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Wedding Week: Bridal Bargains

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Denise and Alan Fields
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008; 12:00 PM

Planning a wedding and hoping not to go broke in the process? Denise and Alan Fields are here to help! The authors of the best-selling book Bridal Bargains, now in its 9th edition, were online Wednesday, September 10 to offer advice on how to save money on invitations, gowns, catering, flowers, honeymoons... and still have a beautiful celebration.

A transcript follows.

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Alan Fields: Hi everyone! Denise and Alan Fields here, live from Boulder, Colo.

We are the authors of "Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget." As consumer advocates, we've been featured on Oprah, NBC's Today Show and (most recently) on the Montel Williams show.

"Bridal Bargains" first came out way back in 1990 -- yes, we have been researching and writing about how to save on weddings for 18 years! Our book is now in its ninth edition with 700,000 copies in print.

Along the way, we have interviewed thousands of couples about how they tied the knot without going bankrupt. Many of our tips and advice are from "real weddings" -- and from wedding vendors who spill the beans about how to really save and avoid scams.

We look forward to your questions!

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Washington: Any tips for saving money on engagement and wedding rings? Do you know the average costs for rings these days? Thanks!

Alan Fields: Platinum wedding rings are extremely popular -- but very expensive! To save, we suggest palladium -- a similar look but much less expensive (it is part of the platinum family).

As for discounters, we like the WeddingRingHotline.com -- good deals and savings about 30 percent off retail prices.

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Chesapeake, Va.: I love your book. It has helped me so very much. My biggest question: Since I'm new to my area, is it a better idea for me to invest in a wedding planner, or try to go it myself, using a lot of the internet for my resources? I know that I can find some great things online, but I don't know if I can find better off-line. Is it worth the money to find out?

Alan Fields: Thanks! We appreciate the kind words!

Good question. We would suggest a wedding planner if you are planning a large wedding in a town you are unfamiliar with. The key issue is the number of guests ... and whether you have the time to plan the event!

Yes, it takes about 100 hours to plan a wedding. So if time is tight, a professional wedding planner may be worth the expense (most charge 10% to 15% of the wedding budget).

A money saver: You also can use the catering manager at the reception site to help. They can usually recommend many wedding vendors, which could cut down the leg work!

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Detroit: How do I keep down catering costs, while still offering quality food (non-rubber chicken)? We're expecting about 200 guests and are on a tight budget. We'd like to host a full dinner, and would probably do a buffet, but are there other ways we can keep our costs down?

Denise Fields: Hi There! Great question. We definitely think a buffet with be less expensive. To save more money, have servers at the buffet so your guests don't serve themselves gigantic amounts. We have also seen modified buffets where guests are served a first course salad, then go to a buffet for the main course and side dishes.

Another money saver: ethnic themes. Tex-Mex, Italian, Asian -- all these tend to be cheaper (and more fun) than the typical rubber chicken sit down dinner.

Finally, consider a limited bar of beer, wine, a champagne toast and soft drinks. Or even better, a signature drink to go with your theme food: margaritas, midori martinis, etc.

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Thanks!: My wedding is in a month and your book was incredibly helpful in the planning. We still went over budget, but that's our own fault.

A couple of things I noticed: The bridal salons seem to be aware of their competition and ready to compete with internet-buy dresses. My dress was $100 cheaper at the salon than it was through your vetted internet sites. I couldn't believe it. I was happy, too, because I felt a little guilty for ordering online after the help they gave me.

We made our own invitations, and they turned out gorgeous. Our decision process was like this: For our budget, we can buy ready-made invitations we don't love, or we can make invitations we adore. The extra sweat and tears were well worth it. Thanks again!

Alan Fields: Thanks! Good point. Many wedding vendors (including bridal dress shops) are keenly aware of their online compeition. And given the economy, they are ready to cut deals! So we would recommend comparison shopping online and then taking that price to a retailer to see if they will match or beat it. And always remember the magic words when talking with wedding vendors: "Is this your best price?"

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Alexandria, Va.: I am looking for a wedding dress for a May wedding, and I love the glam/'40s/Hollywood style, but I can't imagine spending more than $1,000 on a dress I will wear once. Can you give advice or tips on buying pre-worn dresses, (trustworthy sites or vendors) or ways to get a great white dress that isn't exorbitantly expensive? Thanks!

Alan Fields: We like preownedweddingdresses.com as a good place to look.

Quick tips on buying a pre-worn dress:

• Remember that if it has been altered, it may not match the size stated. You'll want to get details on any alterations (hem is most common).

• Ask the seller for their height and height of the shoes they wore, as it might indicate whether the dress was shortened.

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Omaha, Neb.: Thanks for doing this chat. The subtitle of your book claims to help plan a wedding on a "realistic budget." What exactly is a "realistic budget?" Does your book provide help for couples who want to throw a reception for $3,000? Or for $500?

Denise Fields: Hi! Fortunately for you, the reality in Omaha is a lot less expensive than in Washington. You can throw a decent wedding in Nebraska for $3,000 to $5,000. The key to saving money is to plan in advance, consider off-peak times of the year and stick to a budget. We've found that food costs tend to be quite a bit less in the middle of the country, so your biggest cost, food, should be more affordable. As long as you don't have your heart set on a fancy hotel reception on a Saturday night in June, you can have a great affordable wedding.

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Arlington, Va.: I am getting married next June, and would not like to spend a fortune on flowers. How do I get floral centerpieces for a bargain without doing them myself? (There will be no time as I'm having a morning wedding.)

Denise Fields: Hi! One of the new tips we're adding to our next edition is the use of LED lights for simple floral centerpieces. You can get tall, skinny vases, put some clear marbles in the bottom with colored LED lights and then add just a few long stem flowers like dendrobium orchid sprays or cala lilies. You get a cool look without the oodles of flowers.

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Frederick, Md.: What are the best ways to save on flowers, music and photos?

Alan Fields: Two words you never want to say when visiting with a florist or baker: Martha Stewart.

Bringing in photos from Martha's magazine always signals that you want to spend big bucks -- because, of course, those magazines tend to feature elaborate cakes or flowers that cost a fortune to replicate.

Some quick tips:

• For flowers, order wholesale direct from the Web: FreshRoses.com and TheFlowerExchange.com have complete wedding packages that they ship to you via FedEx.

• Music: If you have near a university or college, contact the music department to find student musicians. Most moonlight at local events for a fraction of what professionals charge. Savings: $200 or more.

• Photos: Skip the professional album and create your own with affordable albums from sources like Exposures.com That can save you $500 or more.

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Washington,: Where can I go to get unique invitations?

Denise Fields: Hi! Unique invites are available through traditional stationers. Look for companies like Checkerboard or Elite. If you don't mind doing some of the work yourself, check out eInvite.com for some cool looks. The good news: they'll be cheaper.

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Washington: I don't want to spend a lot of money on invitations (I'd like to spend less than $3 per invitation) and places in the area seem so expensive. Does it make more sense to buy them online where I see designs I like for less? What is the advantage (if any) of going to a store in the area?

Denise Fields: Hi! Yep, we highly recommend online invite companies. Most offer guarantees and the prices are great. In fact, many of the online invite companies are owned by the same folks as those sold in stores. So you can often get the same design online cheaper. We recommend requesting samples of the designs you're interested in before you order.

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Washington: I want to serve dinner and drinks to 100 guests for less than $100 per person. This seems virtually impossible in the D.C. area! Many of the less-expensive venues have exclusive caterers; many also require the rental of tables, and chairs, let alone linens and flatware. Any tips?

Alan Fields: Yes, we agree -- it is hard to do any wedding in Washington for under $100 a guest. A few ideas:

• Consider a 2 p.m. wedding -- midafternoon means you aren't serving a full dinner, but more like a light lunch. Or go for a wedding brunch, which is usually much less than dinner.

• Consider a restaurant's banquet room, instead of a fancy wedding reception facility. You'll have to cut back on the guests (probably closer to 50 or 75), but they can usually do the even for less than $100 per guest.

• Go for an alternative site where you can bring in your own caterer. Call the local visitor's or convention bureau in nearby towns to get ideas for facilities that all offsite catering.

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To all Brides: This book is great. I used it for my wedding, and then bought it for every engaged couple I've known since then! Use it to have a beautiful, meaningful (and affordable) wedding and reception so you don't get brainwashed to compete in the Bridezilla Industrial Complex, get too stressed and spend your kids' college funds. Love. Your. Book. I've even used much advice from the book for other purchases as well!

Alan Fields: Thanks Mom!

Just kidding -- we appreciate that! You can pick up the keys to your new car at the front office!

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Washington: The catering cost is set by the reception venue... the major cost is the alcohol. Since we are paying by the drink, is it okay to give guests drink tickets (three or four) and then any drinks after that would have to be purchased? I don't want to seem tacky or cheap but my family doesn't drink.

Denise Fields: Hi! Another great question. Yes, the alcohol is the biggest expense at a reception. As we mentioned in another answer, you might want to try a signature drink rather than serving a full bar. If you still want the open bar, we recommend you set a limit with the caterer on the amount of drinks they can serve. Then serve soft drinks the rest of the night. If that still doesn't appeal to you, then by all means use the drink ticket idea. We just don't like the concept of having guests purchase drinks after they use up their tickets.

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Richmond, Va.: Thanks for your book! I got my dress from eBay (brand new Casablanca for an eighth the price), and we had an afternoon tea in a garden. With all the flowers outside, I didn't need much of a flower budget. We had scones, tea sandwiches and people felt satisfied and pampered at a fraction of the cost for a sit-down dinner. People can mingle so much easier than at a sit-down dinner anyway. People still talk about how special the reception was.

Denise Fields: Hi! Thanks for using our book; we really appreciate it. And you make a great point: have your reception at a time other than dinner. Tea is much more affordable as is brunch or lunch.

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Bay Area, Calif.: This chat and Wedding Week couldn't have taken place at a better time. I just got engaged and while I'm thrilled for the marriage, I'm filled with trepidation at the thought of planning a wedding. How can we have a reasonable wedding at a price that won't make me sick to my stomach and not exclude all the friends and family? More importantly, how can we spend our time planning our marriage and not get sucked up in the details of planning a one-day party?

Alan Fields: We hear you -- that scary sound is the Wedding Industry coming to haunt you in your dreams! But seriously, some key tips:

• Don't let the planning stretch out. More and more couples are planning weddings with less time than what you think you need (11 months is the average engagement). Brides and grooms are finding if there is less time, the wedding is simpler, smaller and (by definition) less expensive.

• Talk budget. Set a budget and tell every wedding vendor up front about what you want to spend. If you have a $1,000 to spend on flowers, say that up front with a florist and make it clear you need to stick to it. That way they won't waste your time if they have a $2,000 minimum, etc.

• Yes, planning a wedding can become all consuming. Take vacations from planning/talking about the wedding. No-wedding Sundays, for example!

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Temple, Texas: My wedding is in May 2009, and I am going for a simple, sweet affair. As such, I have decided to have daisies as my flowers since they are cheap and durable. Do you have any suggestions on how to get the best buy with flowers, like where to go and especially what to look for? I have your book: I love it!!!

Denise Fields: Hi! In Texas, you no doubt have local flower farms you can contact for daisies. That's one of the best ways to get great quality and freshness. Check with your local farmers market to find a local farm. Costco is another resource your can check out. They offer affordable flowers on their website and through their stores. Check with them. The key is getting as fresh as possible. Thankfully, daisies are very hardy so they'll look nice even in that Texas heat!

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Reasonably priced engagement/wedding rings: I know some people will scream in horror, but check out the moissanite rings. Moissanite looks like a diamond but is cheaper. I told my now-husband before we were engaged that I would never marry him if he spent money on a diamond. I get compliments on my rings all the time. They absolutely look like diamonds and I feel pretty good that he is still not paying for the ring but instead saved the money to buy our new house.

Alan Fields: Great suggestion! A great way to save! And really, can anyone really tell your ring is man-made (Moissanite) not real? Unless your friends are gemologists, they can't tell.

Another idea: shop at places that do not have wedding in their name. Example: Costco sells diamond engagement rings. And, no, you don't have to buy a 12-pack (Larry King to a white paging telephone) to get a deal!

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Cost of things: So I read over and over about how the average American wedding costs $20,000 (yikes!). But I have no idea how that breaks down. So, how much do people typically spend on flowers, food, DJs, photographers, etc.?

Denise Fields: Hi! Great question. First, you have to remember that "average" is misleading. It only takes a few $100,000 weddings to skew the average into the $20,000 field. So the median price of a wedding in the U.S. is really more like $15,000. Yes, in cities like Washington, it can be much more, but it doesn't have to be.

As for a breakdown, here's how it typically goes by percentage of budget:

Reception 46%
Photo/Video 12%
Attire 10%
Flowers/Décor 8%
Music 6%
Tips/Taxes/Overages 5%
Ceremony 3%
Stationery 3%
Wedding Rings 3%
Gifts 2%
Transportation 2%

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Atlanta: My wedding was a while ago, but all the caterers I spoke with told me that buffet would be the same price as a sit down (lunch, in our case). So don't be fooled into thinking buffet is less expensive, unless you really are going to be going very inexpensive on the food - but you can do that as a sit down, too.

Alan Fields: That is correct. It isn't how you serve the food, but what you are serving that really impacts the final cost. Seafood and beef are always more expensive than other foods (chicken), whether on a buffet or sit down dinner!

Sit down dinners require more labor (more waiters) than buffets. But that is balanced out by the amount of food served, which at a buffet can be more than a plated dinner.

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Washington: If I do take advantage of the planner at my location instead of hiring a wedding planner should I tip them at the end?

Alan Fields: No, that's their job (to help you plan the event), so no tip is necessary.

Now, if any wedding vendor goes above and beyond the call of duty (you know, extraordinary service!), then by all means, tip away! We know this is more of an East Coast thing -- and every wedding vendor on Long Island expects to be greased with a $50 for just showing up! But there is no need to tip every vendor at your wedding. One idea: Consider alternative gifts (bottles of wine) instead of cash.

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Palm Bay, Fla.: For the person looking for the Hollywood glamour dress under $1,000, check the Jessica McClintock catalog. May not be a brand name you'd brag about, but they do some gorgeous dresses for about $200. (Mine was very 1930s movie star, I thought, and the price was hard to argue with).

Alan Fields: RomanticThreads.com has medieval, Victorian and other vintage styles of wedding dresses. Most gowns are under $1,000 -- well-priced considering the quality of the fabric and unique designs.

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Baltimore, Md.: A new trend I'm hearing about is couples registering for honeymoon vacations or contributions to their honeymoons for their registries. Is this proper etiquette and might guests be offended by such a request?

Denise Fields: Hi! Yes, registering for a honeymoon is definitely an option that comes up more and more. We recommend if you go this route that you also have a traditional gift registry since some guests will want to give you a physical "something." But beyond that, since the money goes into a honeymoon account to pay for hotel and airfare rather than just a check, it's a great idea. We've also seen home improvement registries at Home Depot or even your local garden center. It's fun to think outside the box.

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Re: Dinner for under $100: I had my wedding at a restaurant. We just arranged to book the whole place on a Sunday night. We got a very reasonable price for a full course dinner and had an open bar. This was four years ago and came out to about $65/pp, including hors d'ourves, dinner, open bar, and wedding cake.

Alan Fields: Yes! Most folks don't think of restaurants and they are can be a great way to save! You'd be surprised how many have banquet rooms tucked away in the back that would make for a lovely, intimate reception.

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Caterers: I'm not necessarily looking to cut costs with this question, but hopefully it would be cheaper! I don't want catered food at the reception, but I want professionals to set up the buffet tables and provide wait staff. Can I get caterers without the food too? Would it be less expensive?

Denise Fields: Hi! We don't think you'll find any caterer to provide a wait staff and bartender, but there may be some temp companies that offer than service. And you usually can get a rental company to set up tables, etc., if you are renting from them. If the site has tables and chairs onsite, you can usually get them to set everything up. This will require more work on your part, but it may be a money saver.

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Sterling, Va.: Many couples start out with goals of "reasonable" weddings, only to get pushed by the wedding industry into goods and services they cannot afford. Several posters have suggested avoiding TheKnot and other Bridal magazines in order to maintain focus on your personal goals. I like this idea, but am wondering how to shop around for bargains AND avoid getting sucked into all the wedding marketing aimed at convincing me that price should be no object. Any suggestions on how to keep your head while doing price comparisons? Thanks!

Alan Fields: Think about the weddings that you have attended recently. Which were the best? And why? Most likely it was the music (a great band or DJ) or just simple touches (like a special part of the ceremony).

Think about it folks: does it really matter if your names are printed on the napkins? Or that the knife you cut the cake with is decorated with a corsage (a true suggestion from florists)? Cut out the fluff. We know, it all seems so important! But take a stand and make it simpler to save. We agree -- avoid looking at the bridal media (800-pound gorilla, the Knot) to keep from getting sucked in!

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Silver Spring, Md.: Please do not encourage anyone to give their guests drink tickets! That would be very tacky. I completely understand trying to work on a budget, but I think that a ticket system is not the answer. Try only having a cocktail hour open bar, rather than serving alcohol throughout the reception. I also don't like the idea of a cash bar, but I think that is more acceptable than tickets if you really have to.

Alan Fields: Just to be clear: We do not recommend cash bars or drink tickets. We don't think you should charge your guests for food or drink! But we also understand the outrageous cost of liquor is making couples cut back. And that's fine -- go with a signature drink or just beer/wine and champagne for a toast. There is no law that requires a full open bar at a wedding reception!

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Upper Marlboro, Md.: Why do venues think it is acceptable to charge more to have a wedding at the location than say a retirement/birthday party? Why the discrepancy in costs? As far as I am concerned, food is food and space is space. Unless an extraordinary request or requests are made, I don't see any justification for weddings/receptions to cost several thousands more.

Denise Fields: Hi! Excellent question. We hear from brides who tell us they simply tell sites they are planning a family reunion rather than a wedding. Then a few days before, they tell them they are bringing in a wedding cake. Once the contract is signed, they're stuck.

Engaged couples and their parents are often seen as cash machines to sites and services. So we have found many businesses that take advantage of brides and grooms. We often suggest buying items from businesses who aren't in the wedding biz, in fact. It usually saves big bucks.

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Washington: Hi There! My wedding is taking place next March in Key West, Fla.. I'm having a hard time finding jewelry for my bridesmaids that doesn't look cheap or cost a fortune. Do you have any suggestions on vendors/websites that have unique and classy pieces of jewelry that are reasonably priced?

Denise Fields: Hi! What about a mail order company like Ross-Simmons (www.ross-simmons.com)? They have good quality items, although some can be quite gaudy. If you stick with simple, classic styles, they have some nice stuff. Also check out Sundance catalog (www.sundancecatalog.com). You can search in your price range and the quality is excellent.

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Alexandria, Va.: Hello Fields family! My question is about reception venues. How does one find the appropriate reception venue? I'm new to the area and don't want to hire a planner. Are there any good comprehensive online resources? Thank you.

Alan Fields: This is the biggest challenge for any couple -- yes, you can find sites listed on wedding sites like the Knot. But we like going analog -- pick up the phone and call the local visitor's/convention office in your town. Most have lists of sites (that is what they do -- match folks to faclities). Even better, some will put out an e-mail blast to facilities to see if something matches your needs. Don't forget local colleges or universities; many have facilities that are open to all to rent. Scan local wedding message boards to see if brides have any good ideas as well.

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Washington: Our bridal party, plus our ushers, usherettes and ketubah signers, is large, and I don't want to spend more than 2 percent of our budget on buying gifts, but I also don't want to look cheap. Even if we did bridal party and parents only we're still talking 16 gifts. Any suggestions on gifts that would be nice and won't break the bank?

Denise Fields: Hi! What about gift cards? you can personalize them for each person's hobbies and tastes. Like Barnes & Noble for book lovers, Home Depot for fixer-upper types. A bottle of local wine is another idea -- see if you can get a local winery to do a custom label for you. That usually doesn't break the bank.

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Arlington, Va.: I had a beautiful, simple wedding two years ago for $5,000. Here are my tips: Decide what what is and isn't negotiable. If you don't have strong feelings about something (favors, etc.), either cut them or do them as cheaply as possible. Ask your friends and family if they know any potential DJs, officiants, photographers, etc. It turns out my mom knew a DJ (never saw that coming!) and he charged me (with "family" discount) $350, my dad knew a minister (free plus gift), and my brother knew a videographer ($250). Craigslist. That's where I found a wonderful photographer who had just graduated from school. I asked for references and samples, and booked her a year in advance, for $350. By the time my wedding came around, she was charging more than $1,500.

Alan Fields: Agreed on working your network -- do you or your friends/relatives know any wedding vendors? Think about where you work -- does your company do any business with a local printer? That might be a good source for wedding invitations at a discount. Love Craigslist! Some great deals to be had there! Great example.

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Chicago: I was browsing eBay for the bridal gown market (samples, apparent wholesalers, and pre-worn dresses) and noticed one or two sellers who dealt with high-end dresses that seemed to have really excellent customer feedback on their wares. How reliable are such vendors and how do I know they don't just slap a fake "Vera Wang" or "Monique Lhullier" label on their mass-manufactured dresses? I really dread having to go the retail route and would love to bypass that by either going thru Craigslist for pre-owned gown or thru eBay. Thank for your advice...

Denise Fields: Hi! We actually review quite a few of the online discount bridal options in our book. We've found vendors like RK Bridal, Pearls Plave, NetBride and Priceless Bridal to be reputable. They only sell actual designer gowns -- they aren't selling knockoffs. There are also Chinese manufacturers selling directly on the web. We have tips in the book for how to shop and buy from them. We've had mostly positive results from the Chinese companies -- they deliver designs that look similar to designer gowns at unbelievably low prices.

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Atlanta: The biggest roadblock to a decently priced wedding are reception site restrictions, particularly making you buy bad food, cake-cutting costs, and rental costs for tables, chairs, linens, you name it. If humanly possible, do it in someone's backyard or a site where you truly are just renting the space and the rest is up to you.

By following this tactic I was able to plan a D.C.-area, 50-person wedding in two months for $7,000, including full-sit-down dinner, open bar, rehearsal dinner, clothing and airfare for four family members. I did it by not buying anything from companies who primarily get their money from weddings. I highly recommend Costco, Walmart, Party City and Pier One Clearance Store. Everyone said it was the best food, champagne, liquor, cake they'd ever drunk/eaten at a wedding, and the decorations were so beautiful that guests thought I'd been planning it for years. You can do it people order online and shop for bargains at regular stores and ask everyone to pitch in on wedding day.

Alan Fields: Good points -- where you have your wedding reception drives much of the cost. And hotels and standard wedding sites will drive that cost skyward.

See folks -- a D.C. wedding for $7,000! You win the prize. Kudos on keeping it small.

One quick word on saving on wedding cakes: consider your local grocery store, Costco or (dare we say it) Wal-Mart. Yes, Wal-Mart makes wedding cakes for about $1 per slice (that's 75 percent less than other places). And, no, they don't have yellow smiley faces on them. Most folks can't tell the difference! Ditto for wine -- again, few folks can tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine. So just go for the basic most affordable option you can find!

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I used your idea to visit Convention/visitor's bureau website: Another good idea is your local newspaper's website. Most have a wedding section. Also call and ask them to send their annual wedding insert to you, they keep a box all year til the next one comes out in january. They often have some unique location ideas.

Alan Fields: Great idea! You are right that most newspapers have wedding sections -- and they can be a good source for sites.

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Arlington, Va.: To save some money on alcohol costs, we want to encourage our guests to select one of our "signature drinks." Only, we're having trouble coming up with ideas for these drinks! Got any suggestions on where we can find some ideas?

Denise Fields: Hi! You're right, it's hard to come up with ideas right off the top of your head. Of course, if you have a favorite bar, you can always ask the bartender for suggestions. But there are so many resources. You can surf the 'Net for ideas and there are many mixology books out there. One came out this summer that was just made up of sangria recipes. Just make sure you like it and it's reasonably easy to make (we suggest no more than five ingredients).

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Arlington, Va: I have a rehearsal dinner tip. My fiance and I were very stressed about the cost of a rehearsal dinner at restaurants in the area. What we ended up doing was getting a deal for a banquet room at the hotel our guests were staying at. We got a discount on the rental due to the business we'd already brought to the hotel. Then we found a delicious restaurant that provides large catering trays of food. We bought beer and wine, some candles and some flowers. It was inexpensive but didn't seem like it at all.

Alan Fields: Yes, if you are booking a block of rooms for out of town guests, by all means ask for a deal on a rehearsal dinner, honeymoon suite, etc. Given the slump in business travel, it is deal time at most hotels -- especially those that cater to business. We just came back from Vegas (business trip, of course) and most hotels are offering free nights with X day stays, given the economy.

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Wedding band ideas: My fiance works with his hands all day, in dust, dirt, grime ... so he got a tungsten carbide ring online. It arrived last week and it is really pretty -- shiny, heavy, all that good stuff. And for less than $100.

I ordered mine from circa1930s.com, which has beautiful old-fashioned style wedding bands in the $200-$300 range.

Alan Fields: Tungsten is a great alternative to platinum or gold! Great story. Platinum rings are so expensive ($1.000 or more) that other alternatives can save a lot.

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Denise Fields: Thanks so much for joining our wedding chat. We enjoyed your comments and hope our answers to your questions were helpful! Best wishes for your wedding!

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Alan Fields: Yes, thanks so much for joining us today! Great questions and comments. And best of luck planning those weddings!

Alan Fields
co-author BRIDAL BARGAINS
http://www.BridalBargainsBook.com

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