The alternative wedding

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
By Sara Moore


Whether you’re looking to save money or break away from the traditional wedding, Cara Davis, author of Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot has some tips on how to make your wedding day really yours.

Shorter Wedding Dresses
Knee-length wedding dresses are more practical and more personalized for today’s bride. But shorter doesn’t mean dowdy, dresses can be glammed up or have a vintage feel. Clothing stores such as J.Crew and White House Black Market are now carrying their own lines, giving brides an affordable option. Another place to try is Etsy, where brides can pick up a custom hand-made gown for as little as $40.

Cultural Cues
Food cart fare is showing up in the pre-wedding cocktail hour and the after-party. Culturally significant themes like retro Asian flavors and ethnic icons like sushi, ninjas, geisha girls and Chinese lanterns are being used in inventive ways. Vintage board games are showing up as Monopoly pieces in bouquets and Scrabble letter tiles as signs for the buffet.

Punchy Personalization
While the structure of the wedding remains the same– a bride and groom, an officiant, a group of family and friends, a ceremony and reception– the look is anything but. Have a wedding during brunch; try tables and chairs so it doubles as a reception; and instead of traditional wedding favors, go with personalized takeaways, like souvenir photo booth picture strips.

Alternative Gift Registries
Many couples are registering for gifts that are more practical. Some travel agencies are offering honeymoon gift certificates while some auto dealers are offering gift certificates toward the purchase of a new car. allows couples to create a gift card registry for national retailers. Couples can get creative by requesting gift cards to home improvement stores to offset costs of home renovation, or register for local restaurants so they can continue dating as newlyweds on a budget.

Goodbye Wedding Cake
Instead of an expensive traditional tiered wedding cake, opt for nontraditional desserts like square mini-cakes and cupcake tiers or a dessert buffet that might feature pies, macaroons, Whoopie Pies, cake pops, color-coordinated candy and even ice cream sundae stations or cookies and milk bars.

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