Wear your own item: Perform a risk assessment on letting the groomsmen wear their own tuxes or suits in the same color family. If the guys are style-savvy, it just might work. "You can ensure the look is cohesive with matching shirts and ties," suggests Lori Stephenson, co-founder and senior event consultant for Lola Event Productions.
Shoes: If you rent tuxes, Stephenson said, "let the groomsmen wear their own nicely polished black shoes instead of those shiny uncomfortable rentals."
Pick a color, only: Consider trusting your bridesmaids to select their own dresses and shoes, Stephenson said. Many bridesmaid brands offer a variety of styles in the same color with slight price differences.
Or, dare to open the door even wider for bridesmaids to shop multiple brands and stores. "Provide color swatches in a specific shade or select a palette that works together — paint swatches from the hardware store work wonderfully for this," Stephenson said. "Dictate a hemline and fabric family, and tie the look together with the bouquets."
If you choose a trendy color, bridesmaids will have more options to fit their individual budgets and tastes, Stephenson said. And the freedom from bridezilla tyranny might add sparkling sincerity to their smiles.
What did this wedding cost?
It all started when the engagement ring was purchased. On average it cost $5,847. The weddingchannel.com and theknot.com surveyed more than 21,000 couples last year, and that report shows that the average U.S. wedding cost $28,385. Venue ate up most of that budget, with a cost of $12,838. Guests ate and drank their way though the event for $63 a head. (Oh yeah, and on average, 149 came.) Inviting them all cost $509. Giving them little favors to remember the day by cost $292. The band ran $3,288, the DJ, $892. If musicians played during the ceremony, that cost about $451. Photos for the day ran $2,444, and the videographer cost $1,481. Driving all over town with the bridal party was $692. The night before you all had a nice rehearsal dinner that ran $1,163. The wedding planner received $1,728 for their services, and the flowers and decorations set you back $2,093. In comparison, these items seem almost bargain basement: The wedding gown was $1,134. Bridal accessories ran $256, including veil, shoes, and lingerie. The bride's hair, makeup and beauty preparation ran $196. Her jewelry cost $752. The groom's clothing and accessories was a paltry $211. Each bridesmaid dress cost $144. (And there were five of those and five groomsmen, on average.) The cake you smooshed all over your spouse's face? That cost $559. Wow. you're probably tired — not to mention broke — after all that. Don't worry, go have a great honeymoon, the price of which is not included.
And who paid for it?
The bride's parents kicked in a little more in 2009, contributing on average 46 percent of the total cost. The couple getting hitched picked up about 40 percent, and the groom's parents paid for roughly 12 percent. The remaining 2 percent is usually paid for by other relatives such as aunts, uncles and/or grandparents, according to the survey.
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Groomsmen can wear their own suits in the same color family. (Photo by Studio This Is)