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

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Overview

Wow! Finally, a wedding book for the rest of us. With average wedding costs soaring over $25,000, you need real life solutions and creative ideas to plan a wedding without going bankrupt. Bridal Bargains is the answer! Now in its 10th edition with over 700,000 copies in print, Bridal Bargains shows you:

♥    How to save up to 40% on brand new, nationally advertised wedding  dresses.
 

♥    The best web ...

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Boulder, CO 2010 Trade paperback 10th ed. New. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 468 p. Contains: Illustrations, black & white, Figures. Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing ... a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Wow! Finally, a wedding book for the rest of us. With average wedding costs soaring over $25,000, you need real life solutions and creative ideas to plan a wedding without going bankrupt. Bridal Bargains is the answer! Now in its 10th edition with over 700,000 copies in print, Bridal Bargains shows you:

♥    How to save up to 40% on brand new, nationally advertised wedding  dresses.
 

♥    The best web sites to save on everything from flowers to gowns, invitations to, well, you name it.
 

♥    Fourteen creative ways to cut the catering bill at your reception.
 

♥    How to order flowers at wholesale online.
 

♥    Eleven questions you should ask any photographer—and seven money-saving tips to lower that photo expense.           
 

♥    Affordable ways to print your own invitations at a 70% savings.
 

♥    A clever trick to save big bucks on your wedding cake.
 

♥    The best bargains on honeymoons, gift registries, rings, wedding videos  and more!
 

♥    New! Green your wedding with eco-friendly invites, catering tips and more!

The brand new, 20th year anniversary edition is completely re-written, with revised and updated tips on tying the knot without going bankrupt.

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.
From the Publisher

"The How To Cheaper I Do's!"

People Magazine

People
THE how to I do.
People Magazine
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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781889392394
  • Publisher: Windsor Peak Press
  • Publication date: 11/19/2010
  • Edition description: Tenth Edition, Revised, 20th Year Anniversary Edition
  • Edition number: 10
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (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     3
The Goal of this Book     5
Wow! There’s No Advertising!     5
How Much Does the Average U.S. Wedding Cost?     6
Sleight of Hand: The True Cost of Weddings?    9
The Six Fields’ Commandments for Bridal Bargains    10
The BRIDAL CLOCK     12
What’s New In This Edition?     13

Part I: Your Wedding

Chapter 2
Apparel for the Bride     17
The Olympics of Shopping     17
Hidden Costs Can Add Up    19
Web Sites To Ease Gown Shopping    21
Why Ordering a Gown Takes So Long     22
17 Step-by-Step Shopping Strategies    24
Good vs. Bad Gown Quality    27
Questions to Ask Before You Order the Gown    29
Special Warning: Use Your Credit Card!     31
Destination Wedding Tips: Gowns    32
29 Money-Saving Secrets     34
Real Wedding Tip: eBay Success Stories    38
The Running of the Brides: Filene’s Sale    42
Games Bridal Shops Play    47
Real Wedding Tip: Make you Own Headpiece    48
Top Excuses for Why Bridal Shops Rip Tags    51
Designer Trunk Shows: Tips & Traps    54
The Myth of Italian Satin & 3 More Dress Myths    61
“Over-Sizing” and 15 More Pitfalls    64
Bridal 911: What Happens If the Shop Disappears    66
Chart: Top Bridal Designers Rated & Compared    78
Best Buy: Discount Gown Web Sites    82
Table: Pros & Cons of Buying a Discount Gown    89
Best Buy: China Direct Gowns    89
Best Buy: Bridal Outlets    92
Factory Stores New Twist on Outlets    95
Not Recommended: David’s Bridal    96
Big Mark-Ups Ahead: Accessories & Extras    98
    Looking for a Large Size    101
    Gown Preservation    105
   
Chapter 3
Apparel for the Wedding Party     109
    Bridesmaids’ Gowns     109
        Our Buying Strategy    110
        5 Shopping Strategies     112
        Do it Online & 12 More Money-Savers    112
        Which Maids Gowns Are Easiest To Alter?     113
        Chart: Bridesmaids Options Compared    116
        Square Peg, Round Hole and 6 More Pitfalls    119
        Real Wedding Tip: Delivery, Sizing Problems    121
        Flower Girl Dresses: Our Savings Tips    122
        Chart: Top Maids Designers Rated & Compared    128
    Tuxedos: The Three Options     128
        Grooms in Cyberspace    130
        Tux Shopping Tips & Recommendations    131
        5 Money-Saving Secrets    132
   
Chapter 4
Ceremony Sites     135
Religious vs. Civil Ceremonies    136
9 Sources for Ceremony Sites & Officiants    137
Important Questions to Ask the Site Coordinator     139
Real Wedding Tip: Church Fees Can Add Up    139
Most/Least Popular Wedding Months by State    140
Why Civic Sites are Best Bargains     142
Destination Wedding Tips: License 411 & More    143

Chapter 5
Wedding Flowers     145
Average Floral Costs    146
Florists Come in Three Flavors     146
Five Floral Web Sites for Advice, Bargains    147
Florist Shopping: 9 Steps & 11 Questions to Ask    149
30 Money-Savers for Wedding Flowers    152
Table Centerpieces On the Cheap    154
10 Floral Best Buys     159
Label Flowers and 7 More Helpful Tips    162
The Mercedes Syndrome and 5 More Pitfalls    164
Real Wedding Tip: The Surprise Consulting Fee    165
Trends: Bouquet Bling & More    167
Destination Wedding Tips: Flowers    168
Spotlight on Roses: Types & Colors    169
Best Buy: Buying Flowers at Wholesale on the ‘Net    172
Best Buy: Craft Stores    175
Dictionary of Wedding Flowers    177

Chapter 6
Invitations     179
Why Invitations Are Priced a La Carte    179
Where to Buy: Retail vs. Mail-Order    180
10 Cool Invitation Web Sites    183
9 Steps in the Ordering Process    186
5 Questions to Ask A Stationer    188
Real Wedding Tip: How Many Should You Invite?    189
Thermography and 15 More Money-Savers    190
Brazen Bridal Registries & Four More Helpful Hints    195
The “Engraved Invitation” Myth    197
“Pet Postal Peeves” and 7 More Pitfalls    197
11 of the Best Stationary Printers     201
Chart: Mail-Order Invites Compared    208
Trends: Belly Bands, Pockets and More     210
Best Buy: Wedding Invitation Kit    211
Best Buy: Online Invitation Discounters    212
Best Buy: Do-it-yourself Paper Supplies    213
Spotlight: Wedding Favors: 12 Ideas    214

Part II: Your Reception

Chapter 7
Reception Sites     221
The Big Trade-Off     222
Six Surprising Sources     222
Finding Sites on the Web    224
11 Questions to Ask Any Site    227
Best Bargains: Biz Hotels, Civic Sites and More    228
Tent Rental 101    230
The Marriage Mark-Up    232
Destination Wedding Tips & Advice    234
Kickbacks and 6 More Pitfalls to Avoid    235
6 Most Common Site Types: Good, Bad News    239
Real Wedding Tip: Catering Insider Dishes Dirt    240
Hotels: Never Pay the Rack Rate!    241
The Amazing Send-Off: Fireworks    248
 
Chapter 8
Catering     251
The Big Bucks: Food, Beverages, Labor, Rentals     251
Real Wedding Tip: Open vs. Cash Bars     253
Average Catering Costs     255
The Two Types of Caterers     256
When To Book a Caterer    257
18 Questions to Ask a Caterer    259
The Dessert Reception & 28 More Money-Savers    261
Deals at Wholesale Clubs    266
Real Wedding Tip: Tips on Tipping    268
    How to Feed 100 for $100    269
Plastic Plate Myth    272
“Frozen Food” and 5 More Pitfalls    275
Real Wedding Tip: Liquor Slight of Hand    277

Chapter 9
Photography      281
What You’re Buying: Candids, Albums, Portraits     281
Digital Albums: The Latest Craze    282
What Are Exposures, Proofs, Prints?     283
Are Wedding Photographers Overpaid?    285
Where NOT to Look For a Good Photographer    286
Digital vs. Medium-Format Cameras     288
Proofless Studios Speed Album Deliveries    290
Why Personality is Just As Important As Skill     293
9 Shopping Strategies    295
18 Questions to Ask Any Wedding Photographer    297
Art Leather Albums: The Inside Story    298
13 Money-Savers on Photography    302
Real Wedding Tip: Mail-Order Albums    305
The Great Before or After Controversy     306
 “Bait & Switch” and 8 More Pitfalls    311
Odd Angles & Blurred Shots: Latest Trends    317

Chapter 10
Cakes        319
    Average Total Costs    320
8 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 & 19 More Bargains    326
Real Wedding Tip: That’s Nuts!    328
Real Wedding Tip: Small vs. Large Bakeries    331
The “Mystery White Icing” and 4 More Pitfalls     332

Chapter 11
Wedding Videos     335
Raw footage vs. Post-Editing     336
Average Costs     336
How to Find a Good Videographer    337
5 Basics of a Good Wedding Video    339
Videos: Good, Bad, Ugly    342
11 Questions to Ask    343
The Balkans of Bridal    346
Ceremony Only Packages and 12 More Bargains    346
“Director’s Disease” and Seven More Video Pitfalls    351
New trends: HDTV, Time-Shifting, Retrospectives     353

Chapter 12
Entertainment     355
    Ceremony Music: Prelude, Processional/Recessional     355
Reception Music: Bands & DJs     356
    10 Surprising Sources for Musicians     357
Finding a DJ on the ‘Net    359
Step-by-Step Shopping Strategies     360
11 Questions to Ask Musicians    363
iPod Weddings and 9 More Money-Savers    364
Real Wedding Tip: Hiring Student Musicians    366
The “Yucky DJ Myth”    367
Canned vs. Fresh: Hire a Band or DJ?     369
Ashlee Simpson Demo Tapes and 4 More Pitfalls    370
Agents: Helping Hand or Scum of the Earth?      373

Chapter 13
Etcetera        375
    Limousines    375
        Shopping Strategies, Money-Savers    377
        Rent a Caddy and 8 other money-savers    378
        Watch out: Sleazy Limo Driver    380
    Wedding Rings    381
        Best Buy: Get Your Rings at a Discount    386
    Royal Prestige Cookware Pitch Exposed    388
    Dubious Items: Wedding Insurance, Name Change Kits    390
    Bridal Shows: Highway to Bridal Hell?    391
    Wedding Consultants     393
        Question to Ask a Bridal Planner    394
        Pitfalls to Avoid With Planners    396
    Gift Registries    398
        16 Salt-N-Pepper Shakers and 3 More Pitfalls    401
        6 Money-Saving Tips    402
        How to turn unwanted gifts into cash    403
Honeymoons    403
        15 Honeymoon Bargains    404
        Chart: When is the Off Season?    405
        Hurricane Proof Your Honeymoon    407
How to Create Your Own Wedding Web Site    410

Chapter 14
Canada    411
    Bridal Gowns: Money-Saving Ideas    413
    Invitations: Canadian Mail-Order Catalogs    413
    A Web Site for Canada Brides    414

Chapter 15
Bridal 911: Last Minute Consumer Tips     417
Meet the Surrogate Bad Cop     417
The Final Checkup     419
Wedding Day Crises: How to Survive Them     419

Chapter 16
Conclusion: What Does it All Mean?     421

Appendix: Setting a Budget    422
Appendix: Phone/Web Directory    428
 

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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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