How to Create a Wedding Budget
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What's your number one wedding dress budget-shopping tip?
Get on the mailing lists of several bridal gown shops, so that you get advance, VIP notice of upcoming and last-second-planned designer trunk shows and sample sales. At these events, you can find gowns for up to 75% off, as well as shoes, veils, headpieces and accessories for up to 70% off! You should also sign up at your favorite designers' websites as well, since they sometime plan last-minute trips through your area and their staff will email you to invite you to the sale.
Are there any items a bride should splurge on?
Really good shoes. Just like with the gown, it's all about how you feel as well as how you look, and you're going to be in those shoes all day and all night. Comfort is key. One of the new trends is for the groom to buy the bride a fabulous pair of designer heels as a wedding gift, because she may already have jewelry or wish to borrow from her mom. Grooms say their brides swoon over a great pair of Louboutins or Jimmy Choo's. Wearing a pair of phenomenal designer shoes will make you feel like a true VIP on your wedding day.
Are there any items a bride should NOT cut from her budget or not look for a cheaper alternative?
The food, the food, the food! While there are lots of ways to get more catering for your budget dollar, it's never a good idea to under-feed your guests. Guests get very angry when you cheap out on the catering, especially since they have gone to so much effort to be there with you on your big day. The true gift you're getting is your guests' presence at your wedding, so feed them well, be extravagant, devote a larger portion of your wedding budget to unique and delicious food stations, passed hors d'oeuvres, a fantastic sit-down meal and desserts.
The second item to invest well in, and not attempt to replace with a cheaper alternative, is your photographer. Yes, they're expensive, but the good ones are truly worth it. Those gorgeous photos get more valuable over time, and this is not a day to trust to an amateur or the cheapest 'expert' you find. Research well, ask friends who they hired, and invest in the best package possible. It's worth every penny to get such masterful images of your day.
Is there a tactful way to ask mom and dad to help out?
Most parents expect to play a role in contributing to the wedding, so the best way to initiate this particular conversation is to make diplomacy your number one goal. Plan a get-together such as brunch or dinner at your place, if possible, with each set of parents separately. Here's the ideal approach: "Mom, Dad, we're so excited to share the wedding plans with you! We'd love to have you join us to tour potential reception sites and taste wedding cakes, and we definitely want to hear how you'd like to contribute, what you have in mind, what you'd like to work on."