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Some money-saving tips for weddings

July 15, 2007

·Don't be a summertime bride

If you are, expect to pay prime prices, said Leah Ingram author of "Tie the Knot on a Shoestring." Bridal magazine The Knot (www.theknot.com) adds Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve to the list of dates to avoid.

Jim Resh, owner of J&B Bridals and Tuxedos in downtown Chambersburg, Pa., said their shop served 32 wedding parties the week of July 7 alone. The average traffic is around 15 to 20 parties.

Diane Engle, one of the seven seamstresses at the shop, said the workload for dress fittings can get up to a bride every half-hour during the summer.

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·Have the wedding and the honeymoon at the same place

Destination weddings usually attract fewer guests, Ingram said. Fewer guests means less money out of your pocket. And, by staying at the same place for the honeymoon, you'll forgo the extra travel expenses.

Another cost-saving perk: free or inexpensive catering. Many all-inclusive resorts fold in the cost of meals with what you're paying to stay there.

·Consider fake cake

Doing so could save you hundreds of dollars, said Cindy Long, owner of Cindy's Sweets and Supplies in Williamsport.

"If your heart is set on a four or five-tier cake, you might want to consider a fake cake," Long said.

Fake cake is really a Styrofoam dummy that resembles a cake, often used as the base.

"When a person looks at a cake, they see the icing and the decoration. They can't tell it's fake," Long said.

Wedding cakes go for around $300 to $350, more or less depending on the level of decoration and the number of people it will feed. But by using the "fake cake" (also referred to as a "falsie"), the total cost - with a layer of real cake - could come down to about $240, Long said.

·Look for easily adaptable dresses

Gowns with lace-up backs require fewer alterations, said Engle, the bridalwear seamstress. Also, buying dresses with hollow hems at the bottom makes them easier to alter and costs less, Engle said.

Generally, hemming is the most expensive thing to alter on a wedding dress, Engle said.

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