the dryer. Then I hung it up to finish drying. It came out beautifully. Since then, it has been worn two more times by friends. Each time it is washed, it comes out looking as if it just came off the rack. -- Faylee J., Tennessee
BRIDE'S BLOOM. When I got married, money was tight. Because my wedding was in mid-October, I purchased potted mums in my wedding colors for less than $5 each. Wrapped in beautiful paper and ribbon, they dressed the altar. Afterward, I planted them in my garden. Twenty years later, I have a beautiful reminder of our wedding day when those mums bloom on our anniversary. -- Kathy, Iowa
WEDDING WOES. I work at a photo lab. Here's a scene I've encountered many times: A happy bride pops in with 25 single-use cameras that she put on the tables at her reception. The wedding photographer was only at the church for formal photos, so she counted on guests to take photos at the reception. She hoped for great candid shots of the event. Instead, children played with the cameras as toys, so she got floor shots and heads cut. I've had brides in tears because it was such a waste of money. Disappointment is the norm. There are other ways to save on photography. Brides should cut the cost of the wedding in ways that won't sacrifice the pictures she will treasure in years to come! -- Janice B., New York
PICTURE-PERFECT. When shopping for photographers for my wedding, I contacted the publications department at a university with which I am associated. I was looking for a photography student who might photograph my wedding on the side. As it turned out, the man who does the photography for the university's publications also does weddings. He charged me $200 for two hours. Then he gave me the rolls of film and let me do what I wanted with them. Today he would have given me a CD with the digital files. I took the film to a local camera shop and had it developed. In total, it cost less than $300. -- Nancy C., e-mail
Mary Hunt's column, "Everyday Cheapskate," can be found at creators.com.