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Best Bridal Bargains In Sacramento

Weddings are said to cost about $29,000 these days – so short of eloping, we went looking for bargains. Get creative! From backyard rehearsal dinners for spring and summer weddings, to simple mason jars holding your tabletop flowers (my niece did this and it was fantastic), more and more brides are looking to cut corners without cutting quality. I had a $500 dress, a $5 satin wrap, a free veil and a free floor sample Swarovski tiara. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of my best finds!—starting with the best-kept secret in town.
House Of Fashion

House of Fashion II (Outlet)

3801 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 457-7618
Closed Monday & Tuesday

I consider this one of my personal bridal finds. House of Fashion, the longtime midtown bridal boutique, has a tiny outlet in an old East Sac home-turned-shop at 38th & J that every bride on a budget must visit. This is where the one-of-a-kinds, discontinued lines and floor samples go, that are still perfectly lovely but can't be ordered or sold as 'new'. I needed a satin shawl for my off-white dress, and found an 8-foot, gorgeous embellished wrap – for $15! When I changed dresses at the last minute, I crossed my fingers for a white one – and found it for $5 (I gave the other one to my sister for her wedding last summer!). I even got a little bride's purse there. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are recommended on Sundays.

Bridal Mart

Bridal Mart

12401 Folsom Blvd., Suite 205
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742

I was a bridesmaid eight times – but when you're the bride, you realize your wedding knowledge is not that deep! I thought my choices were ordering a dress and waiting six months, or having one made for thousands of dollars. But when I changed choices at the last minute, I drove out to Bridal Mart and said, "Where are the dresses I could take home today?" – and tried on gowns to my heart's content. I found one that I absolutely loved – for $500 – and took it home that afternoon, and to my tailor at Alterations to Go for the bustle hook. Done and done!

Governor's Mansion State Historic Park

Ceremony site: A California State Park

Our state capitol and the surrounding grounds sit on a beautiful piece of land stretching from 10th to 15th Streets, and L to N. There are many beautiful little spots there, and I got married in one of them! Everyone knows the World Peace Rose Garden on 15th – but there's a lesser-known one nearest to 13th & L called The Old Rose Garden. How fun was that to put on my invitations?? Plus, most of the flowers were provided by Mother Nature – and our pictures feature our beautiful capitol in the background.

But that's just one on a long list of state parks willing to host you tying the knot – including the historic governor's mansion at 13th & H – and many of them are free. You just reserve them with a permit, also free. I also reserved a couple of pay meters along L Street near the ceremony for the site vendors – since the site was free, the convenience was well worth it! Link.

Michaels Website

Michael's & Jo-Ann Craft Stores

Just some of the things I bought here: favors, a ring pillow, silk flowers for my girls' hair barrettes, their flower baskets, paper kits for my invitations, tissue... I could go on and on. I hoarded and begged for those 40% off coupons for months, and craftily combed the aisles to use my savings wisely. Sign up to get the coupons on email. I think the invitation kits were my favorite find – white card stock with a silver border, and I used artist's tissue cut into 4"x6" pieces to fancy up the pile of stuff in the mailed invites – two tablets of that for about five bucks – and we printed the response cards/directions at home.

Once we figured out what we wanted on the invitations…

All Star Printing

All Star Printing

6960 Sunrise Boulevard
Citrus Heights, CA 95610-3144
(916) 726-3311

…we took them to a printer! For about one-quarter the cost of going through a card store, we had the printer do up about 150 invitations, return envelopes, and thank you envelopes. I got bridal-themed stamps at the post office for no extra charge, and we went to town – assembled it all ourselves and splurged a little on a calligrapher to address them. They looked fantastic! Plus, who besides you, your mom and your mother-in-law, is going to keep the invitation anyway?

- Marianne McClary is an anchor and original cast member of Good Day Sacramento, the city's #1 morning show.

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