Budget Brides: Planning a Wedding During a Recession

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Before these brides-to-be at the Beginnings Bridal Fashion Show and Expo on Sunday head down the aisle, they're taking a look at what's on the runway—All while keeping their eyes on their budget.

"Cheap and easy," says one bride, summing up her wedding vision.

Some are just starting the planning process.

"We have the place and the dress and the flowers and that's it," says Colleen Diener, who is getting married in September.

Others who are closer to the finishing the plans of their big day are giving their advice on how to cut costs.

"We got a deal on that because we're doing it on a holiday,” says Rachel Hoppenworth, who is planning her nuptials around a Labor Day deal in 2010. “So we get that hall for free."

Most brides say while they aren't willing to trim back on the dress, or cut the guest list, they are willing to cut back on other things.

"My dad has 14 other brothers and sisters, my mom's mom has 12 other brothers and sisters, so our guest list is between like 400 and 500,” says Hannah Moen. “We’re doing no cake and maybe going with ice cream.”

Cake makers say the big trend is individual-sized desserts.

"It takes the place of the gift you give at the end of the party, it takes away from the individual cake cutting cost, and you've got your cake covered, so it's a 3-in-1 package," says Tiffany Gutsche from Buttercream Cakes.

And florists say they've seen brides cut back on reception decorations.

"It will save them money by renting glassware and maybe some silk flowers and things like that," says Mary Jo Mattern, owner of Chippewa Valley Floral.

But Moen and her fiancé Dustin Haugle says they've got a few other strategies up their sleeves.

"I have all sorts of aunts who have been looking at thrift sales which are a great thing, what are you going to do with 20 candles that look all alike after your wedding?" says Moen.

"Also utilize the skills that are in your family, because people could be able to help you out and it’s something they might want to do, too,” says Haugle.

All the brides—and grooms—we spoke to today say planning as far in advance as possible is key, as well as shopping around for the best deals.

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