Bridal Guide Magazine's How to Plan the Perfect Wedding...without Going Brokeby Diane Forden
Do you want to... get married in high style but at low cost? Design the wedding of your dreams without depleting your nest egg? Enjoy your most special day without paying for it for the rest of your life? For the first time, the experts at Bridal GuideR, America's leading bridal magazine, have gathered all of their favorite cost-containing tips and stress-reducing strategies into one handy volume. This comprehensive, practical wedding planner offers hundreds of insider tips for cutting back on wedding costs without cutting back on style, including how to: * Find exquisite invitations, centerpieces, and favors at discount prices * Save substantially on designer gowns and accessories * Discover seasonal bargains on honeymoon travel * Enjoy magnificent music at minimal fees * Cut down on catering expenses in savvy, subtle ways * Ensure high-quality photography at reasonable prices. From etiquette to officiants, transportation to tipping, and registry to rehearsal dinners, Bridal Guide's Diane Forden spells it all out for you. Charts, checklists, and calendars keep you on track and simplify each stage of the planning process. Don't Scrimp! Prioritize Your Way to a Beautiful Wedding on a Realistic Budget! Whether you have a year or only a few months, ample resources or cash-flow concerns, this all-in-one planner will help you organize the Big Day from day one.
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Bridal Guide Magazine's How to Plan the Perfect Wedding ... Without Going Broke
By Diane Forden and Sheryl Berk
Warner BooksCopyright © 2003 LifeTime Media, Inc. and Bridal Guide
All right reserved.
What a feeling: you can't stop smiling-and, of course, gazing at the glittering diamond ring he placed on your finger when he proposed; you wish you could broadcast your joy to the whole wide world ("Newsflash! We're getting married!"). And guess what? This is just the beginning ...
You and your fiancé are about to embark on a joyful-and hectic-time in your lives. You've probably fantasized since you were a little girl about what your wedding day would be like (including Prince Charming and the fairy-tale ceremony). In the first few weeks following your engagement, you'll be caught up in the excitement and emotion of your impending nuptials. But once reality sets in, you might be surprised at how much you need to do to prepare for the Big Day. There are dozens of details to iron out: Where and when will the wedding take place? How much will it cost? What will you wear? Whom will you invite? It can be overwhelming and even worse, overwhelmingly expensive.
Don't panic. This book can be your best friend. Whether you have a year or only a few months to get it all done, you'll find everything you need to plan the perfect wedding without going broke. Yes, it will require some serious effort and lots of decision making. But if you're organized from the start (use our worksheets, checklists, and charts to help you keep track of every detail), you'll have no trouble accomplishing everything in ample time, without stress, strife, and serious damage to your bank account.
Your Day, Your Way
Start by taking a deep breath and remembering one golden rule: this is your wedding. You and your groom are the stars of the show, and your happiness is most important. Once you announce your engagement, you'll find that everyone, from family and friends to total strangers, is full of advice and strong opinions on how you should do things. Thank them graciously for their kind and insightful words-then use what you choose (the rest simply lose!). Often you'll receive great advice and ideas from those who have been through it before (see the "It Worked for Me!" boxes throughout this book for tips from recent brides). Just don't allow others, even if they mean well, to push you into something you don't want.
When booking a site or a service, always ask lots of questions (we'll give you several lists of good ones to take along), and make sure you're satisfied with the deal (yes, you can haggle) before you sign on the dotted line. Keep your dates, addresses, and payments neatly organized. Besides the information you record in this book, you'll want to save all invoices and contracts in a folder or box and maybe even keep a computerized account of all transactions, dates, and lists (check out the Bridal Guide website, http:// www.bridalguide.com/, for templates).
But don't get so caught up in the "business" of being a bride that you forget what a wonderful and special time this is for you as a couple. It shouldn't all be about budgeting and booking caterers. Enjoy yourselves and your engagement, and don't lose sight of the real reason you're going to all this trouble: your wedding day is a celebration of your love and devotion and the beginning of a beautiful future together.
Sharing the News of Your Future "I Do's"
The first people you should tell you're engaged are your family members: Mom and Dad, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles. The bride's folks are traditionally the ones you inform first, and how you announce it to them is up to you. In person is preferable (if your fiancé is very traditional, he might want to ask your dad for your hand in marriage before he proposes), but if your parents live far away, it might have to be a phone call. You can arrange a future date to visit. You should then call or visit the groom's parents, followed by calls to your closest family members and friends, especially those you will ask to be in your wedding party.
Traditionally, his mom should call your mom to exchange congratulations. Once everyone is informed of your engagement, you can organize a meet-and-greet prior to the wedding (assuming his folks and yours have never gotten together before). This should be casual and fun-choose a place that is conveniently located for both families and will put everyone at ease. Of course, you might be a little anxious about how your clan and his will get along-that's natural. After all, you're telling virtual strangers that they're about to become one big happy family! Give it time-and don't agonize if at first not everyone hits it off.
Mothers and Others: Deciding Who Will Be Involved
Those close to you (particularly mothers) will most likely volunteer to do anything and everything you need to prepare for your joyous occasion. But it's completely up to you how much of your pre-wedding work you want to delegate. You should first talk it over with your fiancé-how does he feel about your mom or his mom being involved? Does he regard it as considerate or intrusive?
Another thing to take into account: if your parents are paying for the wedding (or his are), they may feel it's their "right" to have a say in the decision-making process-whether they want you to be married in a religious ceremony or hold the reception at their country club. Rather than antagonize them or seem ungrateful, calmly explain that you and your fiancé are adults and want to make most of the decisions on your own. Put it to them this way: it's good training for the decisions you'll need to make over the course of your marriage. Stand your ground. Your folks may gripe at first, but they want you to be happy, so they will most likely give in.
There are, however, parents and others who don't know when to back down or mind their own business. They mean well-and honestly, all they want is to feel needed and appreciated-but they insist on being too involved. How should you handle it? Getting angry is never the answer (although it would probably feel great to blow your top!). Instead, be proactive: before your mother starts trying to elbow in on your plans, assign her small tasks that make her feel useful. Choose chores that, frankly, you wouldn't mind having someone else handle. Have her research the cost of wedding cakes in your area so you have a ballpark figure to budget into your plans or call florists for a list of flowers that will be in season the month you're marrying. Is she a classical music buff? Ask her to be in charge of selecting the songs for the processional.
Even if Mom loses her head now and then (tears, threats, tantrums, and so forth), try to keep yours. Understand that your loving mother hasn't really turned into a monster-she's just under a great deal of stress these days, not unlike yourself. A daughter or son's wedding can be a difficult time for a parent emotionally. She may feel as if she's losing her child, and that can stir up jealousy, fear, anger, even sorrow. Be patient and try to put yourself in her shoes.
Sometimes, however, help can (and should!) be welcome. If you feel there are a million things to do and only one of you to go around, you can also ask your fiancé and your bridesmaids to pitch in, provided what you're asking is not unreasonable. Being in the wedding party is an honor, but it is also an obligation. Don't feel guilty about sending out an SOS if you need it-that's what friends are for.
Extra! Extra! Announcing It in Print
The quickest way to get the word out to far-flung friends and acquaintances is to announce your engagement in publications. You'll want to contact your local newspaper as well as school alumni magazines and periodicals that cover your business/career. Call and ask how each publication prefers to receive information (via e-mail, fax, or regular mail) and whether they accept photographs (color or black and white?). Are there any specific deadlines? Some papers will charge you a small fee per line of text; others consider it "news" and will write a free mini-article based on the information you provide. Of course, you shouldn't expect to make the front page (unless you're marrying royalty!). The size of the announcement will depend on how much space the newspaper/magazine has available at that time. If you send in your information and still haven't seen your name in print after a few weeks, a follow-up call might do the trick.
If you provide all the information the papers need so that they don't have to call you with questions, most will happily run your announcement. To make it easy, just choose a format below and fill in the blanks. Then retype and send "To the attention of the Weddings Editor" (or whomever the publication specifies-it helps to get a name). If you're including a photo, make sure to clearly label the back with your names and a return address. Also include your name, address, e-mail, and phone numbers at the bottom of the announcement, so they can contact you for confirmation or if they need to know anything more.
Excerpted from Bridal Guide Magazine's How to Plan the Perfect Wedding ... Without Going Broke by Diane Forden and Sheryl Berk Copyright © 2003 by LifeTime Media, Inc. and Bridal Guide
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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This is my 2nd marriage and still there were so many things I didn't think of or just forgot about. This book was very helpful in getting all the items needed and organized in an easy fashion.