Published: Oct 02, 2010 4:39 AM EDT
Updated: Oct 02, 2010 1:27 AM EDT

PINE ISLAND, Fla. - The recession has forced people to downsize their homes, their vehicles, and new numbers show, it's also causing people to not only downsize their weddings, but cut them completely.

We found a local couple getting married next weekend, and despite falling on hard times, they're determined to say "I do."

"This is our favorite, it's a cupcake tree," Brandi Kowalczyk said pointing to her homemade device. "It was only, I think $29 for the tree itself, and it cost me about $12 to decorate it."

Rather than dropping hundreds on a wedding cake, Brandi and Josh Hettinger opted for cupcakes: $50.
As for invitations, "I had a 40% off coupon and I got them for $15 out the door, and we printed them off at Josh's cousin's house. It took us about 45 minutes," Kowalczyk said.

They're getting married at home, hooking up a stereo, and enlisting a friend as photographer. "We got those for 50 cents apiece. The sand was probably $4 and the shells were free, so $7 for centerpieces for all the tables," Kowalczyk said.

After losing their jobs, their Disney World wedding dreams had to change. The recession is responsible for changing a lot of wedding plans. New census data shows just 52% of adults tied the knot in 2009 - the lowest number in more than 100 years.

More people are also heading to the Clerk of Courts. A marriage license in Lee County costs $93.50, which can be reduced to $61 with a premarital prep course. The actual ceremony costs $30. Altogether, you could pay between $91 and $123. Despite a tight budget, Brandi found the perfect dress.
"And I'm wearing just a pair of white flip flops, little heel, that I got at WalMart for $3 yesterday," Kowalczyk said.

She and her husband-to-be say, don't be afraid to do it yourself. "It's little to no effort and you can save so much money and it'll be still such a special day," Kowalczyk said.

Although they weren't able to get married there, Brandi and Josh are headed to Disney World for their honeymoon.

A new non-profit for brides on a budget just popped up in Charlotte County.They're looking for volunteers as well as brides to donate accessories like tablecloths and centerpieces, and vendors to provide everything from food to flowers. Their mission is to give couples falling on hard times the chance to still have a special wedding day. You can learn more at