My son got married recently (May 2006) and we saved a tremendous amount of money by shopping on ebay! Almost everything you need is available, from aisle runners, to the silk flowers for bouquets, bridesmaids dresses, headpieces, suits for the ushers and groomsmen, shirts and ties, the brides guest book, basket for the flower girl, dress for the flower girl, pillow for the ring bearer, boutenniers for all the men, the invitations, wedding favors, coursages for both mothers, and yes, the brides dress, veil, and mother of the bride and groom dresses!
We saved tons of money by being adaptable and accepting some things that were not NWT, but had been worn once... for example, on the ushers suits that were in like new condition. The ring bearers suit was a black stripe on stripe tuxedo jacket, with black pants, and he loves this suit SO much he's started going to church so he can wear it more often! His shirt was a Perry Ellis shirt (marked $35.00) we got on ebay New in the Package for $6.00 and with shipping, $10.00. With careful shopping on ebay, we had a beautiful wedding, very nice for the amazing figure of about $1200, for everything! (If we had purchased these new in stores, or malls, the cost would have been over $10,000)
The reception was held at our local city hall, which charges less than $50 for all day rental, and holds about 150 people. Total food costs for serving this many (I had 27 side dishes, including all the salads, jellos, hot crock pot items like baked beans, corn casserole, and spinach casserole, vegetable trays and dips, devilled eggs, etc) and 50 lbs. of beef brisket smoked, and 20 lbs. of chicken wings, buffalo and BBQed... Total cost for all of this was about $600, with my doing all the work, along with a couple of the grooms friends who smoked the meat, and did the chicken wings for us, and the ladies from our church helped serve. Utilize your friends and family. Shop Wisely, Start Early (We started in early January for a May 6th wedding) and Save Big Bucks, and still be able to provide Quality Goods all the way!! The amount of dollars you spend does not need to indicate the quality of the wedding you plan, prepare, and enjoy, whether for yourself, or another family member!