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Two Secrets on How to Save Lots of Money on a Wedding

“Oooh, Miss M.!” squealed my students the day after I got engaged. “Your diamond engagement ring is HUGE!”

Well, folks, it’s time to come clean. I do not have a diamond engagement ring.

What I really have is… a $25 crystal ring. Hah!!!!!

Colin and me sporting our engagement rings.
Colin and me with our engagement rings.

Colin and I bought the fake ring together, laughing uproariously the whole time, from the back of a sketchy store in Boston’s Downtown Crossing. “The funniest part about this,” I squeaked amid gales of guffaws as I handed over my twenty-five bucks, “is that no one is going to call me on it!”

“I mean, what jerk is going to say: “Hey Lillie, congratulations on your engagement, but that’s totally a fake ring”?! Hahah! We are so going to get away with this… and it’s awesome!”

Our love is real, even if my ring is faux for now!
Our love is real, though my ring is faux until the wedding switch!

At this point, the shady man who was taking my cash was giggling, too.

Come to think of it, we probably could have bargained the price down, but given that we had just saved several thousands of dollars on an engagement ring, I was content.

So there’s secret one to saving mad loot on a wedding, especially if you’re (like us) going to use a family heirloom ring for the wedding and not continue to wear the engagement ring: Consider a faux diamond!

On our wedding day this July, we will remove the fake engagement rings and don the real deal: in my case, Colin’s grandmother’s lovely heirloom piece.

What’s great about this is that after we switch out the cheapo rings on our wedding day, we will still have the option of going back to the $25 fake for international travel, dirty work days, or moments we’re feeling low-maintenance.

What’s even nicer is that Colin’s proposal was so wonderful and our love is so sparkling that the $25 piece of crystal on my finger feels like a million bucks to me! :)

Still don’t believe me that this money-saving ring trick actually works? I have a new hobby of taking photos of my fake ring next to real diamonds of the same shape. (Fun hobby!) See if you can spot any differences worth thousands of dollars in the next two photos. I know I can’t!

Can you spot the thousands-of-dollars difference?
Can you spot the thousands-of-dollars difference?

Now let us sashay over to the second secret to save money on a wedding:

Use electronic invitations!

If you’ve read the article about my 10 secrets to being super-productive and organized, you may realize that I adore electronic organization systems and abhor paper. Actually, you could figure that out from seeing the heaps of disorganized, crumpled paper on my desk.

To make the case for electronic wedding invitations even stronger, know this horrific fact: brides often spend THOUSANDS of dollars on paper invitations, once you factor in buying fancy paper, creating and printing the design, postage, and in some lavish cases, hiring a calligrapher. That’s a lot of money for a piece of dead tree that most people spend two seconds looking at, or (like me) promptly lose in the sea of papers on a coffee table.

So how exactly does one do electronic wedding inviations? Enter GloSite, Paperless Post, and Google Forms. Through any of these three channels (along with several other online options), you can do all your wedding invites online in a classy yet paperless way for a FRACTION of the cost of paper. Not only that, but sites like GloSite (which I happily chose based on the recommendation of my cousin) let you electronically sort all your RSVPs and create an accompanying wedding website, all in a highly organized manner. Love it!

Which is the real diamond and which is $25 crystal?
Which is the real diamond and which is $25 crystal?

So there you have my two (slightly scandalous) secrets to saving money on a wedding. Now if we can only find a way to save on Honeymoon packages, we’ll be all set!

Readers, what other ways do YOU suggest to make Wicked Expensive Wedding World more affordable?

Oh, and if you haven’t yet read our romantic engagement story, click here. It’s the perfect reading for Valentine’s Day, even if you are not currently in a couple. If you asked me on Valentine’s Day two years ago (when I was living in Ghana) whether I thought I’d be getting married in July of 2012, I would have laughed at you so hard I’d have fallen into my delicious fufu.

Oh, and in 2 days I’m flying to China with 42 Boston students. Wish us Bon Voyage!


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Pedro Bellido

Tuesday 13th of February 2018

How interesting! Such a bargain! Thanks for sharing!


Monday 4th of June 2012

Wow, I really wouldn't have known the difference. I'm definitely going for a cheapo ring, I don't care and I literally can't believe how much my friends have spent on theirs! More money for travels suits me!

John T

Monday 21st of May 2012

Wow! I couldn't even tell that it was fake even if I do see you every Monday-Friday.

Tracy Antonioli

Monday 21st of May 2012

Best. Idea. Ever. I don't even WEAR my engagement ring any more (full disclosure--it doesn't FIT anymore) though fortunately it was a hand-me-down ring and thus cost exactly $0. But I never would have wanted a thousands of dollars ring. Just think of the airfare I could have purchased instead! Ha! Love it!

More money saving ideas--skip the expensive dress (though I recall that you're doing something awesome and I think thrifty with that?) and don't stress about the food (wedding food is never good anyway). In fact, I just attended (and photographed--for free) a wedding held in the bride and groom's back yard. It was the most fun, laid back wedding I'd ever attended. And the least expensive.

Congrats again, and many calming thoughts as the big day approaches!


Monday 21st of May 2012

Love these tips. Thanks, Tracy!

Yara B

Friday 13th of April 2012

That is such an awesome idea! I'm stealing your idea, for future purposes. (:

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