Cinderella dresses. Horse and carriage rides. Sunset at the beach. White tents and string quartets.
At some point, most brides have envisioned their dream wedding long before their fiance gets down on one knee and pops the question.
And that vision comes with a price tag. From floral arrangements to photography, costs can quickly mount, causing stress to couples and families helping foot the bill.
In these tough times, vendors share how couples can stretch every dollar.
"Have the ceremony and reception in the same place." -- Lisa Fontana, director at The Mill
Cut your budgets with chairs. "No one is paying that much attention to what they are sitting in." -- Jeremy Rardin of The Rental Store, said of going with less expensive options.
"Consider packages which give a couple what they are looking for a fraction of the costs." -- Morty C. Lloyd of The Wedding Chapel of Chattanooga
"Consider the type of event that you want to have and realize that guests will have a good time regardless. Don't be concerned with it being so formal if that's not what you want." -- Duane Knode, catering sales manager for The Chattanoogan hotel
"Downsize the cake. Sheetcakes are cheaper and when served from the kitchen, no one knows, a smaller cake which can still be cut in front of their guests." -- Patti Taylor, owner, Cake Boutique
Consider disposable items. "No one remembers the plate they ate on, but they will remember the food they ate. No one is going to say, 'Wow that was a fantastic china plate I ate on.'" -- Tara Plumlee, CEO, A Silverware Affair
"Time of wedding dictates what you need to serve. If you have it earlier in the day you can serve lighter foods. Also look for less expensive meats but present them in an elegant way. " -- Mary Ellen Whitmire, director of catering at Four Bridges Catering through Riverside Food Works
"Use the same caterer for rehearsal dinner and reception if possible." -- Alan Cohen, owner, Catering by Alan
FLOWERS AND DECOR
"Sticking with basic colors for tablecloths and linens are always cheaper. Black, white and ivory are the cheapest." -- Jeremy Rardin, The Rental Store
Sunday: Wedding season in bloom
Tuesday: Engagement rings
Wednesday: Financial concerns
Today: Stretching the dollar for the event
"Go to three or more florists for the same type of arrangements." -- wedding coordinator Gayle O'Brien on getting quotes
"Consider packages that cover both the wedding and reception, especially if you have a small wedding. Couples can also buy 'bucket flowers' which are already processed and can then be used for vases at receptions. " -- Judy Hacker, president of Chattanooga Florist Inc.
FINALLY, THE BIG PICTURE
"You got to have a place to live after you get married. Is a wedding dress more important than a house or car down payment. No. You have to think about after the wedding. You have to think long term. I love weddings, don't get me wrong. But you have the rest of your life to live." -- Jeremy Rardin, The Rental Store