Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget

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Overview

Since its debut in 1990, Bridal Bargains has provided over 300,000 couples with the ticket to affordable trips down the aisle. With U.S. wedding costs soaring and the age of marrying pairs on the rise -- the average age is now 30 -- today's brides and grooms are sophisticated consumers on the hunt for creative solutions to overspending. In their now-classic guide, Denise and Alan Fields debunk the myths and provide the tips that help contemporary couples plan the wedding of ...
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New We ship daily with FREE tracking! 100% Guarantee on all products. Brand new paperback! Sixth edition. Copyright 2004. Pages crisp, clean, unmarked. Binding and pages tight. ... No wear to cover. #41B. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Since its debut in 1990, Bridal Bargains has provided over 300,000 couples with the ticket to affordable trips down the aisle. With U.S. wedding costs soaring and the age of marrying pairs on the rise -- the average age is now 30 -- today's brides and grooms are sophisticated consumers on the hunt for creative solutions to overspending. In their now-classic guide, Denise and Alan Fields debunk the myths and provide the tips that help contemporary couples plan the wedding of their dreams without a nightmare pricetag.

Bridal Bargains also features over 30 photos of flowers, cakes, and gowns; easy-to-spot icons that direct readers to money-saving secrets, shopping strategies, questions to ask, and pitfalls to avoid; more "Weddings Across America," spotlighting local wedding trends and costs in several new cities; and the all-time best frugal wedding tips submitted by readers. Complete with a detachable list of key questions to ask merchants, the book provides a one-stop road map for navigating the $10-billion wedding market.

Faced with the average U.S. wedding costing over $16,000, couples are in need of creative solutions to planning a dream ceremony without a nightmare price tag. This easy-to-use, entertaining guide comes to the rescue with a wealth of wonderful ideas for that big event.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
This is one of the most informative and popular consumer guides to getting the best prices for your wedding. The book includes frugal tips from readers of previous editions -- a classic.
People Magazine
THE how to I do.
People
THE how to I do.
R Rhodes
Weddings are expensive. You want the best bridal gown, flowers, cake, reception hall, photography, invitations, and music, and you don't want to compromise on any of it. You don't have to. Husband-and-wife team Denise and Alan Fields are the number one consumer activists, and in their fourth edition of Bridal Bargains, they share all of the secrets you need to know to have the best wedding on a budget.

One piece of advice that is repeated throughout the book is to check out web sites. The Fieldses have included web addresses that will lead you to inexpensive flowers (50 cents a rose), discount bridal gowns, and sample pictures taken by your potential wedding photographer. In providing you with these addresses, the Fieldses have done two things: 1. They have saved you time so you don't have to rummage through the 3,467 sites that come up on Yahoo when you do a "weddings" search. 2. They have reviewed the sites, explaining the good points and the bad points of each.

Since Bridal Bargains never suggests that you reduce the number of people coming to your wedding so you can get your fancy gown, or that you forget about flowers so you can have a better meal (in fact, the big "C"-- compromise -- is never mentioned), it obviously has to include some radical bargain suggestions for making your dream wedding come true. Consider transportation costs. If you dream of arriving at your ceremony in a luxurious limousine, then call funeral parlors. Most weddings occur on Saturday nights and few funerals do, so some funeral homes rent limos for the evening at a fraction of a regular limo company's cost. Another great transportation idea is to rent a trolley car for your large wedding party instead of hiring a fleet of limos; it is a cheaper and more creative alternative.

When it comes to invitations, you may be thinking that it's a no-brainer. Think again. Invitations can cost as much as $1,200 for 100, so this crash course will prepare you well. The Fieldses encourage you to look at stationery shops, mail-order catalogues, discount buying shops, and other places that you would never think of when ordering the invites. They also offer questions to ask a stationer, tips for choosing how you want your invitation to be printed, ways to save money on postage (consider a response postcard and never send your invitations with the bulk rate), and information about doing the invitations yourself. And to top it all off, Bridal Bargains (as it does in many chapters) reviews and letter-grades some of the top invitation brands that are sold through retail dealers.

The Fieldses also arm you with information about bridal gowns (who knew that expensive Vera Wang dresses are actually shoddy in quality?), ceremony and reception sites (it's essential to get everything in writing), wedding flowers (they cost more near Hallmark holidays like Mother's Day and Valentine's Day), videography (ask if the person doing the consultation will be shooting your wedding), and much more. In addition, you can reap the benefits of other brides' experiences with Bridal Bargains "Real Wedding Tip" boxes and avoid common bridal mistakes with the "Pitfalls to Avoid" suggestions, and you can get bargain deals with the "Top Money-saving Secrets" that are listed throughout the book. From frosted roses on a cake and silk roses on your dress to rose-colored bridesmaid dresses and rose centerpieces, the Fieldses provide you with honest, well-researched advice, so that saying "I do" doesn't mean "I'm now broke, too."
— Soozan Baxter, barnesandnoble.com

From the Publisher

"The How To Cheaper I Do's!"

People Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781889392134
  • Publisher: Windsor Peak Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2002
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 438
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author


Denise Fields and Alan Fields write a monthly column for Baby Talk magazine. They have written several best-selling books, including Baby Bargains and Bridal Bargains. They live in Boulder, CO.
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Table of Contents

Introduction
Chapter 1 Introduction 1
So, Who Are You Guys? 1
The 4 Truths About Weddings You Won't Read in Etiquette Books 2
The Goal of this Book 5
Wow! There's No Advertising! 5
How Much Does the Average U.S. Wedding Cost? 5
The Five Fields' Commandments for Bridal Bargains 8
The Bridal Clock 9
What's New in This Edition? 10
Bridal Bargains Hall of Fame 11
Part I Your Wedding
Chapter 2 Apparel for the Bride 15
The Olympics of Shopping 15
Hidden Costs Can Add Up 17
6 Web Sites To Ease Gown Shopping 19
Games that Bridal Shops Play 22
Top 7 Best Excuses for Tag Ripping 24
Designer Trunk Shows: Tips & Traps 28
Why Ordering a Gown Takes So Long 33
17 Step-by-Step Shopping Strategies 35
Good vs. Bad Gown Quality 37
Questions to Ask Before You Order the Gown 40
Special Warning: Use Your Credit Card! 41
25 Money-Saving Secrets 43
Top 10 Bridal Advertisers 44
Real Wedding Tip: eBay Success Stories 46
No Frills Deals 50
The Myth of Italian Satin & 5 More Myths 53
Real Wedding Tip: Make you Own Headpiece 54
The Running of the Brides: Filene's Sale 56
"Over-Sizing" and 14 More Pitfalls 59
Bridal 911: What Happens if The Shop Disappears 60
Reviews of the Top 66 Bridal Designers 72
Chart: Designers Compared 74
Chart: Also Known As: Designer Aliases 76
Looking for a Large Size 79
Big Mark-Ups Ahead: Accessories & Extras 92
The Catalog Chase 101
Fake Vera's and Marshall Fields 102
Best Buy: Save 20% to 40% by mail 104
Best Buy: Discount Gown Web Sites 107
Best Buy: Bridal Outlets 113
Factory Stores New Twist on Outlets 115
Not Recommended: David's Bridal 118
Gown Preservation 121
Bridal Magazines: Friend or Foe? 123
Chapter 3 Apparel for the Wedding Party 125
Bridesmaids' Gowns 125
Our Buying Strategy 126
5 Shopping Strategies 128
Do it by Mail and 12 More Money-Savers 128
Chart: Bridesmaids Options 132
Square Peg, Round Hole and 7 More Pitfalls 135
Real Wedding Tip: Delivery, Sizing Problems 137
Reviews of 24 Maids Designers & Manufactures 141
"Made in America" Maids Dresses Disappearing 142
Are Gown Knock-Offs Legal? 144
Tuxedos: The Three Options 152
Grooms in Cyberspace 154
5 Money-Saving Secrets 155
Tux Shopping Tips & Recommendations 157
Chapter 4 Ceremony Sites 159
Religious vs. Civil Ceremonies 160
7 Sources for Ceremony Sites & Officiants 161
Important Questions to Ask the Site Coordinator 163
Real Wedding Tip: Church Fees Can Add Up 163
Most/Least Popular Wedding Months by State 164
Why Civic Sites are Best Bargains 166
Chapter 5 Wedding Flowers 167
Average Floral Costs 168
Florists Come in Three Flavors 168
Three Floral Web Sites for Advice, Bargains 169
Florist Shopping: 9 Steps Et 11 Questions to Ask 171
22 Money-Savers 174
Table Centerpieces On the Cheap 176
Seven Floral Best Buys 179
Go European and 7 More Helpful Tips 181
The Mercedes Syndrome and 5 More Pitfalls 183
Real Wedding Tip: The Surprise Consulting Fee 185
Trends: Martha Et More 186
Spotlight on Roses: Types Et Colors 188
Best Buy: Buying Flowers at Wholesale on the 'Net 189
Best Buy: Craft Stores 192
Dictionary of Wedding Flowers 194
Chapter 6 Invitations 195
Why Invitations Are Priced a La Carte 195
Where to Buy: Retail vs. Mail Order 197
8 Cool Invitation Web Sites 199
9 Steps in the Ordering Process 201
5 Questions to Ask A Stationer 203
Real Wedding Tip: How Many Should You Invite? 204
Thermography and 11 More Money-Savers 205
Brazen Bridal Registries Et Five More Helpful Hints 209
The "Engraved Invitation" Myth 211
"Pet Postal Peeves" and 7 More Pitfalls 211
11 of the Best Stationary Printers 216
Do It By Mail: 12 Invitation Catalogs 220
Chart: Mail Order Invites Compared 222
Best Buy: Wedding Invitation Kit CD-ROM 225
Best Buy: Online Invitation Discounters 226
Real Wedding Tip: Do-it-yourself Paper Supplies 227
Spotlight: Wedding Favors: 9 Ideas 228
Part II Your Reception
Chapter 7 Reception Sites 233
The Big Trade-Off 234
Six Surprising Sources 234
Finding Sites on the Web 236
11 Questions to Ask Any Site 238
Best Bargains: Biz Hotels, Civic Sites and More 240
Tent Rental 101 241
The Marriage Mark-Up 243
Kickbacks and 6 More Pitfalls to Avoid 245
6 Most Common Site Types: Good, Bad News 249
Real Wedding Tip: Catering Insider Dishes Dirt 250
Hotels: Never Pay the Rack Rate! 252
The Amazing Send-Off: Fireworks 259
Chapter 8 Catering 261
The Big Bucks: Food, Beverages, Labor, Rentals 261
Real Wedding Tip: Open vs. Cash Bars 263
Average Catering Costs 264
The Two Types of Caterers 265
When To Book a Caterer 266
18 Questions to Ask 268
The Dessert Reception Et 19 More Money-Savers 270
Plastic Plate Myth 275
Deals at Wholesale Clubs 276
Real Wedding Tip: Tips on Tipping 278
"Frozen Food" and 5 More Pitfalls 279
How to Feed 100 for $100 279
Chapter 9 Photography 285
What You're Buying: Candids, Albums, Portraits 285
What Are Exposures, Proofs, Prints? 287
Where NOT to Look For a Good Photographer 288
CyberPhotos 289
Proofless Studios Speed Album Deliveries 290
35mm vs. Medium Format Cameras 291
Why Personality is Just As Important As Skill 296
9 Shopping Strategies 297
Questions to Ask Any Wedding Photographer 298
11 Money-Savers, including the Kodak Party Pak 301
Art Leather Albums: The Inside Story 302
Real Wedding Tip: Mail Order Albums 307
"Bait Et Switch" and 8 More Pitfalls 310
The Great Before or After Controversy 310
Odd Angles Et Blurred Shots: Latest Trends 318
Chapter 10 Cakes 319
Average Total Costs 320
Nine Wedding Cake Trends 321
The Three Types of Bakeries 322
How Soon To Book the Baker? 324
Taste Tests and More Shopping Strategies 324
Five Questions to Ask 325
Cake Slight-Of-Hand & 9 More Bargains 326
Real Wedding Tip: That's Nuts! 327
The "Mystery White Icing" and 4 More Pitfalls 328
Disappearing Deposits 330
Chapter 11 Wedding Videos 331
"In-Camera" vs Post-Editing 332
Average Costs 332
How to Find a Good Videographer 333
5 Basics of a Good Wedding Video 335
Videos: Good, Bad, Ugly 338
10 Questions to Ask 340
Ceremony Only Packages and 11 More Bargains 342
The Balkans of Bridal 342
The "Director's Disease" Pitfall 346
New trends: Webcasting, TV Themes, Retrospectives 349
Chapter 12 Entertainment 351
Ceremony Music: Prelude, Processional/Recessional 351
Reception Music: Bands & DJ's 352
Nine Surprising Sources for Musicians 353
Finding a DJ on the 'Net 355
Step-by-Step Shopping Strategies 356
11 Questions to Ask Musicians 359
Avoiding December and 8 More Money-Savers 360
Real Wedding Tip: Hiring Student Musicians 362
The "Yucky DJ Myth" 363
Canned vs. Fresh: Hire a Band or DJ? 364
Milli Vanilli Demo Tapes and 4 More Pitfalls 366
Agents: Helping Hand or Scum of the Earth? 369
Chapter 13 Etcetera 371
Limousines 371
Shopping Strategies, Money-Savers 373
Rent a Cadillac and 9 other money-savers 374
Real Wedding Tip: Sleazy Limo Driver 376
Wedding Rings 376
Best Buy: Get Your Rings at a Discount 380
Dubious Items: Wedding Insurance, Name Change Kits 381
Royal Prestige Cookware Pitch Exposed 382
Bridal Shows: Highway to Bridal Hell? 384
Wedding Consultants 386
Question to Ask a Bridal Planner 387
Pitfalls to Avoid 388
Gift Registries 390
16 Salt-N-Pepper Shakers and 3 More Pitfalls 393
6 Money-Saving Tips 394
How to turn unwanted gifts into cash 395
Honeymoons 395
15 Honeymoon Bargains 396
Chart: When is the Off Season? 397
Hurricane Proof Your Honeymoon 399
Chapter 14 Canada 403
Bridal Gowns: Designer Reviews, Money-Savers 403
Invitations: Canadian Mail Order Catalogs 408
A Web Site for Canada Brides 410
Chapter 15 Bridal 911: Last Minute Consumer Tips 411
Meet the Surrogate Bad Cop 412
The Final Checkup 412
Wedding Day Crises: How to Survive Them 413
Chapter 16 Conclusion: What Does it All Mean? 415
Appendix Setting a Budget 416
Appendix Phone/Web Directory 421
Index 428
About the Authors
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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    After getting engaged I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up w

    After getting engaged I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up way too many bridal books. I have read Bridal Bargains the most and certainly has been the most helpful.  They give so much practical advise and suggest vendors I wouldn't have discovered on my own. I love this book, EXCEPT parts are out of date. I fell in love with a invitation from a recommended website in Bridal Bargains. The book stated the online vendor has a relationship with a membership only warehouse store and offers a 25% discount on invitations. I was thrilled, until I contacted the vendor and was told their relationship with the warehouse ended in 2011. I'm disappointed, I thought I found my dream invite and would save some money! Hopefully the book will be updated soon. However,  I'd still recommend to other brides as the book is filled with some much helpful information.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013

    I read this book with in 3 days!! I NEVER would have thought abo

    I read this book with in 3 days!! I NEVER would have thought about half of the great ideas to save us money for our wedding. This book is a MUST to plan your wedding with out filing bankruptcy afterwards. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    Great dress info!!

    Hands down the best information on gown search, care I've read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Great tips!

    I used this book and kept my wedding classy and beautiful for 1500$. You won't be able to use everything in the book, but it's a great read - and great to pass on to the next bride-to-be!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2011

    The only book a bride needs to buy

    This book is incredibly helpful. There are very informative articles, ratings about major wedding vendors, and resources (online and helpful tips). Every chapter is worth reading and re-reading when it's time to hire vendors and write contracts. This book has helped me to avoid falling for scams and how to negotiate a best price!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2011

    Awesome Book! Great tips! A must have for all brides-to-be.

    I was looking through the bridal section of the bookstore when I ran across this book. Unlike the other budget books I have read before this seemed to speak to me on a more personal level. As if the writer basically felt the same way I was feeling; "Overwhelmed" with bridal planning. The ideas in saving from the wedding dress to centerpieces is well worth the price of the book. Never knew how the bridal industry works and the shocking stories of past bride experiences. This book is dedicated to helping future brides and all advices are from previous brides who shared their experiences (good & bad). I highly recommend and will definitely pass this book along to my friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2005

    The Best Wedding Book I Bought

    This is truly the best wedding book I bought. It is so helpful and packed with great information.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2004

    Only wedding book you will need!

    Great reference. The pages are worn I used it so much! It is now being passed around to all of my 'bride-to-be' friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2003

    I'm still recommending this book!!!

    I read an earlier edition of this book in 1994 while planning my dream wedding. I had a gorgeous, eligant wedding that was under $5000.00. This book saved me over $300.00 on my wedding gown alone!!! Now that I'm the Wedding Coordinator at my church I recommend this book to every bride! I'm with Oprah, you have to buy this book!!! CZ

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2003

    A MUST READ!

    I don't know what I would have done without this book. It has tips for saving money on every aspect of a wedding. It gives suggestions for tasteful solutions -- saving money while maximizing class. There is no tackiness in this book! It's awesome!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2003

    This Book Really Saved Me Money!

    There are so many wedding books in stores that claim to help you have a wonderful wedding with a small budget. I think that I have more books on wedding than books from my college education. But this book was the only book that actually saved me money. I just was married two weeks ago and this book saved my mothers checking account. There are so many helful hints and tips in this book that I read it twice. This book helped me find a brand new wedding dress for $300 and my veil/tiara for $80. The products that they suggest are wonderful and they have really creative ideas for everything from decorating to favors. I have now passed this book onto one of my bridesmaids to help her with her wedding.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2003

    The best book for ALL Brides to have!

    This book was incredible to point out the pros and cons (and give them a rating) of dress shops, Dress manufacturers and on line ordering services. It also tells you how to save money on invitations and the photographer. Hands down- the best book for planning a wedding (it would make a great gift for the bride on a budget).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2003

    This book is a MUST HAVE for brides-to-be!!!

    This book gives so much valuable information!!! It tells you what to look for and what to look out for when planning your wedding. It also offers a lot of ways to cut corners while still having an elegant ceremony and reception. I encourage all brides to read this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2003

    Affordable options

    Bridal bargains offers many affordable options for weddings. From dresses, to shoes, sites, tuxes, to flowers, this book offers suggestions of websites to look at and creative options for any budget. I would highly reccommend it for any bride.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2003

    Bridal Shop Scams

    I've only gotten through half of this book so far but it is great advice and tips that the authors give you. Their insite has already opened my eyes as to how bridal shops can easily rip brides off and they don't even realize it. I plan on buying this book for my engaged friends to read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2002

    This book was fantastic!

    I truly enjoyed every minute of reading this book. It was so informative and the research was excellent. It provides you with website info and realistic views of bridal gown designers (they rated each one) and the pros and cons of using the web for your flowers and purchasing your gown. It provided a lot of information that all brides need to know about. I would strongly advise all brides or their family members to purchase this book it's worth putting into your bridal budget. This book saved me a lot of time and $$$.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2002

    A Common Sense Bridal Book??????

    I have read a lot of bridal planning books but this is by far the best I have come across. The authors are smart people with real world lives and a lot of valuable tips, REAL WORLD implementable tips. They include a lot of specific information -- reviews of bridal designers, websites for EVERYTHING, great suggestions on all sorts of cost cutting tips. VERY SMART!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2001

    Reality Check

    I'm in the middle of planning the most expensive party I've ever thrown (my wedding) and I have picked up a couple of great books on how to not break the bank. While the authors spend most of their time on how to have a traditional wedding less expensively, there are some pieces of indispensable advice. For example, tell a caterer you are planning a family reunion and not a wedding and see how the price goes down! The wedding scene is a gigantic racket with all sorts of various schemes to bleed dry a bride and her parent's bank account. This book is a great reality check, forcing the bride to really think about what she really wants and what is so silly that she only considered adding it to her wedding because 12 of her friends did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2001

    The Best Gift to Give an Engaged Couple

    This was the one and only wedding book my husband and I used when we got married in 1999. We thought it was so great, we now give it as an engagement gift each time someone we know gets engaged. Very practical!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2000

    Get married- don't go broke!

    This is a great book if you're getting married but you're not made of money. Not every topic in this book will apply to every wedding, but there are tons of useful cost-saving and general planning tips; such as questions you should ask different vendors or ways to save money without sacrificing your dream wedding. If you're only buying one book on wedding planning, this is the one- unless you really don't mind spending more than you need to on your wedding.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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