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10 ways to find a dream wedding dress you can afford

The best things in life don’t always come cheap. Are you on the search for your dream wedding dress, but struggling with the price attached to it? Well, you aren’t alone!

Wedding dresses, especially designer wedding gowns can be very expensive. It may seem ridiculous to spend a major chunk of your wedding budget on a dress that you will wear just once in your lifetime. However, your wedding is also the most important occasion of your life, and you cannot afford to look anything but stunning on this day.

After all, how you look as a bride on this day will forever be etched in everyone’s memories. As wedding planner Ashley, of The Graceful Host mentions in this Style Me Pretty Article, all eyes are on the bride. And your guests will definitely remember “The Dress.” So, what you choose to wear on your big day is a very important decision. 

Fortunately, there are many ways to find a dress that is drop dead gorgeous without breaking your budget. Let us take a look at the various ways in which you can find such a dream wedding dress, when cost is an important constraint.

1.Sacrifice the designer tag

Top designer dresses are very costly, and the designer tag contributes to the price. However, it is likely you may find a great dress sans this tag, at an affordable price. Take pictures of the dresses you like to your dress appointment. Ask your bridal consultant to find a dress that fits your budget, but has most of the features you desire. More often than not, you should  be able to find such a dress in their collection, although it may not carry a designer tag. It is a good idea to visit stores that carry collections of varying price ranges, as well as in-house creations to improve your chances at this.

2.Keep an eye out for sample and clearance sales and trunk shows

Most wedding dress boutiques host sample sales and trunk shows at specific times during a year. Dresses at sample and clearance sales often have their prices greatly slashed. This is because during clearance sales, boutiques try to sell off existing stock to make space for new designs. At sample sales, they sell off shop floor samples at highly discounted prices. Trunk shows usually have dresses that are new to the market and are thus introduced at a much lower price. Hence both options present a good opportunity to find a wedding dress that fits your budget at a highly reduced cost.

Check out your local stores and find when their next sale is scheduled. If a sample sale falls during your engagement, plan your wedding shopping at that time. Take a look at the stock on sale and see whether it has a dress that you love. The only likely issue is that dresses at such sales are often available only in standard sizes. If you fall on either end of the size scale, this option may not work out for you.

3.Make the most of coupons and discount vouchers

Many bridal shops try to increase sales by offering coupons and discount vouchers on select designer lines. Such information is usually displayed on their websites or social media pages. If you are planning to shop in your local neighborhood, it is a good idea to browse through the wedding dress websites first. Also take a look at newspaper ads, magazines and wedding vendor listings on websites to come across current promos. If you are lucky, you may be able to snag a good discount on certain wedding dress collections and get a great dress for less.

While some boutiques offer promotional offers throughout the year, others do so at the end of a certain season or when a new dress line is introduced. Prepare yourself to shop when such a deal is available, if you must avail of such opportunities since they are usually time-bound.

4.Look for places that promote referrals

If you have friends or relatives who married recently or are currently engaged, you may be able to snag a referral discount through them. Many wedding boutiques offer special discounts on referrals. If you have friends who recently purchased a wedding gown, target the store they shopped at. If they have a referral program, you can use it to get a discount. Alternately, you may be the first to buy a wedding dress in your peer group. However, you may have friends who are soon to go wedding shopping. In this case, you can offset some of the money you spent through a referral incentive. Ask your friend to provide the shop manager with your reference, and they will either give you a discount voucher or cash back offer, once your friend makes a purchase.

At Best for Bride, we offer a $50 referral bonus on every gown that is purchased by a new bride who visits us on your recommendation. With no upper limit on the number of referrals we will pay, this is a great option for you to recoup as much of the money you spent on your gown, as is possible. Further, your friend will also enjoy a 10% off her wedding gown price, when she uses your referral. So, it is a win-win situation for both parties.

5.Find a custom dress designer

There are many benefits to custom designing your wedding dress. When you have your dress custom-made, the dress is unique and meet your specifications. No one else will have a similar dress. You can also find a compromise between the price and design features you desire. By opting for economic fabric choices, embellishments and design details, get your wedding gown made to your desired specifications. Hence it is a budget-friendly option, provided you find a good tailor for the job. Fortunately, many bridal shops have their own in-house custom dressmakers. Or they may be able to direct you to a suitable seamstress who can handle the task. Either way, with their experience in bridal dress making, these experts can easily design a beautiful dress for you.

6.Shop in other aisles

If you are flexible with your options, it is likely you can find a cheap, but gorgeous dress that wasn’t intended as a wedding dress. Bridesmaids collections and evening dress collections usually have plenty of beautiful white dresses that can pass of as wedding dress. Take a look at this roundup on A Practical Wedding for bridesmaids dresses that work as wedding dresses.You will find various silhouettes like the sheath, A-line or even fit and flare dresses that are perfect for various wedding themes. These are splendid choices, especially if you choose a relaxed and casual wedding style. Although you may have limited choices this way, it is nevertheless a good idea to consider when you are on a tight budget. You can even add extra embellishments or dress up with suitable accessories to achieve your preferred bridal look.

7.Opt for a gently used dress

Bridal dresses that have been worn just once, but promptly preserved and put aside after the wedding are often as good as new wedding dresses. The best thing about such dresses is that they are often sold off at a fraction of the original cost. Thus, it is a great way to find a designer wedding dress for much cheaper than you would in a store. There are several websites that specialize in second-hand wedding dress sales. If you are flexible with your options and ready to invest time and effort in finding options, it is a feasible solution. If you are lucky, you may even find a second hand unboxed dress, that wasn’t used. This happens when brides decide on another wedding dress after making the purchase, and try to sell off the first one.

Nonetheless, you should be careful when searching for a gently used dress. Make sure you are sure the dress is in excellent condition before agreeing to the sale. Also, determine if the alterations are reversible and you can alter it to your exact measurements if you decide to buy it. For all that you need to know about pre-owned wedding dresses, take a look at this article on the Bride Box

8.Explore wedding dress rentals

If you cannot afford to buy a brand new dress, why not rent it? Wedding dress rentals are a practical and sensible option to look amazing on your special day. Several wedding dress boutiques offer this option. They thus give brides the chance to choose a dress they love at a fraction of the original cost. After all, you will rarely have another occasion to wear your wedding dress. Hence the money you spend on it may not always be justified.

However, every bride wants to look beautiful and wear a dress she loves on her wedding day. If you cannot afford to buy such a dress, rent it and look fabulous on the occasion. You can return the dress as soon as the wedding is over. Apart from wedding dress rentals, it is also possible to rent your accessories and complete your bridal look. This is the cheap way to be a beautiful bride, without spending a fortune.

Best for Bride has a rental option for brides. For more details on this service, take a look at this link on our website. 

9.Buy online

Nothing compares with the fun and excitement of going shopping for your wedding dress at a store. However, you may not always find as many dresses at a store, as you would online. The best place to find a wedding dress that ticks all the boxes, is online. This option allows you to compare prices, designs and even stores. You can finally zero-in on a dress that fits your budget and appeals to you.

Except for being unable to see and try the dress in person, you can find all necessary information about it on the website. There will be pictures from different angles that show the dress details clearly. It will also include the price options, comparison with other dresses and other relevant information to help you make your decision. Some dresses even have free shipping, giving you better value for the money you spend. You can also take your time to make your decision without any pressure. The only thing to remember is to pay attention to customer reviews and feedback. Always pick a reliable seller to make sure there are no nasty surprises when the dress arrives.

10.Try your luck at bridal contests

Search online and you will find several wedding competitions that give away free wedding gowns to the winner. These competitions usually require you to promote their products or company name in different ways to be eligible for the prize. Visit bridal shows, shop promotions and local boutiques to find out about such contests that you can participate in. If you are lucky, you may win a wedding dress this way without spending a penny on it.

So, you see, it isn’t necessary to always buy a brand new wedding gown. There are other options that allow you to look fantastic on your wedding day, while sticking to your wedding budget. Remember that whether you buy a brand new wedding dress or score a budget dress, what matters is you are happy with your choice. Don’t worry about what others think or say. If you are happy with your choice, the details are irrelevant.

At Best for Bride, we have many amazing deals, discounts and offers on wedding dresses all the time. We also carry wedding dresses that fit every budget, that you can view and shortlist on our website. Visit this link to our bridal collection to find all that you need for your special day. 

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Clever tips for shopping and choosing your wedding accessories

Jewelry and accessories play an important role in your bridal look. It is thus important that you plan your shopping well, so they enhance your overall bridal look. For, only then will all the elements come together in a cohesive manner and enable you to look gorgeous.

Although jewelry and accessories are an important part of the bridal outfit, most brides think of them as an afterthought. This is one of the first mistakes to avoid. Instead of just going shopping and picking up something that you think will work well with your dress, plan your look well. Think of the different options that will enhance your features, show off your dress and complement the theme. This will help you narrow down your jewelry and accessories choices better.

Here are some clever tips to help you get an idea of how to choose the right wedding jewelry.

Always buy your jewelry and accessories after the dress

It isn’t uncommon for brides to end up buying a dress that is totally different from what they envisioned. In fact, we have lost count of the number of times a bride comes shopping with a definite idea of what she wants, and walks out with a dress that she never imagined she would buy.This is why we suggest that you shortlist the features you want to see in your dress. You can then look at dresses that satisfy most of your preferences, if not all. Remember that you may end up going on an unending search to find a dress that satisfies every one of your requirements, unless you have it tailored. Hence we suggest you first pick the dress, and then move on to looking at jewelry.

Let your dress be the guide when picking jewelry and accessories

The right type of jewelry and accessories work with the wedding dress, not against it! Brides who strike the right balance between the dress and the accessories look amazing. So, as a general rule of thumb, choose simple accessories if your dress is opulent. If your dress is simple with few features that stand out, heavy and flashy accessories are suitable. Look at the neckline, sleeves, how heavy the skirt is and work in the bodice to decide what would look appropriate to balance out your look.

Look online before you go to the shops

Most jewelers and accessories vendors list their inventory online. You can also find plenty of inspiration on the internet, on Pinterest and bridal websites. It is a good idea to browse through the different available designs and identify options you like most. Since you may not be used to wearing elaborate head pieces, veils and tiaras before, it is a good idea to gather information on what would suit your style, facial features and taste. An online search will help you understand what is available. Visit various jewelry websites to make use of offers and discounts that will help you get a better deal for the money you spend on your accessories.

Choose your outfit properly when you go wedding shopping

The neckline of your dress is a big factor to consider when picking jewelry. If your accessories clash with the neckline, the entire effect will be ruined. To avoid this, wear a dress or top with the same neckline as your wedding dress, when you go shopping. This way, you can gather a fair idea of how the necklace, earrings and veil will look with the wedding dress neckline. Also choose a light or white colored top, to get the actual picture of how the jewelry will look against your dress. If you wear a colorful dress, the color of the stones will show up differently than it would against white.

You needn’t buy if you would rather rent

Just like wedding dresses, wedding jewelry isn’t cheap. If you are a person who loves jewelry and will most likely use your wedding gems after your wedding day, it is a worthwhile investment. However, if you don’t normally wear jewelry, it is a better idea to rent. Many wedding dress rental shops also rent out wedding jewelry. You should be able to find accessories that match your wedding dress with this option. The shop that you rent from may ask you to put down a deposit for the time you take the jewelry away. However, it is the easiest way to looking great on your special day, at minimum cost.

Match the stones and metals

What we mean by this is that you should keep the effect cohesive. When you shop for wedding jewelry you will have various options like rhinestones, pearls, colored gemstones and more. Try to achieve a cohesive effect by choosing the same type of stones for each of your accessories. Similarly, be careful about mixing different metals as it can look cluttered. Don’t mix and match too much or you will ruin the overall effect. Even if the pieces look good on their own, they will not contribute to your look if they are all too different.

Know the best combinations for the white of your gown

Wedding gowns come in different shades of white. There’s bright white, champagne white, ivory, candlelight and ecru. Different metals look good with the different whites mentioned here. Pearls and metals with silver finishes are best with pure or bright white. Off-white colors like ivory and candlelight work well with gold and silver. Champagne looks good with rose-gold embellishments and jewelry. Ivory and ecru have yellow undertones and are good with yellow gold. You can also look at the embellishments in your gown, as a guide. If your gown has crystal and silver embroidery, choose the same colors in your jewelry. Similarly, if it features gold or pearls, it is best to follow the same in your gown for a cohesive effect.

Re-purpose traditional jewelry for a contemporary look

If you have heirloom jewelry that doesn’t fully appeal to your taste, don’t reject it saying it doesn’t fit your style. Nonetheless, don’t wear it as it is if you aren’t fond of it. Instead, consider whether you can re-purpose it to suit your modern taste. Many jewelry shops offer this service. So, you can transform your family heirloom into a modern design with their assistance. Simply decide what you want the heirloom piece to be transformed into. Don’t limit yourself to making small changes. Brides have changed necklaces into earrings and bracelets, and strings of pearls into hair accessories. Ultimately, the important factor remains that the sentiment is still there, while you can wear jewelry that is more your style on your special day.

You don’t have to wear one of every accessory

The last thing you want to do is look cluttered with gems. Too many accessories and jewelry will make you look too busy. The different things you wear will then drown in sparkle and not be visible. The better option is to wear just the pieces that are actually necessary. It is a good idea to have one focal piece of jewelry and one or two more pieces to complement it. If your wedding dress is simple, make your focal piece big and bright for more sparkle. In case it is an ornate gown, keep your jewelry simple and light to get the look right.

Think of how photogenic your gems will be, when you choose them

Although your accessories may look fabulous to your eye, it isn’t necessary that it will photograph equally well. Certain stones may have a dull finish that will have an old and faded look in photos. And intricate finishes may not show up in pictures. So, pay attention to how your jewelry and accessories will reflect on camera. We suggest that you take some pictures to test how they look when clicked and only then make your final decision.

Be bold, go for color

Although there are plenty of options these days, not all brides are comfortable in anything but a white wedding gown. If you aren’t sure, but you love color, explore the variety of colorful gems to add that pop of color to your outfit. Take a chance with color, and you may be pleasantly surprised. Colored gem stones accentuate the beauty of any outfit. They are hence a perfect choice for the bride, especially if your wedding has a color theme. Colored gems give you the chance to incorporate the color theme into your wedding attire. Choose sparkling stones like sapphires, emeralds and rubies for a radiant effect and gems like jade, turquoise and coral for a casual wedding theme.

Don’t forget to check how you look from every angle

Don’t focus entirely on how you look from the front, when choosing accessories! Remember that you will be facing away from your guests during the ceremony. So, use this opportunity to show off some extra style. Use dainty hair accessories that pack a punch from the back, or include a sash that has a beautiful tie-back that will impress. Additional accessories can help you look good from all angles. So, choose wisely.

Avoid extreme trends

Your wedding photos are images that will be frozen for eternity. Your generation, as well as future generations will always remember you by how you looked on your wedding day. Don’t appear dated in them by choosing jewelry that is too trendy and will go out of fashion in no time. Classic styles are always fashionable and hence a safe choice. However, if you want to try out contemporary designs, do so by all means. Just ensure that they aren’t styles that are entirely new on the wedding fashion scene.

Make the most of package deals

The bridal ensemble takes up a huge chunk of the overall wedding budget. One way to make your money go further is to opt for package deals that give you more value for the money you spend. For example, bridal shops often have big discounts on jewelry and accessories, if you buy it along with your dress. This will allow you to find the accessories for your big day without breaking the bank. At Best for Bride, we often have deals on accessories that are purchased with the wedding dress. The alternative is to have a flat percentage off the dress price. When you compare both options, you will realize that buying accessories as part of the package will help you save more.

Everything depends on your personality

We mentioned a number of rules here. However, no rule is set in stone and everything finally boils down to what you like. If you want to bring on the bling, do so! Or if you aren’t satisfied with the just one statement piece, wear all that you like and plan the rest of your outfit to balance it out. If you don’t favor jewelry, keep it simple and find basic pieces that suit your taste. You should be comfortable with the choices you make, as this is what will reflect on your wedding day. As long as you love what you see, you won’t regret your choices later.

So, tell us how you have planned your wedding day look? What are the accessories you chose and what did you base your decision on?

At Best for Bride, you can find amazing wedding gowns as well as superb accessories to enhance them. Everything from the veil and tiara, to jewelry and shoes are available in-house and online, so you can pick your choice easily. Check out our website to learn more about what we have for brides like you. Additionally, you can also find out about the special package offer we have on accessories that are purchased with the wedding dress. For more wedding tips and advice for brides, stay tuned to our blog page.

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15 easy ways to personalize your wedding

Your wedding day is one of the most important days in your personal life. So, why not make it entirely your own?

This is possible when you carefully plan out the details that can make it unique. With so many factors going into every wedding, there are no dearth of options to add a signature touch and style to your special day. And the good news is that it doesn’t have to be handmade or homemade. All it takes is some creativity, and you are on the way to having a bespoke wedding; one that will be remembered for its personal style.

Here are some interesting ideas to inspire you. Check them out to choose ones that appeal most to you. Don’t forget to tell us which of these you have decided to embrace in the comments section below.

Start with your save-the-date

save-the-dateGet creative when drafting your save-the-date cards. Play with interesting quotes, jokes and notes to make it different. You can also make it truly yours by adding your picture to it. This is a great way to make use of your engagement photos in a photo card, and give your guests a sneak peek at what is in store at the wedding. (More about how you can nail your engagement shoot in this article on the Knot.)

Or, if you and your fiance share a hobby or passion, let it reflect in your  cards. This could even be the theme of your wedding. Or skip save-the-date cards altogether and go with a save-the-card magnet instead. It would serve the purpose, but have a unique twist to it.

Add your personal touch to the invitation card

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All your guests expect to receive a standard invitation card. This card would contain all the relevant details about the wedding in it. Surprise them with a fun invitation with a feature they least expect to see. Let this be a reflection of your personal style and unique in every way.

From engraved real wood invitations to fairy tale story wedding invitations and cards with hand-drawn illustrations, there are many unique ideas on this article at the Brides website. Take a look and make your pick. 

Add unexpected elements to your bouquet

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The bridal bouquet is a wonderful accessory to add your special touch. We have watched brides wrap lace hankies around the stems, pin brooches and decorate with family heirlooms for an extra-personal touch.

You can also personalize it by adding a photo locket to it.  Or choose flowers that are not commonly used in wedding bouquets. Don’t go with the traditional choices. Instead spice it up a little with an unusual twist on your bouquet, and let it be a symbol that stands out.There are plenty of non-traditional bouquet ideas on this article at the Martha Stewart website.

Design your own wedding dress

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The wedding dress is the focal point of the bridal look, and one that never goes unnoticed. It is also the one wedding detail that will help you make a statement. Although it is tempting to try the numerous designer dresses out there, remember that there will be at least one bride who has worn the same design.

However, this isn’t the case when you custom-create your own bridal gown. Identify a talented bridal dress maker who understands your personal style and preferences. Use her services to custom-create a dress that is perfect in every way. You could even take an heirloom wedding dress and re-purpose it into a modern wedding dress with features you fancy. It won’t be too expensive when you do your research well and find the right person for the job. If you think you have the skills to make the dress from scratch by yourself, this article on A practical wedding blog is pretty helpful. 

Engrave your favorite quote on your wedding rings

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Pick a short quote you love or one that you can relate to as a couple. Split it in two. Have the first half engraved on your ring, and the rest of it on your fiance’s. This is a symbolic extension of how both of you complete each other, and I think it is very romantic.

It could even be something special that the two of you only know about. A simple engraving such as this will definitely add to the sentimental value of your wedding rings and make this prized possession even more special.

Make your own monogram

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How about customizing everything in the wedding with your own personalized monogram? It is easy to make an interesting monogram with both your names using free online monogram designers like this one.

Design it in the colors of your wedding theme and personalize it with a design of your choice. Then use it on your invitations, wedding favors, website, thank you cards and even in the posters and rest of the wedding décor. Thus, a monogram allows you to mark everything wedding-related with your personal stamp and make it more memorable.

Or have a custom couple portrait rubber stamp made

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An interesting alternative to the monogram is a rubber stamp with your custom couple portrait on it. You can get this done for a small fee on Etsy, and choose from various options according to your preference.

The fun part is that you can use this wedding stamp beyond the wedding day. You can use it for various celebrations afterwards, and even for personal correspondence. So, it is a fun keepsake that you should definitely consider.

Make your welcome gift meaningful

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Even if the hotel where you host your guests has a welcome gift in the package, make an effort to make it extra-special by adding your personal touches. Remember that the greeting gift makes a lasting impression, and you want to nail it.

The guests who have taken the trouble to fly in from far to be part of your special day deserve it too. A pretty box will make an amazing presentation, and use custom labels and tags to decorate it. (This is where you monogram would be really useful, don’t you think?)

Personalize your wedding program

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The wedding program is an essential part of the wedding ceremony, as it lists the details of the events in your wedding day. Sadly, the program serves little to no purpose and is simply discarded at the end of the day by most guests. With a little creativity, you can transform it into a memento that your guests will feel like holding on to.

An easy way to do this is to add a functional aspect to the program. This idea on the Real Simple Blog suggests printing the wedding program on a fan. I think this is brilliant, especially at a warm summer wedding. It is likely the guests will find it so useful that they decide to actually take it home with them to use again. For more interesting ideas, check out this article. 

Add a photo board to your wedding décor

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A photo board is entertaining and interesting, especially if your guests have to wait a while between the different events on your wedding day. Use pictures to tell your guests the story of your courtship and your interesting journey as a couple.

Add both casual and professional pictures to this photo board and place it at a strategic location. You can also create smaller photo boards and distribute it throughout the venue. Let your creativity flow as you design these.

Have unique bouquets for each of your bridesmaids

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While we are all for a cohesive look to tie your wedding details together, this doesn’t mean everything should perfectly match. Take inspiration from the bridal bouquet when planning the bridesmaids bouquets. However, make it different for each bridesmaid.

Customize each bridesmaid bouquet to represent the woman who holds it. While all the bouquets should have a cohesive factor, let subtle differences set each bouquet apart from the other. This way, your bridesmaids will feel extra-special, and your guests are also bound to notice the uniqueness. Use ideas like bouquets of the same color, but different flowers. Or, bouquets with the same flower throughout, but in different shades.

The centerpieces deserve attention

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The details that matter the most are those that people are bound to see from close. This is why your wedding centerpieces are important. Instead of spreading it out horizontally, I suggest you do a vertical centerpiece. This will add more impact and grandeur to the entire setting. Just make sure that it doesn’t obstruct the views of those seated opposite to each other on the same table.

Use an eclectic collection of items and vary the designs across the hall to make it more interesting. Inexpensive décor items like tea lights and candles can instantly add a unique feel to the entire setting. So, consider these options as alternatives to standard floral centerpieces.

Serve signature cocktails

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An open bar is fun, but signature cocktails are better. It is easy to add a personal touch to your wedding this way. Use your creativity to come up with interesting names for each of the cocktails you serve, and display the name in a creative way. Also add special garnishes to make them prettier.

Use the serving glasses to double up as party favors, and have your monogram added to them for this purpose. Not only will your guests enjoy the gesture, they will also remember your celebration every time they happen to see the glass you gifted them. For bottled drinks don’t forget to add custom labels to make them just right for the occasion.

Let your deserts do the talking

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Your wedding cake is a statement piece at your wedding. So, make the most of it and it will be remembered by your guests for long. You do not need a towering one to make an impact. For it is the unique details that have better effect.

Unexpected embellishments and life-like toppers are ideal. Or, you can entirely forego the cake and choose to have a desert bar instead. Serve up a variety of decadent deserts that will tease every taste bud and will be appreciated by one and all.

Always pick edible favors

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The likelihood of your wedding favors being unused is small, when you gift your guests edible favors at the end of the day. After all, who can say no to a snack.

Use custom wrappers or boxes to add a touch of finesse to your gift, and pick from popular favorites like cookies and pop corn as the content. These mini-delicacies are just right for munching on after the drive home, and do not spoil easily. It will give your guest a chance to recollect the events of the day, as they leisurely chomp it down once they are back home.

Have you thought of any other idea that will help you personalize your wedding and make it extra-special and memorable? If so, we would love to hear from you.

For more wedding related tips and advice, keep visiting us at our Best for Bride blog page. Best for Bride is the one-stop wedding destination for all things wedding-related. With an impressive collection of bridal dresses and dresses for the bridal party, we have one of the most important aspects of your wedding planning covered. Also find evening dresses, dresses for special occasions, accessories and a range of wedding services on our website.