"Money-saving" Ideas That Will Cost You Your Dignity

Continued (page 2 of 3)

My search for cost-cutting ideas also turned up another surprise: Saving money is as subjective as spending it. My reasonable expense might be your ridiculous extravagance. Your sensible cost-cutter might give me a headache from rolling my eyes. For example:

"Fake your cake with an icing-covered foam cake rental. You'll get the look you want, and you can purchase a sheet cake from a bakery that can be cut up in the kitchen."

This is insanity. It's like that Twilight Zone episode where Carol Lynley and her husband wake up after a party and find themselves in an alien child's dollhouse [spoiler alert].

To me, the tiered wedding cake is nonnegotiable. You have to keep the top so you can eat it on your first anniversary, or your husband will leave you for a massage therapist. Or something like that. I'm not clear on the subtleties.

"Toast with white wine instead of Champagne: Champagne can get expensive, and not everyone likes the carbonation."

I'm sure lots of people will strenuously object to toasting your marriage with Champagne. "How was the wedding?" "It was okay, except for the carbonation. That was a downer."

You know, some people don't like dressing up, either. Maybe you should ask everyone to come in sweatpants, and you can all eat pizza over the sink.

"Do you have a friend who brews their own beer? Ask them to provide beer for your wedding at cost!"

Fantastic. You can get your uncle to make up a batch in his bathroom, and when people start complaining of lead poisoning and blindness, you can blame it on the foam-rubber cake.

"Better yet, do away with alcohol altogether and have a coffee bar! Guests can get cappuccinos, espressos, or even decaf."

Sheet cake and decaf! It's like Saturday night at the nursing home, only not as fun.

And now that you've ruined dinner, how about saving the planet?

"Instead of wasting paper, send your announcement via email!"

Your wedding invitation is a waste of paper. It's perfectly okay for the Thai restaurant down the street to shove menus in your mailbox every day, but those wedding invitations of yours are going to turn this planet into a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Okay, maybe the five cards with two envelopes is a bit much, and I can do without that weird, arcane piece of blotting paper that looks like you're supposed to roll your own cigarette with it. But the wedding invitation is a wonderful keepsake for some people—what are they supposed to do, print it out at Kinko's? Oh wait, that would be a waste of paper. Well, maybe you can just send it to their iPhone and they can look at it while they're on the bus.

"Don't pay your florist big bucks to put together your centerpieces. Make your own with supplies from the dollar store and a little ingenuity."

Finally, a sensible idea! After all, they have so many high-quality materials at the dollar store. How about a car-deodorizer centerpiece for the bride's table? And with "a little ingenuity" I'm sure you could work in a few pencils and a bottle of discontinued shampoo.

"Share decorating costs: Find out if another bride books your venue for the same weekend, split costs on shared flowers, décor and other expenses."

I love the idea of another woman's used, wilted flowers at my wedding. But why stop there? Use her bridesmaids and none of your friends will have to buy dresses. Serve leftover Champagne from her reception—it'll be flat, so that'll please the carbonation haters. What the hell, why not marry the same guy? You can all chip in on a family compound and lower your mortgage.

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April Winchell

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