You’ve got to hand it to him — Dick Schuller is one man who knows how to reduce the cost of a wedding!
A dad’s cheapo Goodwill story
When Dick’s younger daughter Annette told him she was getting married, his response was a typical “dad” response…
“That’s great, honey!” he remembers saying in a piece he originally wrote for Country Magazine that was later reprinted in Reader’s Digest. “When’s the big date? Next year, I hope, because Mom and I will need to save some money.”
Dick and his wife Dottie were footing the bill for Annette’s wedding and they had a tight budget.
About six weeks before the wedding, the couple visited Annette and that’s when she popped the question.
“‘Dad,’ she said almost in a whisper, ‘Could I ask a tiny favor?'”
“You’ve had that old gold suit you’ve been wearing for years and years,” Annette began. “It would be nice if you bought a new one for my wedding.”
Dick protested. His “old gold suit” was perfectly good. But Annette’s tears and Dottie’s agreement that the gold suit should go convinced him it was time.
“I hadn’t bought many suits in my life, since my dad was a tailor. Now I’d have to face the free market and cough up $200 or $300, sending the wedding budget into a tailspin.”
Fortunately, Dick and Dottie were visiting their other daughter Linda about a week later. Linda wanted to go to Goodwill to find cookware, so mom and dad tagged along.
“I was headed over to the tool display when Dottie called to me,” Dick recalls. “She and Linda were looking through a rack of suits, and suddenly Linda squealed and pulled out a dark tan one. She held it up to me and whistled in approval. Dottie nodded.”
The suit was originally marked $12. “I’ll take it!” Dick said.
“No, wait, look at the tag,” Linda giggled. “It was $12, then it was marked down to $6. Now it’s $3.34.”
As fate would have it, the suit was a perfect fit when Dick tried it on in the Goodwill store. It was a done deal. But as he was checking out, Dick was told it was half-price day at the store. So the final cost of the suit was…$1.67!
Of course, as you can probably tell by the photos, this story took place several decades ago.
Clark once famously spent $2.75 on a used suit at a Goodwill in Dayton, Ohio for a TV commercial shoot.
Recently, Dick was looking for the suit and couldn’t find it. Dottie told him she donated it to Goodwill. As Dick observes, “Another proud father may soon be leading his daughter down the aisle in my $1.67 Goodwill suit.”
Here are 6 ways to save on a wedding
On his wedding day, Clark rented a subcompact purple Mitsubishi for $16 to drive away in with his wife Lane. His mother-in-law still hasn’t forgiven him.
But if you want some advice for planning a cheap wedding, here are a few ideas Clark has discussed over the years that may be a bit more practical…
- When you call around to vendors, don’t tell anybody you’re getting quotes for a wedding. Call it a “party” because you’ll likely get a lower quote.
- If you’re planning on having alcohol, find a caterer who will let you purchase and bring it yourself, which avoids the tremendous markup.
- Make your own flowers out of paper instead of purchasing real ones. This move alone can save you more than $1,000.
- Buy dresses or suits that you can wear again. For the bridesmaids, try telling them a color (like navy or black) and encouraging them to wear an existing dress, rather than having them buy a one-time use only dress.
- Check the cakes at the bakery of your local grocery store, instead of a traditional baker. They can be much cheaper and just as nice. In fact, Clark went to one wedding where they did a cupcake cake. Everybody got a cupcake and the couple saved money that way!
- Remember that who you are marrying is the most important thing.
Want to lower the cost of your nuptials even more? See Clark’s official guide to saving money on your wedding.