LS: Brides find ways to save, no matter who is hitched to the bill

Andrea Mitchell, left, Hannah King, center, and Natalie Herron, are three brides to be busy looking over wedding items.

Andrea Mitchell is paying for her wedding in cash.

When Mitchell, 21, and fiance Drew Keck, 26, host their wedding next month in Grand Junction, they will have homemade centerpieces at the reception tables and homemade programs.

“I’ve always been the type to do my own thing,” Mitchell said. “From the beginning, we are paying for everything in cash. If you have the money it’s OK to spend it, but have a wedding you can afford.”

With wedding season approaching, some budget-conscious brides are keeping an eye on the economy while planning their celebrations.

Erin Hegerle, 27, and Dan Rohr, 28, are planning a June 27 wedding. It is the same weekend as Country Jam USA, so affordable hotel rooms are hard to find, the couple said.

“Reserving hotel rooms has been a nightmare,” Hegerle said.

She has called various locals hotels and been told she either can’t reserve rooms at a discounted rate or she can’t reserve rooms at all. Country Jam was the reason given in both instances, she said.

Hegerle and Rohr looked into changing their wedding date, then decided to keep it because of previously made reservations for a band, church, reception site, flowers and other things.

But with hotel rates as high as $200 a night in late June in Grand Junction, Hegerle wonders if that, combined with the economy, will determine attendance at her wedding.

Neither Hegerle nor Rohr is from Grand Junction originally.

Mitchell also is worried about who will be able to attend her wedding, but for different reasons. Her fiance, a former U.S. Army solider, has good friends scattered across the country.

Mitchell is afraid those friends may not come because paying for a flight is an additional expense.

Guests aside, Hegerle is trying to be responsible with costs, she said, but her priority is using local vendors for such things as music, cakes and flowers.

Mitchell’s priority is cost because she is paying for everything.

The most expensive items at Mitchell’s wedding will be the dresses. Her wedding dress was about $300 on sale. Her three bridesmaids’ dresses were about $115 each, and she bought them.

“(My bridesmaids) are doing this for me, so I feel like this is for them,” Mitchell said. “But they will be wearing $2.50 flip flops from Old Navy.”

Mitchell doesn’t have just her wedding to think about, though. Her roommate, Natalie Herron, 23, gets married next month, as well. The roommates planned their weddings together.

The difference is Herron’s family is paying for her wedding as they did for her two older sisters.

Although Herron isn’t as worried as Mitchell about the wedding budget, Herron and her family have tried to limit costs. For example, she changed the table centerpieces in an effort to better manage money, she said.

She is not paying a caterer. Her family is making lasagna for the reception.

There will be no live music at the reception. Herron is using a sound system and an iPod.
So is Mitchell.

Mitchell said her and her fiance’s personalities will shine through at the wedding no matter how much they spend.

The couple reserved a shelter at Lincoln Park for their reception. It wasn’t Mitchell’s first pick for a reception site, but she wanted an outdoor reception, and the park shelter was inexpensive to rent at $80 for eight hours.

Mitchell isn’t having a wedding cake, either. She is asking guests to bring pies.

For pictures, her fiance is building a fake cake out of Styrofoam. They will cut that instead.

Speaking of pictures, Mitchell found an affordable photographer: a friend. Mitchell is flying him in from Phoenix as payment for his photos. Cost was about $250 for the airline ticket.

“It doesn’t feel like we are lacking anything,” Mitchell said. “We just cut costs, not stuff.”


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