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The Budget Bride: Wedding Planner Donnie Brown's Top 10 Tips

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Dallas-based wedding planner Donnie Brown (donniebrownweddings.com) has planned the nuptials for over 2,000 couples during his fabulous career. Keep reading for his top 10 ways to keep your bank account in the positive when planning your own trip down the aisle.

Hire a wedding planner. It might seem ridiculous to spend money on someone to coordinate your wedding. However, a good wedding planner can and usually saves you their fee in better deals with vendors as well as insuring you don't over-spend in some categories. They also eliminate stress by managing your wedding for you.

Reuse, reuse, reuse. Don't let anything get used for the ceremony that is not a viable option for the reception. Pew decorations work well tied to the wedding party chairs. Alter arrangements look wonderful flanking the stage. Attendant's bouquets dress the brides or grooms cake tables wonderfully.

If you don't want to spend top dollar on your gown, wait until the salon or boutique you like has a clearance sale. They will usually sell their inventory at fifty percent off or more when it is time for the new merchandise to come in. Just ask the receptionist at the store when they will be having their winter sale prior to the new spring lines coming in. It is as easy as that.

Get suited up wisely. If the men in your bridal party are opposed to wearing tuxedoes at the wedding, consider going to a budget men's clothing store and get nice suits, have the buttons removed and replaced with fabric covered tuxedo buttons. It turns a nice suit into a formal suit with the snap of a finger. And may make the men in your life happy too!

Don't believe the hype. Buffet's are known for being less expensive than plated dinners. But a plated dinner is actually less expensive. The reasoning is that a buffet must be full and inviting for a long time. It must be replenished until the last guest has made their final trip to the food display. With seated dinners, the caterer can better measure the amount of food prepared and served without any issue of a few guests grazing until they can no longer fit through the reception room door.

Share the bill. If you are holding a church wedding, ask the church office if there is a bride before or after you that you can contact to perhaps share the expense of the wedding ceremony floral and decor. Half price is always twice as nice.

Ask and you might receive. Ask your floral designer to loan you the vases for your reception. They need the business and can certainly loan you these items rather than rent them. This saves you money and gets them a sale. In today's economic climate, a sale is a sale. They can make it up on the next client!

Think outside the box. Hold your wedding on an off day or month. Fridays or Sundays are wonderful and not as sought after as Saturdays. As well, try off seasons in your geographic region. If you live in the northeast, perhaps you should do a winter wedding when everyone else wants spring summer or fall. If you live in the south, try summer while the other brides fight over the spring and autumn dates.

Stay away from February. Floral items are marked up 200-300% in the month of February due to Valentine's Day cost increases. This makes for a difficult budget line during the planning of your wedding.

Keep it together. When selecting your invitations, remember to brand your wedding with custom logos and have all the printing done at once. The save the date cards, the wedding invitations, the rehearsal dinner invitations, the programs, the escort cards, the menu cards, and even the thank you cards can be personalized and printed all at once. This is a major job if you let it get broken into individual pieces. Save time by planning for all your printing at once.
***Special note: Fill out your thank you cards as you go along. Every time you get a gift, write the thank you note. You do not have to send them out until after the wedding and honeymoon but try not to procrastinate. You will be glad you did.

Filed Under: Bridal Bliss
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