Weddings on a Budget

By Ashley Swann - bio | email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The tough economy is having an impact on just about every industry. That includes weddings. Even the most dreamy-eyed couples are scaling back plans to make their big day more affordable.

From shortening guest lists, to enlisting the help of friends & family. Many couples are finding creative ways to save on their dream day.

It was love at first sight for high school sweethearts Stacy & Domonic Fontana. So when the time finally came to say "I do," Stacy says she wanted the pomp and circumstance.

"It was kind of hard at first, because I really wanted the big gown and all that glitz and glamour," said Stacy.

But with a young daughter and the uncertain economy, Stacy and Domonic say they quickly realized the need to be realistic.

"Pretty scary. You don't know whether you're going to have a job so you have to plan accordingly," she said.

That meant setting a strict budget and sticking to it.

"I didn't want to go over $5,000," Stacy said.

May not sound like a lot compared to the nearly $22,000 dollars spent on the average wedding in 2008. But Birkdale Country Club Manager Jenn McPhee says weddings on a budget are the new norm.

"It's very common, very common (and) it's getting more common," said McPhee.

She says couples shouldn't feel bad about scaling back their celebrations.

"I always say when you go to a wedding, what do you remember? You remember the music, you remember the food and you remember if you had fun. You don't remember a lot of the little details that cost a lot of money," McPhee said.

When it comes to cutting costs, McPhee says the guest list is the first place to start. Stacy and Domonic trimmed there's to 70.

"We want it to be really intimate," said Stacy.

The couple decided on heavy hors d'oeuvre with a cash bar & a champagne toast. They also worked out deals with friends and family for flowers & photography. And learned how to bargain with other vendors, like the DJ.

Stacy even found a creative & affordable solution to the dress of her dreams.

"It's actually not a wedding dress, it's a bridesmaids dress, but it looks like a wedding dress," said Stacy.

When it came down to it, Stacy and Domonic's goal was simple.

"I just want everyone to have a good old time."

And by keeping the details simple, Mr. and Mrs. Fontana got their dream day without breaking the bank.

"I wouldn't change a thing, having friends and family. It was awesome."

For more tips on planning an affordable wedding, click here.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.