Weddings on a budget: You can do it

By Karla Redditte - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Kathy Zimmerman spends a lot of time in front of a computer as a producer at WTOC.

But these days, she's not only looking over news scripts. She's also showing off her favorite photos from her December wedding.

"I had to have the white dress and I had to do the something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue," said Kathy.

She wanted a tradition wedding, but due to an unexpected change involving her mother, her wedding wishes would have to be fulfilled on a pretty tight budget.

"She ended up losing her job that she had for 10 years," said Kathy. "They let her go due to the economy, so we couldn't afford to have this big, lavish wedding."

Kathy and her husband Derek scaled back their plans and ended up hosting about 30 people in Whitefield Square.

"The budget itself was based upon what do we absolutely need," she said.

Kathy spent less than $2,000 for her special day which is not bad considering the average wedding runs about $27,000 according to

So there are ways to happily walk down the aisle without breaking the bank.

"It takes work," said wedding coordinator Tricia Huddas. "It's research. It's really understanding what is important to you and being able to let go of some of the details that aren't."

Huddas is a local wedding coordinator with many of her weddings featured in publications like Savannah Magazine.

She says along with making a list of priorities and trimming your guests lists, brides should look for deals on commonly high priced items such wedding gowns.

"There are websites that sell once worn wedding dresses," said Huddas. "Most girls only wear their wedding dresses from six to eight hours. They go get it professionally cleaned, preserved, put it in their closet and never touch it again. So a lot of girls are doing that as a budget saving idea."

She also suggests destination weddings and with so many local venues with naturally beautiful scenery, your destination can be just a short distance away.

"They will do great things such as having an officiant provided for you, working with you to having your chairs provided for you, which is a great money saver," said Huddas. "A ceremony location and then bringing you into one of their restaurants for dinner. So just talk to the venues. There's a lot of local places that will do something along those lines for you. They will bring a little package together."

Places like the Westin on Hutchinson Island.

"In your package, you get all of your catering handled on site," said Westin catering and sales manager Robyn Joffe. "You can meet with the chef. We can customize your menu to stay in your budget. All of your venues, your table cloths and your chairs, everything is right here."

"We can take care of all of those. If you are flexible with your time and date, that can also help keep things in budget. We could do a Friday wedding or Sunday wedding instead of a Saturday wedding. We could also do brunch weddings instead of dinner weddings and I think that helps," said Joffe.

So working with a smaller budget doesn't mean a less meaningful wedding day as Kathy found out in Whitefield Square. It just equals more money in your pocket after saying "I do."

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