Save Big With Frugal Wedding Tips

Meet a couple who saved $16,000 on their wedding. Find out their secrets.

Oct. 3, 2008 — -- Weddings are infamously expensive. From the rehearsal dinner to the ceremony and reception, the average wedding now runs around $28,000. That price tag can put a damper on a fairy-tale time.

But for newlyweds Natalie and Gene Taylor, saving a ton of money on their wedding -- $16,000 worth -- did not mean giving up their dream day.

Like so many other young couples, the Taylors did not have a fortune to spend on their wedding so extravagance was out and creativity was in for their 200 guests.

Here are some tips that "Good Morning America" received from the Taylors and from other viewers.

Saving on Your Wedding

Get married in the fall or winter. Summer weddings are the most popular. By getting married off season, the venue cost may be cut in half.

Order invitations online. The Taylors saved around $1,200 by ordering their wedding invitations online and picking out the perfect style for their price.

Look for discounted wedding dresses. Just because wedding dresses can be inexpensive does not mean they sacrifice quality. Natalie found her $1,100 dream dress for $100.

According to Jamie Zanzinger of Real Simple Weddings, off-the-rack dresses from places like Anne Taylor, J. Crew and Target are the way to go.

"What they're doing is picking these really high-quality fabrics and then not embellishing them so you can go and buy your own crystal beading or gorgeous lace and have a seamstress make it into an overlay for you," Zanzinger said. "You can make it your own. Make it look like a really high-end designer dress."

Ditch the florist. For the Taylors' ceremony, a florist was charging $2,500. Wal-Mart did the job for $570.

Find a friend or family chef. Rather than outsourcing to a caterer that could cost thousands, try to find a friend or family member who cooks. Natalie's mother and sister fed the 200 guests for $1,000.

Pictures should be priceless, literally. Rather than hiring a pricey photographer, save around $2,000 by having a friend take wedding pictures.

Decorate with borrowed style. Ask family members to help decorate with borrowed Christmas lights, tablecloths, tables and serving dishes instead of paying a professional decorator thousands.

Eat a fake cake (not really). Buying a cake that is all fake except for the bottom layer allows the cake cutting celebration without the full cost of an elaborate wedding cake.