Budget Bride Tip for June 4: Put dad to work

Bride and groom with pink piggy bank

We’re celebrating the month of June with a daily tip from savvy brides who saved big bucks on the wedding of their dreams.

Meghan and Brian McMahon knew they'd be paying for their Sept. 17, 2011, wedding and reception in Philadelphia, so they wanted to get the best deals possible.

But Meghan, 27, a Realtor in Ocean City, N.J., quickly realized that she wasn't going to be getting those deals herself.

"When I went into vendors, they saw a bride and assumed she was seeking quality, and they were 'tight' on their pricing," she says, meaning they were unwilling to budge or negotiate.

"Then my dad would go by himself and talk to people, and they were suddenly very flexible on their numbers."

The worst discrepancy involved a photographer who Meghan and Brian, 26, an insurance agent in Ocean City, didn't hire.

The photographer told her that she just had to have a package that started at $7,000. Her father was offered the same thing for $3,000.

Not only was Meghan's father quoted prices that were 50% to 70% lower, he was also offered perks, such as the DJ staying an extra hour and full rights to the wedding photos, so the couple could use them whenever and however they liked.

Did it anger Meghan? Sure. But she wasn't about to let that get in the way of saving a bundle on their $30,000 wedding, so she sent her dad in to do the dirty work.

"It totally makes sense from the vendors’ perspective," Meghan says. "They probably have so many brides and grooms coming in who want something specific to make their day perfect and don't care how much it costs to get it, so the vendor can jack the price up."

Meghan and Brian were married at Old St. Mary's Church and held their reception at the Franklin Institute, a science museum and memorial to Benjamin Franklin. That led to one of the most unusal wedding photos I've ever seen -- the bride and groom in the cockpit of a jet fighter ...

Here's Meghan with her father, Robert Rueter ...

Thanks to Meghan and Brian McMahon for sharing these personal photos from their wedding album.