She knows how to have her dream wedding for a fraction of the average cost

The Recessionista Bride

by Christina Friedrichsen

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Move over bridezilla. There's a new bride in town. She's turning the big, fat, expensive white wedding on its head. And she's not letting the gloomy economy get in her way. She's a recessionista bride.

A recessionista bride is smart and savvy. She knows how to have a fabulous wedding for only a fraction of the $30,000 that the so-called average bride spends. How?

  • A Small Guest List - A recessionista bride scales back her guest list. She invites only the people who matter to her. If she hasn't seen her friend Sally Nevercalls in five years, chances are that she's not on the guest list. And she doesn't invite people simply out of obligation. (Just because she was invited to her hairdresser's wedding last year doesn't mean she has to return the favor.) Co-workers and distant relatives are often left off of the list.
  • DIY Wedding - With a few clicks of the mouse, a recessionista bride learns how to make everything from centerpieces for her reception to favors for her DIY wedding. And if she's not the crafty type, she sources out the projects to friends and family or she posts her projects on Etsy's Alchemy, a site that connects buyers with artisans who meet requests for custom items.
  • Haggling - A recessionista bride saves money by negotiating with vendors. She realizes that vendors are hungrier for clients than they were last year, and she's not afraid to ask them for a better price or to throw in a few extras.
  • Flexibility - A recessionista bride knows that Saturday evening is the most sought after timeslot for a wedding and the most expensive, so she's willing to have her wedding on a Friday night, Sunday, or even during the week.
  • Second-hand - She scours Craigslist, eBay and Kijiji for gently-used wedding items. If she's into the vintage look, she'll check out the wedding dresses on sites such as She also uses Craigslist to seek out photographers, bartenders and other wedding professionals who are willing to work within her budget. (She's a savvy bride who always checks out references and runs fast if she detects even the slightest hint of unprofessionalism.)
  • Prioritizing - A recessionista bride knows her priorities. She splurges only on the things that really matter to her. If she's a foodie and a decadent meal is important to her, then she's willing to cut back on wedding items that made her "b" list. That might mean she uses an iPod instead of a deejay, or prints her own invitations instead of having custom letterpress stationery.
  • Resourcefulness - She makes use of the many talents among her relatives and circle of friends. If her aunt is a piano player, she'll ask her to play at the wedding ceremony. If her sister-in-law is a graphic designer, she'll hire her to design the invitations. A recessionista bride realizes that getting her loved ones involved will not only cut costs, but also it will maker her wedding more meaningful.

Christina Friedrichsen is the author of Intimate Weddings: Planning a Small Wedding that Fits Your Budget and Style and owner of, a website dedicated to small weddings. The site has a wedding venue finder that lists more than 1,300 small wedding venues throughout North America as well as articles about planning a small wedding.

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