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Savvy bride’s genius hack: ‘I got other brides to pay for my expensive wedding’

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She’s turning her big day into a payday.

While other inflation-weary brides are left anxiously scrimping and saving to cover mounting wedding costs, New Jersey bride-to-be Dri Buonocore is making others foot the bill for her June 2023 fête. She’s purchased a boatload of décor for her big day and is now renting it out to other brides.

“I’ve made about $3,000 by renting out my flower towers, golden candle holders and charger plates, to other brides in my area,” Buonocore, 26, from South Jersey, told The Post. “So far, I’ve rented to about 15 brides — the extra money I’ve made is going towards a painter and live musicians at my wedding.” 

While Buonocore’s business savvy has inspired some of her 15,000 followers on TikTok, others have blasted the pennywise planner, saying she’s “exploiting” other brides for a profit. But the corporate healthcare worker insists that her business, owing to her nominal prices, come as a help rather than a hindrance to soon-to-be-weds in need. 

“Most of [the brides] decide to rent from me after having sticker shock at how much rental companies are charging for the same pieces,” Buonocore continued. “And they’re really grateful that my items are available at reasonable prices.”

Buonocore herself felt pushed into taking the unconventional route to keep her betrothal budget in check.

After getting engaged in December 2020, she and fiancé Matt Patel, 27, a fintech consultant, initially set their wedding budget at around $20,000. 

But with elegant, albeit expensive frills on their list of must-haves — like renting out a local estate house where they’ll tie the knot in front of 155 guests, hiring a top DJ for entertainment and selecting delectable bites for their reception — the couple’s original allotment quickly ballooned by several thousand dollars. 

They’re not alone. On average, brides and grooms across the nation will spend a whopping $28,000 on their nuptials this year, per TheKnot. That’s a serious increase from 2020, when the median cost of getting hitched was $19,000. 

Besides inflation, the increase comes after the wedding industry suffered a near-crippling $46 billion loss during the pandemic, due to canceled or postponed ceremonies.

So, in an effort to avoid dipping into savings or salaries in order to afford the “vintage chic” wedding she wanted, in February 2021 Buonocore devised a plan to shop for décor and beef up her big day budget at the same time. 

“I started hunting down wedding items online that were in stock and on sale, I’d buy them and post them for rent on Facebook marketplace,” she said. 

“It started with my flower towers,” said Buonocore of the set of 12 rectangular structures, each standing at 24 inches by 9 ¾ inches. The golden stands serve as either floor or table centerpieces to support floral displays, and can cost upwards of $39 for one

She purchased a collection of the posts for $360 from a wedding and event supply site called eFavorMart.com during a flash sale sometime after New Year’s Day 2021. She now loans them out for $10 each to brides who want the luxe look without the hefty price tag

From there, Buonocore began marketing her charger plates —  decorative dishes that often add a dimension of pizzazz to dinner place settings. Hers come imprinted with a rare and attractive floral embossment.

She snagged 160 hard-to-find platters, not available in stores, for $1.25 a piece from Dollar Tree’s website. In addition, Buonocore laid out an extra $200 to have them shipped to her address. She’s since rented each charger for $1 a plate, offering a 20% discount to brides who rent out her entire stock. 

Buonocore then expanded her bridal biz by adding her supply of gold pillar candlestick holders into the fold. She purchased her set of 35 stands — originally from the Christmas Tree Shop —for around $300 from a re-seller on Facebook Marketplace. She loans those out for a $150 fee. 

And Buonocore isn’t worried about other brides damaging, stealing or losing her wedding ornaments. 

After asking each bride to sign a rental agreement, which Buonocore drafted based on a Google template, she makes them pay a refundable deposit, typically 20% of their order, to cover the cost of unusable goods. 

“One of the best parts of this is that I have no overhead expenses,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t have to worry about shipping or delivery fees, they come to me.”

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