Saving money on weddings with DIY projects

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Many brides are now turning to the Internet for do-it-yourself tips on saving money on their weddings. But where can the savvy bride save money? And where should she cough up the cash?

After the proposal, a bridge begins her mission to have her dream weddings. There's the dress, the cake, the flowers, the reception, and it often means a ballooning budget.

The average wedding in Charleston costs $25,000, but there are ways that bridges can do some things themselves and bring that budget back under control. The question though, is where is it smart to cut?

Blogs, social media, and relatives can be encouraging, but wedding vendors say it's smart for brides to know first what they're getting into.

"It gets to be a lot, and if you are working full time or you just don't have the time to do it, then it ends up being pushed back, on the back burner all the time and then you're left two weeks before the wedding kind of scrambling with the DIY stuff," said Ashley Russell, the owner of Ashley Nicole Events.

Russell is a wedding planner who works to make dream weddings come true, but she advises brides considering a DIY wedding consult with a professional first.

"Who's going to push the button or play the iPad, or be there when it stops playing?" she asked.

Russell suggests starting small with stationary. She says designing your own Save the Date and invitations can save hundreds of dollars.

Pam Blanton, better known as "Pinterest Pam," suggests making your own wedding favors to save money. She says her niece dressed up Mason jars as wedding favors and saved 60 percent when she bought the ingredients in bulk.

"It's something that can be done months in advance or a couple of weeks in advance, and it's something that she can do with her bridesmaids or family members," said Blanton.

Blanton suggests brides doing any wedding project to do it in advance.

Heather Sonoski teaches a take the fear out of fondant class at Trident Tech, and she says the suggestion of having a bride make her own cake creates a logistical nightmare.

"In order for a wedding cake to taste very good, it needs to be done at the very last minute. With so many different details going on and planning the wedding right up until the day of the wedding , if something goes wrong they may not have time to fix it," Sonoski said.

Karen Powell says there's one truth about wedding work: it has to be perfect. She's the owner of OK Florist in Summerville and teaches wedding design courses for Trident Tech. Powell says she works with brides on budgets of all sizes and says saving isn't always about doing it yourself.

"They think they want to come in, and one of the reasons they take the class is that they might want to do the flowers. I actually had that happen a couple of times and I ended up doing the flowers for them," Powell said.

Powell says a simple consult is a good idea for brides on a budget.

"What do you absolutely not have to have? You don't necessarily need petals down the aisle with that swirly design -- that's a thousand dollars. If it's a windy day that might not stay down," she said.

Powell says brides are coming to her with just about every idea off Pinterest without a cost estimate for making that idea happen. And that makes all that pinning dangerous.

"It's a great look book, but we try to tell our brides, 'You know, be creative, do something different.' But we like to say we are good at taking what you see and what you like, and then making it your own," she said.

Powell says another way to cut costs is to repurpose flowers used during the ceremony like bouquets and make them centerpieces at the reception.

Trident Tech offers courses of floral design and wedding planning as part of its continuing education courses.

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