Money Monday: Low cost weddings

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The spring and summer are the most popular times of the year for weddings. While it's supposed to be the most joyous experience for a couple, the financial obligations can cause some serious stress. But we've found some ways to save money and still have the wedding of your dreams.

Bouquets, boutonnieres, bridal gowns---some of the elements of a traditional wedding… elements that can cost a couple quite a large amount of money.

The average costs of a wedding in the United States these days is about $28,000.

But wedding and event coordinator Kendall Hebert says that does not mean every couple has to spend that much on their big day.

"I think when couples start to think about marriage and a wedding itself is how detailed do they want this to be? How intimate do they want this to be? How elaborate some want it to be," said Hebert.

Marie Gilley owner of the bridal boutique says she's seen the cost of weddings, and gowns especially, increase during her 50 years in business.

Gilley says there is a key to making sure the gown does not eat up the whole budget: go into the store with a price range in mind and do your best to stick to it.

"Don't try on a five thousand dollar dress if your budget is a thousand, but give a little bit of fluctuation because then you can cut somewhere else to get the dream gown," said Gilley.

Gilley suggests brides on a budget consider buying their dream gowns at a designer's trunk show or at an off the rack boutique. She says both offer gowns that run the gambit in style, size and price---and you can walk away with your dress that day.

If the gown is not where you want to cut back-one local travel agent says destination weddings are something to think about.

"You don't have to worry about stressing all the little details of everything that goes along with planning a wedding," said Kristi Gros with Geauxing Places Travel Agency in Denham Spring. "It's much easier, and they pretty much tie it up for you in a neat little package with a pretty little bow on top and say 'here's your wedding and honeymoon!'"

Gros says destination weddings are becoming more and more popular with her clients. She says leaving town, eliminates large numbers of guests that would be expensive to host at a traditional reception, and wedding packages at a lot of all inclusive resorts come with food and more for a whole lot less.

"They have photographers on staff. They have spas so you can go get your hair and makeup done. I mean you can go the whole nine yards and have it done at a fraction of the cost of here," said Gros.

Gros has seen destination weddings cost anywhere from $3,000 to $13,000.

"It's about what this day is truly about, and that's uniting this couple as one. It's taking away distractions from that and stresses and really looking at what are ways we can save, but also what are ways that we can create this to be such a special day for us as one," said Hebert.

Gilley warns against relying the internet when hunting for wedding gown bargains online.

She says you are taking a huge risk of ordering a poorly made knock off of a designer gown, or worse not getting a dress at all and losing your money.