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Frugal Weddings Aren't Tacky, But Entertaining Beyond Your Means Is

By Michelle Singletary
Thursday, December 2, 2004; Page E03

I knew I was figuratively stepping on a land mine when I ventured to give advice to couples planning a wedding.

In a recent column, I said that if you're sweating having to come up with thousands of dollars to provide food and drink at your wedding, perhaps -- just maybe -- you should shorten your guest list to the number you can afford.

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I also suggested you could have an informal get-together later and invite family and friends to watch a videotape of your nuptials.

I wasn't surprised that I received some critical responses from readers.

"I can't imagine anything tackier than filming your wedding to show to uninvited guests later," wrote Becky from Tulsa. "Maybe they can bring pictures of the gifts they didn't buy?"

Well, Becky, "uninvited guests" are people who are not welcome or wanted at your wedding reception. All I'm saying is that it's one thing to want people to attend, but it's quite another to wine and dine them.

Far too many couples who don't have a dime saved up for a financial emergency (such as a job loss), their first home or their retirement forgo financial common sense and hold weddings larger than they can afford so they won't be considered tacky or inconsiderate.

What's tacky is entertaining beyond your means.

Nonetheless, I know there are many ways to have a frugal wedding if you can't bear to pare down your guest list. In fact, here are some great ideas I received from readers.

"Instead of having a wonderful sit-down dinner for a shorter list of people, I think it would be better to have everyone you want at the wedding and then provide the highest-quality food you can afford for that number of people," one reader wrote.

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