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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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wedding planning

We have a great week covering the basics of savings on weddings! To finish off the week, I’m going to share the real wedding of a Southern Savers reader, Ellen.

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This is her story:

We got married Oct 2014 for about $4,000 total. This included venue, flowers, reception, clothing for bride/groom/wedding party/two dads, all of it, even photography.

We purchased suits from JcPenney during a suit sale combined with discounted gift cards from cardpool.com and/or raise.com. Bridesmaid dresses came from JcPenney as well on sale for $28 plus some sort of coupon and a discounted gift card.

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Our photographer was about $,1000 for 6 hours plus engagement pictures were our free military discount.

My dress was a bridesmaid dress ordered in ivory from Pearl’s Place in LA. As a general rule if you order by phone you get a discount for not needing to take up their consultants time. You need a style number, designer, and your measurements. My dress was $151 shipped.

Since we outfitted the bridal party we did not buy gifts. Their gift was a suit or a dress. At least one of my bridesmaids has already worn her dress two other times (throw in the fact that she’s pregnant and it makes it a double win since it can be worn with or without a baby bump).

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I purchased tablecloths online from tablelinensdirect.com and donated them to the church since the church was running low on linens. My caterer was willing to work within my budget. A friend did the make up for me and my bridesmaids for a discounted price since we had known each other for several years.

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I made the centerpieces for the reception. I also made all flowers including bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres using craft store coupons, coffee filters, dollar tree candle sticks, and silk flowers for the bouquets from our local flower outlet (Caffco Outlet). A friend made our cake as a gift and decorated using my leftover crafting supplies.

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You don’t need to start off in debt. I remember few things from the weddings I attended in 2014 (4 other than my own). We used our church for wedding and reception, but there were fees included with that. Pinterest is a huge influence on making people feel like they must go bigger, but it is also a great source of DIY information. You just have to remove the pressure. Everytime someone told me, “You have to …”, I replied with, “I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to.”

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While there are somethings I would have loved to have had, they weren’t needed and we got married with a beautiful ceremony and reception with the people who mattered the most. One of our biggest accomplishments was trimming the guest list. Our rule for that was that if we had not heard from them since we had been engaged (Dec 2013 to when we needed to send invitations) that we did not need to invite them to the wedding. This applied to friends as well as family (distant cousins and aunts and uncles).

Other ways to save:

Save on Photography, Music & More
Wedding Dresses & Bridesmaid Dresses
Getting Perspective
How To Save on Flowers

    • Kellie

      What a beautiful wedding! Congratulations on your marriage!

    • Holly

      The wedding looks lovely! Congratulations!

    • pdnr

      It’s refreshing to hear your reply to “You have to….” So many people feel that they have to do certain things they may not particularly want just because they feel that it is expected of them. For example, one thing that has changed over the years for weddings, birthdays, dinners and more is having to provide party favors for guests to take home. That was unheard of when I was growing up and I think it has complicated what could be simple gatherings.

    • Elizabeth

      I’ve coordinated several weddings that looked like they should have cost $10K but in reality were under $3-4K (including my own). One of the keys is to pick the one (or maybe two) things you really care about (location, pictures, food, decorations, music/DJ, unique dresses, etc..) and spend a bit extra in that category to do it well and then do everything else as inexpensive as possible. You just cant do it all fancy without either hundreds of hours of DIY projects or paying an arm and a leg. The second thing for a low-stress, don’t have to do everything yourself, is to choose a location that you don’t need more than a simple table centerpiece to make it look elegant. We chose a dinner reception (during sunset) at a local nature park that had a gorgeous banquet room with a large deck overlooking a lake. And used DollarTree vases filled with rocks and floating candles for the centerpieces (which I was able to resell and got back 50% of what I paid for them). The local park was only $300 to rent and we were able to spend a bit extra to cater a sit down dinner. Our wedding was under $4K as well.

    • Lisa

      We recently had my daughters wedding at a total cost of 2500.00. She had 4 attendants and the groom had 4. It was a beautiful church wedding with about 70 people . I made all of the food, we had a DJ, a smores bar and an great selection of appetizers. We also made all of the centerpieces, bridesmaid bouquets and groomsmen flowers If you work hard enough, you can make it happen!