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Budget Bride Meets Classy Wedding


When I first met Brandiann Kanya, the first thing I said to her, after the muscle memory response, “Great to meet you,” was, “I love your blouse.”  She told me she got a great deal on it at a secondhand shop. Ah, I thought, a girl after my own heart. I, like Brandi, am a sucker for an honest, can’t-pass-up bargain.  In no time we became fast friends, and I was honored to be invited to her wedding.

The more I got to know Brandi and her family, the more I realized that I, a recently engaged gal, could learn a lot from her.  Not only is she the queen of blouse bargain shopping, she makes saving money an everyday occurrence, whether it’s shopping for her young daughters or planning her own wedding.  She proved to me throwing a classy wedding doesn’t mean breaking the bridal bank.

She was kind enough to share with me (and you!) some ideas that are realistic and will have you saving money for other things, like the honeymoon!



WEDDING GOWN: Brandi’s lovely wedding gown came from Needleman’s Bridal and Formal. You would never know she shopped their 30 percent off sale and saved a bundle. This gown is runway ready.

BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Spending hundreds of dollars for each dress was not part of the plan. Shopping the local shops was. These off-the-rack gorgeous dresses cost only $40.00 each, but look haute couture.


DAUGHTER'S DRESSES: How adorable are these?  Brandi’s daughters sported $30.00 lace dresses with cowboy boots––a fitting pairing for a Vermont autumn wedding. Shopping after Christmas or Easter sales will pay off in dollars saved!

JEWELRY: What rule says jewelry has to cost as much as a deposit for your first house? How about $12.99 for each bridesmaid? A local drug store was the spot where Brandi found the bling for her bridesmaids. The bride’s sparkle cost a whopping $14.99. Keep your wedding eyes open. You’ll never know when you’ll find just the perfect something.


FLOWERS: Certain flowers are more expensive than others: think calla lilies over carnations.  Ask your florist for their recommendations.  When Brandi found out hydrangeas were $9.00 a stem, she politely said, “No, thank you.” The sunflowers in the bouquets were the focal points and just the right look this autumn wedding demanded.

FAVORS: Don’t be afraid to do-it-yourself! Brandi and her family made homemade apple butter (think bushels and bushels of dropped apples) for all her guests.  Creamy, sweet and made with love, these favors came in at just over $1.00 per person!  The mason jars were most of the cost.


CAKE: Don’t forget your local grocery’s bakery for cakes, cookies, and sweet confections.  They may not use your grandmother’s recipe, but the outcome will probably surprise you. Brandi and John’s wedding cake was more than half off the price they were quoted at traditional bakers.  Super moist and delicious, I know someone (without mentioning names!) that had seconds––so tasty!


RECEPTION: The Catamount Country Club staff was accommodating and very personable. Working with John and Brandi, they gave them exactly what they wanted and exceeded expectations. Brandi can’t sing their praises loud enough.  Be sure to ask venues about off-season rates. You will be pleasantly surprised.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Margaret Michael is a professional. Her photography is topnotch and her presence at the ceremony and reception was unobtrusive and friendly. Her work speaks for itself. Check out her website at

Do your homework, keep you options open and don’t be afraid to think outside the cake box.  With a bit of research and a lot of open-mindedness, the fun of fulfilling a beautiful wedding will be even sweeter with the dollars saved. Here’s to budget hunting!

Words by Karen Sturtevent, Photos by Margaret Michael