It's your day. It's your wedding. It's your bank account.
Whatever the economic climate is when your big day arrives, there's no need to spend a small fortune.
Check out these tips for wedding that's frugal, but not cheap. And, with all the money saved, you can have a fabulous honeymoon!
• Rent the bridal dress. Why buy when you can rent? Especially when you can rent a gown that's customized for you.
Kristi Butt, who owns Gowns by Pamela of Tucson, said renting is the best solution when on a budget.
Butt works with a designer, Pamela Weight, the Pamela in the name, who specifically designs dresses for customers from preconstructed gown elements. That means you get to choose the bodice, the skirt and even the sleeves. Dress rental includes the headpiece, veil, petticoat, corset, alterations and cleaning.
The dresses are put together like a costume; the lining and the outer fabric are stitched together in such a way that alterations can be done easily.
The store also sells mother-of-the bride and flower-girl dresses, plus invitations, jewelry and shoes for sale with a 10 percent discount for customers who rent the wedding gowns.
• Check the thrift stores: If you're looking for a non-traditional wedding gown, try a thrift or second-hand store. Many, like Sequels, a clothing and accessories boutique that benefits the non-profit Amphitheater Public Schools Foundation, don't get the flowing white gowns, but they do get lots of gowns.
"We have racks of gowns," said employee Heather Buck. "Though we rarely get wedding dresses, you could definitely get bridesmaid dresses here."
• Get hair and makeup done at a beauty school: You want to look gorgeous on your wedding day, but you don't want to have to cancel the honeymoon to pay for it. Consider a beauty school instead of a pricey salon for your hair and makeup.
Arizona Academy of Beauty offers bargain services perfect for brides and bridal parties on a budget. Services, provided by students, include hair (styling, color and perms), skin, nails and makeup application.
You can also get discount beauty treatments at Aveda Institute of Beauty, where students will spiff you up in an environmentally friendly style. All Aveda products come from plants or flowers, and makeup application includes the brand's mineral-based and oil-free cosmetics.
Aveda also offers updos, haircuts and styling, manicures and facials. Book well in advance for wedding services.
• Discount shoe shop: Let's be honest: Who's looking at shoe labels on a wedding day? To pinch a penny with style, try a discount shoe store like DSW (which also sells clutches and evening bags) or Payless.
• Forgo a custom gown for a semi-custom dress: A custom-made bridal gown can cost thousands of dollars. But women can still have the dress of their dreams—at a fraction of the price—with a little creativity, said Joyce Feickert, who owns Hem & Her.
Feickert creates what she calls semi-custom gowns. She'll take a ready-made bridal dress and tweak it. Maybe she'll add a jacket or perhaps alter the sleeves or neckline.
Feickert, who buys up high-priced inventory from bridal stores across the country that go out of business, also does bridesmaid dresses.
But it's the customizing that she adores. "It's like recycling—I'm rescuing gowns that are beautiful and using their fabrics," said Feickert, who also sells gowns by Pronovias, a Spanish bridal line; and Demetrios, a popular brand.
Feickert redesigns tuxedos too. "It's like a dollhouse and they're my Barbies. Sometimes I get Kens," she said, laughing.
For more information:
Gowns by Pamela of Tucson: 560 S. Spinepoint Place, 722-0050; gownsbypamelaoftucson.com
Sequels Upscale Resale: 7961 N. Oracle Road, 797-4949; http://sequels.shoprw.com
Arizona Academy of Beauty: 5631 E. Speedway (885-4120 ) and 4066 N. Oracle Road (888-0170); arizonaacademy.com
Aveda Institute Tucson: 845 N. Park Ave., 207-2660; avedaschooltucson.com
DSW: 7191 E. Broadway (834-0071) and 11895 N. Oracle Road (742-0168); dsw.com
Payless: numerous Tucson and area locations; payless.com
Hem & Her: 4004 N. Stone Ave., 887-4739