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Brides Can Be Cheap, But Not Tacky

Today my partner sent me this article to post on our blog. It's very good for the Recessionista Bride!
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(OPRAH.com) -- Planning the celebration of a lifetime during the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression is a daunting task, so it's no secret that many brides are cutting back. The average amount a couple is spending on their wedding this year is down more than $5,000 from 2008, theweddingreport.com estimates.

There are ways to hold a wedding without breaking the bank or breaking etiquette rules.

Etiquette author and expert Anna Post, the great-great-granddaughter of queen of correct behavior Emily Post, assures brides that thriftiness is tasteful. "It's okay to cut back right now," she says. "Economizing isn't something to apologize for so long as you're not doing something that's hurtful to your guests."
Still, there are a few cutbacks Post suggests you avoid. "I don't like seeing cash bars," she says. "I find that inconsiderate to your guests." Other don'ts: Asking guests to help pay for wedding costs on the registry and inviting guests to the shower but not the wedding.
Here are some unique (and Emily Post--approved) ways to save:
Think outside the cake
A large wedding cake can run hundreds of dollars. Add in the delivery and cake-cutting fees, and your confection may burst your budget.

As an alternative, the bride and groom of a wedding Post attended in Vermont opted against tradition and created a make-your-own sundae bar.
"So instead of cutting the cake, they had 'the first scoop,'" she says. "Everybody there had a great time with that."

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The Center of Attention
When choosing the flowers for your centerpieces, Post says to always choose blooms that are in season. For a big display on a small budget, more greenery and fewer flowers will give you the look you want for less.
Or, keep the display simple with a single statement-making flower. "I went to a wonderful wedding for a friend of mine who was from Hawaii. They did one beautiful, huge stargazer lily in the middle of each table," she says. "It was very fragrant, and there were about 20 tables, so 20 lilies are not incredibly expensive."
Oprah.com: How to make your own floral arrangements
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Recycle, reuse
At a friend's recent wedding, Post says she was one of the last people to leave the church and noticed the bride's family taking the flower arrangements from the ceremony to be reused at the reception. "I love flowers and I hate the thought of them going to waste, so I thought this was a great idea."

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Digital don't
E-mail invitations are fine for shower or bachelorette parties, but weddings are a different story.
"Even if you're having a really casual wedding, I think -- call me old-fashioned -- this is such a huge day in your life that you don't want to send the wrong message to your guests -- that you don't take it seriously." We may live in an online world, but Post says the printed invitation will never die.
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Let's eat
When it comes to food, your guests' expectations will be high -- but that doesn't mean you have to serve filet mignon. "There are fabulous things chefs can do with pork, chicken and with fish," she says. Serving your menu buffet-style will also cost less than a plated dish.
A past trend that Post likes is the wedding breakfast or wedding brunch, which Emily Post wrote about in her first etiquette book published in 1922."This could be a great tradition to revive and could save a little bit of money," she says. "I'm starting to hear about it more again."
If you're set on an evening affair, Post says there is nothing wrong with a hors d'oeuvre and cake-only reception. "This has always been okay," she says. "It's safe to say that most people want to treat their guests to a wonderful day. If this is the way they can afford it, I think it's the absolute right choice."
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Cheers
If you are serving alcohol at your wedding, Post says it's better to save by limiting the choices, not the amount. "It's okay not to have hard alcohol. You could serve champagne, you could serve red wine, you could serve a signature drink," she says. Just please skip the drink tickets. "If you want to limit, limit what's available to people rather than charging them for it or rationing it out ticket by ticket."
Post says to remember that budget cuts are nothing to worry about as long as you keep your guests in mind. "When it comes to etiquette, for me and this was the same for Emily Post, weddings are very much about the people in your life."
Oprah.com: How to throw a party on a budget

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