How to Be a Budget-Conscious Bride in 2011

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The recession may have put an end to many elaborate wedding plans, but young brides have come up with some cost-cutting measures that are creative and tech-friendly.

Forget something borrowed and something blue. More young brides today are going brand-new and Bluetooth.

Last week, the David’s Bridal chain released its fifth annual What’s on Brides’ Minds survey. And wow, how the times have changed in half a decade. As late as 2008, the survey of engaged women showed the Internet was simply “a wonderful planning tool and a great time-saver” for everything from comparison shopping for invitations to making honeymoon reservations.

But this year, some brides have no reservations about “a paperless wedding invitation.” And after the wedding, they’re using social media to spread the word. Nearly half – 48 percent – updated their Facebook with their new relationship status or new married name or within a day of saying “I do.” And 44 percent are posting snippets of their ceremony on YouTube, “like a choreographed dance down the aisle or first dance.”

So much for expensive wedding photo albums.

“Today’s bride may still be budget-conscious, but that’s not stopping her from revamping past traditions to create the one-of-a-kind wedding she’s always dreamed about,” says Brian Beitler, chief marketing officer for David’s Bridal.

How are they doing that? Beitler counts the ways…

1. Less is more: “Nearly 9 in 10 brides (89 percent) have considered having a small wedding, with 80 percent  saying their reason for considering the smaller ceremony is to save money.” How small is small? “80 percent  of brides-to-be believe a small wedding is 50 guests or less and almost half (44 percent) define it as a wedding with 30 or fewer guests.”

2. Nontraditional is much cheaper: “40 percent would marry outside a church or synagogue in a non-religious setting, and two-thirds have considered having a family member or friend deliver their vows.” Other traditions they’d love to leave at the altar: wedding speeches (37 percent don’t like them), wearing white (25 percent), and choosing something old, new, borrowed, and blue (22 percent).’

3. Do it yourself: “Of those who had to reduce their budgets, 61 percent said the wedding planner was the first to go, followed by decor (59 percent) and venue (57 percent).” But one item not on the chopping block? “Brides identified alcohol as the least likely to be affected by budget cuts.”

Almost half of the couples surveyed – 45 percent – said their wedding budget is under $10,000. And in a bit of good news for economic sanity,  24 percent of couples said their goal was “saving money to go towards a down payment on a house” instead of blowing it on an over-the-top wedding.’

And if you still don’t think the younger generation has its priorities straight, here’s a final shocking nugget of news from the survey…

“While watching wedding reality shows may be a guilty pleasure of brides, 69 percent said they’d never let their wedding be featured on a controversial reality show in order to save money.”

Now that’s something to say “I do” to. How about you? If there are wedding bells in your future, what will your budget be?

Here are some stories we’ve done that might help you save when you tie the knot…

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Stacy Johnson

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