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Brides opting for cheaper weddings

Brides are still saying "I do" in 2009, but they're saying "I don't" to lavish weddings.

For many, spending $22,000 and up is unrealistic amid a recession. Some brides are taking the do-it-yourself route, making their own invitations, centerpieces and favors.

They're cutting out open bars and limousines. And they're playing hardball with vendors, asking for additional discounts before signing contracts.

Nervous business owners are responding with deals and discount packages to lure budget-minded brides as their busiest season gets under way.

Belinda Chang married in March in Chicago and said the banquet hall where she had the reception cut her a 20 percent discount for getting married in early spring rather than in the prime summer season. The facility also discounted some food and decorations. And she saved by making the centerpieces and save-the-date cards herself, buying supplies on clearance.

Chang came in well under her $15,000 budget, spending roughly $12,000.

"We spent the money where I felt we should spend it," said Chang, 25, who recently moved from Cary to Pittsburgh. "I really don't think people need to spend so much on a wedding."

For businesses dealing with such value-driven brides, it's the bargains that do the talking.

Weddings are expected to bring in $56.8billion this year in the United States, according to The Wedding Report. That's down from $60.4 billion in 2008.

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