Couple Bargains for Dream Wedding

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In today's tough economy, many couples are tightening their purse strings, but Jennifer Mae and Chris Watters refused to let a limited budget stand in the way of their dream wedding.

The Los Angeles couple scored a beautiful ceremony and fabulous reception worth $30,000 for a fraction of the cost.  But how did they save more than $27,000?

"We bartered all of our party rentals, the retreat center - which is in our chapel - our wedding planner, our photographer, our DJ," explained the bride.

Instead of a monetary transaction, the newlyweds opted to barter their video services in exchange for wedding bands, invitations, catering and much more, proving a win-win for everyone.

"I thought, 'Hmm, could this work? Will we benefit from this?' But, with them being videographers, it actually ended up being perfect," said Nancy Flores, and event designer that bartered with the couple.

"We both had needs that were met through this," explained Chris Erickson, another who worked with the bargain wedding.  "It's been a great experience."

One reason that bartering is making a comeback is that anyone can do it.  This year alone, Craigslist has seen a 100 percent increase in traffic on their bartering boards.

Here are some things to consider before entering a swap:

  • First, put the agreement in writing.  
  • Watch out for scammers  - if in doubt ask for a reference.
  • Most importantly, remember that a barter is treated like a sale and must
  • be reported to the IRS. 

the easiest way to get started is through online barter services.

Take it from the newly married Watters-- from photography for wedding frills to hair extensions for dental work, bartering is an age-old trend that is just as relevant today.

*Originally Published May 8, 2009

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