How to Have a Beautiful Wedding on a Budget

March 3, 2009 11:02:51 AM PST
The number one wedding trend this year is not a color or a dress style. It's that many engaged couples are scaling back the size or cost of their weddings. According to the Wedding Report , 30% of couples, surveyed recently, say they are shouldering the wedding expenses themselves; 80% say they are affected by the current economic state and must scale back. But budget-minded brides can still have beautiful weddings, says Stacey Senechalle, one of the owners of White Chicago, the upscale bridal re-sale store at 222 W. Huron, Chicago. Here are some tips for beating the economy without sacrificing style:

Once-Wed Gown - purchase a once-wed "off-the-rack" gown to save anywhere from 30-70% off the retail price, plus you get designer w/o the designer price tag. White Chicago ( is a good place to start looking for a once-wed dress. You can also shop at the third annual Brides Against Breast Cancer sale on March 20 and 21 in Mount Prospect, where you'll find gently used gowns, priced from $99 to $799; nearly new designer gowns are priced up to $2499.

Borrow your friend's veil or take her veil and "restyle" it to make it your own
Dive into your grandma's jewelry box: Wear something "borrowed" and don a vintage brooch, earrings or hair clip.

Don't buy white shoes: Opt for shoes that you can after the wedding and go with other colors including ivory and metallics such as silver, antique bronze or gold.

Cupcakes Anyone? - opt for a "cupcake cake" instead of a traditional cake; this is becoming increasingly popular even at extravagant weddings.
For example, Swirlz Cupcakes can provide a 3-tiered cupcake cake consisting of regular-sized and mini cupcakes that a typical bride would order for a wedding of approximately 100 guests. There will be 100 mini-cupcakes and 6 regular sized cupcakes. This cupcake cake will be priced at $130 plus tax. You can save even more money by picking it up yourself. Save the delivery charge of $25 in Chicago; suburban deliveries may be more. For more information, visit Swirlz website

Carry a single stem instead of a bouquet: A simple, elegant single stem can make just as strong a statement as a large bouquet.

Down-size your bouquet For example, Floral designers at Fleur suggest a fluffy, petite cluster of hydrangeas with curled ti leaves; it is priced at $25 per bouquet. Hydrangeas will range in color from ivory, powder blue, deeper blue, varying shades of pink, chartreuse, lavender and antique green.

Go Green: Brides can forgo the flowers altogether and carry a lush cluster of greenery, which is much less expensive and makes an organic statement. For example, Fleur designers can create a nosegay of greenery using ferns, lemon leaf and seeded eucalyptus; it is perfect for a natural look and green compliments almost any color of a bridesmaid bouquet. The price is $35. For more information, visit Fleur's website

Brides Against Breast Cancer 3rd Annual Dress Drive: Fight Breast Cancer with your Wedding Gown

Is your wedding gown hanging in the closet or taking up space underneath your bed? Find a home for your beloved gown and support a worthy cause at the same time. Throughout the month of March, White Chicago will be collecting gowns for donation to the non-profit foundation Making Memories for its Brides Against Breast Cancer National Tour of Gowns. For this dress drive, White Chicago and Making Memories need contemporary-style gowns, slips and veils that are less than 7 years old. Also, a copy of a tag or a receipt is helpful, as this will assist in pricing the dress and/or accessory for resale. Due to the extensive inventory of vintage, antique and retro gowns, please do not donate dresses that were designed before 2000.

These gowns will be sold in the third annual Brides Against Breast Cancer Sale in suburban Mount Prospect on March 20 ? 21. Money raised at the dress sale will enable Making Memories to grant wishes to breast cancer patients. Last year, White Chicago and its brides donated over 70 wedding gowns, worth $220,000, to Brides Against Breast Cancer and hope to double that amount this year. You can drop off dresses at White Chicago, 222 W. Huron, Chicago through March 19. For more information, call 312.397-1571 or visit

The selection - one of the largest assembled in the U.S. - will include hundreds of current styles from a long list of well-known designers and manufacturers. Veils, crinolines and other accessories will also be offered. In sizes ranging from 2 to 44, gowns in the collection have been donated by members of the bridal industry; some are runway samples, modeled at recent bridal shows. Others are gifts from individuals across the country. Most gowns have been marked down 40% to 75% below traditional salon prices. Prices range from $99 to $799 for values to $3,500. A collection of Designer and Couture bridals retailing up to $8,000 will also be included, with none priced higher than $2,499.

Admission for the sale is free. Cash and Credit Cards will be accepted for payment.

The Brides Against Breast Cancer Sale brings instant help for brides on budgets. It allows them to purchase dream dresses, at affordable prices, while supporting others who are struggling to cope in a time of great sadness. The Chicago BABC event is, "win-win" situation for budget-conscious shoppers committed to fighting the battle against breast cancer.

Despite significant advances in research, Breast Cancer remains the number one cancer killer of women between the ages of 15 and 54, leaving thousands of small children without mothers and young husbands to raise families on their own. There are currently 2.8 million women diagnosed with breast cancer in America and the number is increasing rapidly. Most everyone, a family member or friend, has been touched by breast cancer in some way.

Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation is a recognized non-profit organization under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information please visit our website at or call 503.491.8091.

Brides Against Breast Cancer Sale
Friday, March 20, 10 am - 8 pm
Saturday, March 21, 10 am - 6 pm
Victoria in the Park
1700 S. Elmhurst Road, Mount Prospect
For more information, visit or