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Here comes the debt: How media is changing the way we wed

Published: Thursday, April 24 2014 11:55 p.m. MDT

That’s what Dana LaRue did when she got engaged and became overwhelmed. LaRue’s experiences created one of the most popular DIY wedding blogs on the Internet, which shares innovative and resourceful ways to weddings on a budget.

“The media tries to pressure couples into thinking that they need to spend a certain amount of money on this or that element,” LaRue said. “There’s a great deal of voyeurism happening with reality television and manufactured celebrity events that are publicized. People seem to have this innate desire to peer into these other worlds whether or not we know they’re manufactured.”

With a mission of “empowering couples to use their creativity” to “save your money and sanity,” LaRue’s enterprise straddles the line between wedding extravagance and what the site calls “real weddings,” where couples can share details of their day and tips for staying on-budget.

“It’s not about being cheap, it’s about spending smart,” LaRue said. “There’s a shift in the way couples today approach the expense of a wedding vs. that old-fashioned mentality of having to spend $20,000-$50,000 on one day of your life.”

One piece of advice Malone gives couples? Focus finances toward what’s most important. Malone gets all kinds of over-the-top requests from brides-to-be.

“My favorite is the girl that wanted elephant rides on the beach. I actually researched how to rent an elephant,” Malone said. “I have to put up a tipi for a wedding in April. They didn’t ask me about it, they just said, ‘We’re shipping you a tipi.’ ”

LaRue also suggests tailoring tradition to individual needs, no matter how much pressure may be coming from TV or computer screens.

“At the end of the day, it really is up to you what you do or don’t include. And if somebody’s going to judge you for that, that’s their problem, not yours,” LaRue said. “It’s really about following your own heart.”

Email: chjohnson@deseretnews.com

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