Guerrilla Wedding Guide

Not that many years ago, it was cool — in fact, it was the norm — to have a reception at the folks’ house. Bridal gowns were handed down through the generations, and honeymoons were spent in the exotic locale of Niagara Falls.

Mother Jones reports that the average wedding, in 1980, cost around $4,376.

Today, most estimates put that number between $17,000 and $20,000.

And despite recently revived arguments about preserving the institution of matrimony, the dirty words “wedding industry” still manage to creep into polite conversation. As in, from June 2003 to June 2004, U.S. brides and grooms spent $80 billion (according to the Association for Wedding Professionals) — and that’s not counting the honeymoon.

But don’t despair: You don’t have to spend your annual salary on your nuptials. Forget the pricey, cookie-cutter bridesmaids dresses (news flash: nobody likes those anyway) and champagne fountain: With some ingenuity, a do-it-yourself attitude and a little help from your friends, you can pull off a memorable wedding without blowing through your future children’s college fund. After all, the wedding is really about spending the rest of your life with that special someone — not blowing it all on a ceremony that lasts 15 minutes. You’ll be far too nervous to remember much of it, anyway.

From reception munchies and alternative ceremonies to tips on dealing with relatives from hell and how to accessorize pouffy dresses with combat boots, Xpress has you covered.


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