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My boyfriend proposed this weekend. We are planning a Fall 2007 wedding. We will be on a tight budget and would welcome any cost saving tips or tips in general!


Wed. Apr 19, 11:12am

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OMG!!!! Congratulations!!!!

Tight budget:
My friends that try to conserve money have had their wedding at a restaurant, with the person conducting the ceremony doing it right there. Usually restaurants have separate rooms and they usually have flowers, etc and they charge one flat fee which is KEY!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 11:16 AM

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CONGRATULATIONS!!! The money saving idea that we to vegas! LOL. We were married in Vegas and a lot of our friends and family came. It was a blast. And SO cheap compared to a traditional wedding. The whole trip probably cost $2000

Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 11:41 AM

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I'm working on a fall 2006 wedding (been engaged since last August). I can tell you - seriously - we wish we had planned a destination wedding somewhere. Go somewhere, to a beach, etc., for a long weekend and at the end of the weekend, the last night everyone's there, get married on the beach. Then send everyone home the next morning and stay for a bit longer for your honeymoon. The people you really care about will come, and you won't have to pay for your coworkers' dates, and other random people, who you've never met!

Additionally, see what you can do yourselves. For example, we bought a case of mini wine bottles (the kind with like 2 glasses in a bottle), at about $1 a bottle, from a liquor store, and a box of those name tag stickers, blank, and my sister made a "label" using a picture of a rose, and a text box over it with our names. Now we have personalized wine for every guest! If you took a little bit more time, you could print the guests' name on each bottle, with their table, and then it's their placecard too, if you're doing something sit-down, for $1 a guest!

Target has a surprisingly good selection of paper for things like programs, etc.

Unless you're very very social, consider having a very small wedding. We're inviting about 175, and honestly, I know that 80% of them, I really don't care if they share my wedding day with me or not. Think about who you really care about being there, rather than who you're going to offend if you don't invite them. It's your day, not theirs.

We have an opening in one of my groups, "Wedding Slimming" if you're interested!

Good luck!


Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 12:21 PM

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not really a money saving thing but something good to do in general

keep a notebook with everything from flowers to tux. Log everything in the notebook and use sheet protectors to put invoices, recipets, cards whatever. The more organized you are the less money you'll spend- that's been proven

Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 1:04 PM

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how to save money? elope! seriously. that's what i did. my husband and i wanted to buy a house at the same time. we had a housewarming party/wedding reception at our house after the wedding.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 1:16 PM

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I could give you LOTS of tips.

I had a big wedding (350 people), due to the number of people in hubby's family--(75 for HIS family alone) and the number of friends in my parent's community that had to be invited...

We did lots of things to cut costs... if you are truly in need of help, I could write a book-- I've been to over 40 weddings in about 14 years--and have seen the gamut--from spray cheese on club crackers in an unconditioned 10x10 room-- Not good in 100 degree/100% humidity August weather (Tacky and CHEAP--NOT recommended if you want any style what-so-ever!) , to a wedding of 500-600 people (just throw your bank account out the window!)...

Some ways to cut down the costs:

1) have a tea reception or a dessert reception. i.e. don't serve a full meal. However, you'll want to make sure not to have the reception during a meal time. Keep your eye on the costs, though, sometimes, it can be just as costly depending on what you order.

2) Flowers--depending on the time of year and the formality of the wedding, lots can be done here-- i.e. if it's a late spring / early summer wedding and an informal outdoor wedding, you could have friends bring bouquets of cut flowers from their garden and put into those in-expensive glass vases... (One friend went to Garage sales & estate sales and bought old tea pots and coffee pots and used them as vases for cut flowers from the garden.--very pretty AND cheap!)

At my wedding, my mom opted to create the centerpieces (I opted to stay as far away as possible on that day-- too much stress for the bride.) She had a friend whole-sale order the fresh flowers, candles, floral foam and trays. We must have saved at least $2000 on flowers alone!

For one event, I went to the local farmer's market and bought some flats of flowers (this was in spring) and then got some mini flower pots and just re-potted the flowers into the pot... Used them for centerpieces with some baby's breath. they looked very informal for a spring event.

3) Cakes - watch for places that charge a cake-cutting fee.. PER SLICE...
One friend opted for a "tower of cupcakes" - each frosted like little flowers--- very pretty and no cake cutting fee!

4) Timing: An "off night" such as a Friday or Sunday wedding is usually less expensive than a Saturday wedding. Planning around a holiday can sometimes be beneficial-- 1) the guests may already have time off, so more may come (as long as you give them ample notice) and 2) Some places have discounts on particular holidays because traffic may be low at that time of year.

If you're Christian, then having the wedding around the time of a high holiday like Easter or Christmastime means that the church is already decorated (and you don't have to get flowers for the ceremony).

5) Location: Restaurants may be cheaper than banquet halls. Ethnic restaurants tend to be of good value... Also if you want something more informal, how about an outdoor "picnic" type wedding or a BBQ vs. a sit-down formal wedding?

6) Consider having a friend make the cake as their gift. I was lucky, my sis-in-law was an awesome baker and she made me a beautiful cake! :-) It was probably worth at least $500... AND it tasted and looked great! Of course, you have to be absolutely sure that whoever is baking your cake is reliable!

7) if you want live music and have friends who are musicians--consider having them give the music as their gift...

8) Limit your bar (if you intend to have one) to beer and wine vs. premium liquor and close the bar down early. (i.e. at midnight instead of 1 a.m.) 2 good things come of this-- 1) it's cheaper, 2) less likelihood of friends over-indulging.

9) Instead of a limo, if you have a friend with a nice car (maybe a nice minivan, so that it's easier to get into and out of.) have them wash it up nice and shiny and decorate it and have them be your "chauffer" instead of renting a limo. Cheaper, and you don't have to worry about how long you have the car! (Make sure, however, they will be sober when driving!)

10) Consider creating your own wedding cards vs. ordering from a catalogue. These days, there are lots of ideas in scrapbooking magazines, rubber stamping, computer clip art, digital photos, etc. all you have to do is to make 1 original, scan it into the computer and print out on card stock. :-)

11) Make your own veil! Not all that difficult. A little hot glue, rhinestones and a pre-made netting and you're all set.

12) Save on a garter-- get a cheap garter, glue on some fancy ribbon (blue) and rhinestones, etc. You're all set!

13) Book your honeymoon way in advance (if you're doing a get-away trip or a cruise, etc.) Usually, there are discounts for booking early and cruise-lines will upgrade you if you book early.

14) Bridal Gowns-- Make sure that wherever you get your dress, the salon INCLUDES alterations. it's insane how much places will charge you to put on a button or to raise a hem! If you're going for a less formal wedding-- don't shop in the wedding salon, but look in you local department stores for a nice white dress or suit--they tend not to be as expensive. If you have a family member who is a seamstress, you could always get your dress made as well!

15) Tuxes - lots of tux rental shops give the groom a tux for free with a certain number of groomsmen. OR, one of my friends had her fiance Buy a tux--if you look for sales, sometimes they are not that expensive, ANd he'll have it for later! If you're doing something less formal--your fiance could buy a suit instead...

Do splurge a little on a good photographer--make sure you get someone reliable. If it's a friend who's shooting the wedding, make sure that they are responsible enough that they will shoot the photos you need. (and make sure that you are confident of the quality of photos they will be shooting!

I could go on and on... :-) but hope this helps!! :-)

Irissvb If you're in need of other ideas, just make a comment in my log. :-)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 4:23 PM

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Oops, I just noticed that you are planning a fall wedding... The flower ideas will still work-- just use fall flowers instead.. :-) (depending on how late in the fall!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 4:24 PM

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My fiance and I live in one location while our parents live 2 hours away. The majority of our family lives by our parents with only a few friends and limited family by us. Is it wrong if we decide to have it where we currently live? I know our parents would rather it be by them. But it would make things very difficult to plan. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 9:46 PM

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your wedding, not your parents. do what you want

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 12:07 AM

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The last poster is right. It's your wedding, your day, it's all about you. Don't try to please anyone else especially if it will make it more difficult for you. 2 hours away is nothing. The people who love you will come. Most people have many family members and friends flying in, so if a 2 hour drive is too much, oh well. You can also find some great dresses in consignment shops, I found mine there and it was stunning and only cost $350, in fact I turned around and sold it in a price war for $700, crazy huh? Another tip, small quiet hotels, they usually have great rooms and most are already decorated and its usually a flat fee.

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 1:46 AM

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To address the location issue, I'm also engaged, and live in Chicago. My parents and my fiance's parents live in Milwaukee (2 hours away). My parents are throwing the wedding - so there's the reason to have it in Milwaukee. If we were throwing it ourselves, it'd be better to have it in Chicago. However, I've been up there to see the florist, the cake place, pick out tuxes, buy my dress, pick the bridesmaids dresses, etc. And some of those can be done in any city, not necessarily the one where the wedding will be. Honestly, it hasn't been that big a deal to go up there; if it were going to be in Chicago, I would've still wanted my mom to come down to help plan, so one of us has to drive anyway.

Also, having a wedding in Milwaukee will cost half (or less) as much as having a wedding in Chicago would cost. Consider where you live and where your parents live, and think about cost when you decide where to have the wedding.

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 12:50 PM

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My fiance and I would like to do something different for the wedding cake. I have seen really cute cupcake towers and would love to have one at my wedding. We're even thinking about making it ourselves. Has anyone ever had one, made one, or seen one? Any suggestions?

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 3:55 PM

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My friend had the cupcake tower (with little cupcakes that were decorated with frosting like daisies on top. It was very pretty! :-) Plus, if a guest wanted to take it home, it made for easier carrying. :-) I don't really remember if she had fresh flowers there, but I think the cupcakes were on a stand that had several tiers.

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 4:01 PM

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Location Issues

If you're paying for the wedding, Yes, I would say that it's your choice.

However, if the parents are paying, then I think you need to respect their wishes to have it closer, since they are footing the bills.

Or, you could maybe pick something in between...

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 4:02 PM

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Cupcake towers

My FAVORITE cupcake tower:

here are a few more...
Scroll down for the first one and there are several-


Thursday, April 20, 2006, 4:38 PM

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To the previous poster...I loved this example:
It is adorable. I had considered making mini towers as center pieces. That would be so cute.

My boyfriend loves to cook and bake, He is interested in doing it himself! Anyone ever made there own cake?

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 4:47 PM

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Just a little note about the destination wedding... I had a close friend who went to Jamaica for her wedding. Some people were unable to attend (myself included) due to the cost - Jamaica at Christmas/New Year's. If there are people who you definitely want to attend your wedding, and you want to do a destination affair, you will have to think about their costs (not just your own). My though about a destination wedding... there are plenty of ways to cut costs and include the people you want.

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 4:48 PM

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to the 4:38pm poster

Where did you find this one:
I would love to see if i would be able to get the tiers that the cupcakes are on. The ribbon is adorable! I'm sure you can rent them.

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 4:54 PM

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I could take probably 20 people to the Caribbean for a long weekend plus wedding for the same price that we're spending on our wedding for 160 guests. It's not cost-saving, necessarily, but it would've been headache-saving!!

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 5:18 PM

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Destination weddings and weddings around major holidays are very inconsiderate to your guests like inviting someone you don't really care much but know they won't come - it's like asking for a wedding gift without paying for the persons meal. Plus everyone knows that you do Xmas weddings to cut costs.
Do something off beat like wedding on the beach at sunset. Look for non-profits in your area, they are usually much cheaper than catering halls and plus you're making a good deed! National parks are probably tough to get, but state and county parks could have great facilities and be inexpensive - especially in the fall after the high season.
If you live near major metropolitan areas, research ethnic caterers and dining halls - they're much cheaper. I'm sure they could whip something western along with their ethnic fare. I once saw a woman at an Indian sari shop, buying a sari as a dress for her wedding. I thought it was unique and inexpensive.

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 5:21 PM

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wedding location

when i originally posted the question, I wasn't really referring to destination weddings. But more do we have the wedding where my fiance and I currently live or by our parents (which is 2 hours from us). It would be more convenient for us to have it where we live. But, that would require 90% of the people to travel. Any comments/suggestions?

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 9:37 PM

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I think the answer is in your question. You know that 90% have to travel. That means that you would be inconveniencing most of your guests. Knowing the price of gas has sky-rocketed and will continue to go up, if you are expecting 90% of the people to drive out of their way to attend your wedding, that may be a bit inconvenient...

Then again-- it also depends upon the age group of your guests. Are you talking about 20 somethings with not much disposable income, or an older group of people who are more established?

I think it might be kind of selfish to expect everyone to go that far...

Thursday, April 20, 2006, 11:21 PM

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I personally do not like it when the bride and groom plan a wedding at a place that forces us to drive hours and hours and pay for a hotel. I think it's just way to selfish on the part of the wedding couple. We had our wedding at a place that would be convenient for most guests, that was very important. Sure, it's your day, but you want your guests to be happy too. I don't think two hours is too much though, that is fairly reasonable.

If you want to cut costs - simplify. It can still be elegant and pretty, but simple is great. To save on flowers we had large flower baskets made up of living flowers, and then we could enjoy them for months to come. We had little flower pots on the tables with flowers in our wedding colors, and then we gave these away to guests as they left. We didn't have favors, because no one keep these anyways. Have fun, and keep your sense of humor, and you will enjoy your wedding!

Friday, April 21, 2006, 5:10 AM

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If you want the wedding in your area (2 hours from the guests) and want to lower costs for everyone, have an afternoon wedding. Places are generally cheaper to rent in the afternoon than at night, and caterers charge less for lunch than dinner, etc. And your guests can drive down in the morning, and back home in the evening, and not pay for a hotel, if they choose. If they have to pay for a hotel in order to stay over, but they don't necessarily NEED to stay over, you'll cut costs on the rehearsal dinner too, which should be open to anyone from out of town, but, the 2-hour-away people probably won't come.

Friday, April 21, 2006, 11:13 AM

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Recteption Tips

The first step is picking our reception and ceremony place. Any cost saving tips on that?

Saturday, April 22, 2006, 11:51 AM

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If you are affilaited with a church, this is usually the least expensive place to do it. It seems that if you are a member most of them will let you use it for free or inexpensively. Believe it or not we actually used a place that is a senior center, very popular for weddings because they are right smack on the Puget Sound Waterfront, a beautiful setting with the mountains and the ferry in the background. It was comparatively very reasonable. Shop around and see what you like!

Also, lots of city parks in our area will let you rent space very inexpensively which you can dress up as you like or get a tent. There are also some lovely community centers and historic buildings that can be rented for weddings and those are fun locations. I have a friend who just got married in the town square of a small tourity town in a large gazebo they use for concerts and such in the summer. She had her reception in the grange hall which was very inexpensive. Also, private organizations like they Elks and Eagles will rent space reasonably. To save money, do the ceremony and reception in the same place, that's the best deal. Country clubs are really expensive, generally.
Shop around and have fun!

Saturday, April 22, 2006, 7:34 PM

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When my dh and I got married we lived in another state as his parents (home state about 4 hours drive away) and my parents (new state, not the one I grew up in and further away than future IL). So when we were down visitng his parents- I we, knew that everyone would have to travel anyway and it just seemed simpler to have it in my IL's state. It was. We went driving around (7 years ago before gas prices hit the roof) and found this inn that was so cool. The atmosphere was great, the food was awesome and they did weddings there. We planned the whole day there. I had my hair done by someone in town that morning... We picked flowers on a visit- it was a friends company. I even bought my dress in the other state and had my fittings there- was from a large bridal dress chain. We had the ceremony out under a huge tree, the reception followed, then an early dinner/late lunch... with an "after party" in another room in the same inn. We opened some of the gifts then. The inn did the cake... put flowers on top. No need to rent a limo. We had toyed with the idea of renting a horse and carriage but really would not have had the time to enjoy it. My parents only underestimated the open bar... and should have gone for the group price instead of per drink option because people drank way more than they thought. We got a dj too.... and they were also able to suprise me with a great bridal shower as most of dh' friends were in his IL state... My mom even showed up and a friend from my state... I was totally blown away, they got me so good.
It was great and I would do the same thing all over. Yes we had to go to the other state for blood work and tests and other things- so with todays gas prices that travelling might not work... but it really was alright.
For centerpieces I got cookie trays from walmart and spray painted them white. I then painted or sponge painted roses on the top part of the trays in the color of the bridesmaids dress.. It was so hard to coordinate, when you put purple up to it, the color was blue... when you put blue up to it, the color seemed purple... argh... so paint and being able to mix my own colors was my best option. I then sponged leaves in green and shellaced the whole tray, usintg gold marker to write on the bottom the wedding date and our names. We then had some sort of sticker on the bottom of one chair for who would get the centerpiece. I then planned to have tea light candles on the trays with rose heads... though I ended up forgetting the tealights and the white roses ended up being laid across the trays. People loved taking the roses home with them. It is funny now, in the video you can see my reaction briefly when I see the centerpieces not quite how I had pictured... anyhow it was a hit and no one knew the difference.
My dad actually wanted me to produce more of the trays but I flatly refused, dointg 10-14 of them was enough. I did the trays too because the inn used lanterns on the tables so my trays went well under the lanterns. It has been so long... and for the most part the whole thing is a fuzzy haze anyway... you will remember the love, not all the details and what you went through to get there.

Sunday, April 23, 2006, 10:29 AM

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Location poster ^^^

Oh yeah, and we all stayed overnight at the same inn as well... even some relatives from far away... Dad might have gotten a group rate.

Sunday, April 23, 2006, 10:41 AM

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Most hotels will give you 1 night free for every 10 nights that are booked for your party. They'll block off a number of rooms for you (however many as you ask for) at a group rate, for free. Then, if you decide to stay in the same hotel for your wedding night, your room will most likely be free. Our guests are staying 2-3 nights each (most of them), and we'll have probably 20 or more rooms full. So, we'll have about 5 "free nights." We're going to use one of them, for our wedding night (but NOT tell the other guests that we're staying there, so they won't come knocking!) and we'll give the rest to relatives.

Also, airlines and car rental companies will give group discounts if you call them. They'll usually give you a promo code for your wedding, and you give that out to guests, and then they can get a discount. And, the airlines will typically give you benefits for getting them business. For us, I think, if we have 10 roundtrip tickets purchased through our promo code, we get a bunch of frequent flyer miles; for 25 tickets purchased, we get a free round-trip ticket anywhere in the US. I may have the numbers off, but, it's definitely a benefit!

Monday, April 24, 2006, 10:14 AM

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the promo code on the airline thing is a great suggestion! i'm working on a reunion, so that might be worth a look!

Monday, April 24, 2006, 12:10 PM

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Check into the hotels around the wedding location-- you may be pleasantly surprised at the rates.

I travel for work and have to go back to my university campus every now and then. There is a really nice hotel (TownePlace Suites) that is almost 1/2 the cost of the Residence Inn--not really sure why, it's actually closer to campus, but a little hidden from the main roads.... It's actually MORE convenient, but since it's a suite-styled hotel room and they don't offer the frills of a nightly "free meal", the cost is only $59 a night vs. $99....

As my hubby & I have travelled, we have found some hotel chains to be pretty good for the price (La Quinta comes to mind for a "nicer" hotel, but reasonably priced--we used to go to Knight's in for affordable, but not "modern" (in terms of decorations) hotels, although we haven't been in one in a few years, so I'm not sure if they are still okay....

Some ideas for out-of-town guests-- go to the AAA (if you are member--or fidn a friend who is) to get maps of the area, maybe even some discount coupons for places to stay or attractions to visit.) If you have any local goodies (chips, pop/soda, or other little munchy stuff.) look at the local grocery stores, and make up little brown bags of goodies with a "local flavor" for your out-of-town guests--that will make them feel more welcome, if they do have to travel from far away.

Lots of things little things can be done to add a special touch, without breaking the bank!


Also, if you haven't yet set the date--make sure your wedding is not on a weekend where there is a large local event (i.e. basketball, hockey, baseball, conventions, etc.)--that may drive up the prices on hotels and the cost of your reception....

Monday, April 24, 2006, 12:19 PM

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I was just surfing the web at, and came across this article about how to take wedding ideas from celebrities, and do them low-cost, just thought I'd share. There are definitely some cute ideas!



Monday, April 24, 2006, 5:14 PM

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catered vs all inclusive?

Have you compared prices of renting a facility and having it catered vs. having it at a location where it's all done there? I'm curious what your thoughts are?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 1:36 PM

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keep it small and try a park near water that has a nice backdrop, ask around for someone who takes great pictures but may no be a professional with professional prices, decide how important a big beautiful cake is and maybe you have a family member who loves to make fancy birthday cakes and would be suitable for your special day with a little practice. have a local restaraunt cater instead of a catering service that usually charges more also, dont worry about bridesmaid and flower girl dresses from a boutique, jc penny or chadwicks online have nice dresses for alot less.
good luck and happy planning!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 2:40 PM

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Me and my friend got married last year and now i would like to share my experince with all of you people. My budget was round $5k and and i save $900 in my shopping. My friend is very smart guy he suggested me that to pick some top stores and i picked as he said then he used some deals and coupon code on that stores from, and Iwas surprised about my savings which i got though couponing.

Friday, November 30, 2012, 7:02 AM

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One of the most exciting parts of your wedding planning is finding the perfect wedding venue to hold your special day barn wedding venues in florida. And the county of Essex now has over 100 wedding venues for couples to choose from.

Saturday, September 05, 2020, 7:26 PM

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I have a wedding coming up, help me choose a dress

Thursday, December 24, 2020, 12:54 PM

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Hi, my friend recently had a wedding and we were also interested in the question of the right dress for this holiday. We came across Hamilton bridal boutique quite by accident. This is just a wonderful store with a huge selection of dresses and accessories for the wedding. Definitely recommend it.

Thursday, December 24, 2020, 12:59 PM

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