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How to find an amazing wedding dress on a small budget

Wedding dress shopping is one of the most exciting wedding planning tasks for a bride. After all, the wedding dress is the focal point of your bridal look. When you get the dress selection right, you will look gorgeous on your wedding day.

Although nothing beats the thrill of discovering “the dress” from numerous available options, it isn’t always possible for every bride to buy a brand new dress. A new designer wedding dress is always expensive. Fortunately, it is possible to get married in a beautiful dress even if you must work with a small budget. All that you require is early preparation and flexibility with the best options available.

A budget wedding dress will trim your overall wedding expenses. According to this article on Project Wedding, couples should allocate no more than 10% of their total wedding budget to their outfits. This amount doesn’t include just the bridal dress. It should include the groom’s tux too. Unfortunately, not all brides can find their dream wedding dress as well as fit all related extras like accessories and alterations within this limit. 

Nonetheless, it is no big deal if you are ready to go the extra mile and find a budget-friendly dress. When you do, the good thing is that you can allocate the remaining funds to bigger priorities like the menu, entertainment or venue. So, the benefits are many.

As the first step, here is what you should do so you find the dress of your dreams sans the hefty price tag.

  • Start early. You cannot zero in on the right wedding dress till you know your wedding style and venue. Soon after your engagement, quickly identify your wedding venue and theme. You can then go on the search for your wedding dress as early as is possible.
  • Recognize what you want in your wedding dress. Complete your wedding shopping research in advance. Identify the silhouettes you prefer and create an inspiration board with the dress styles and features you like. Shortlist this and you can recognize exactly what is right for you.
  • Locate the different sources. These are places where you are most likely to find dresses that fit your expectations. Again research is necessary. Set aside few hours and track down and note likely places where you can find the best dresses.

Once you have the information we enlisted, it is time for shopping. Here is how you can find a gorgeous wedding dress for less.

Sign up for alerts on discounts at leading bridal stores

Every bridal store holds discount and clearance sales at some time of the year. The earlier you identify the dress you want to wear, the sooner you can make the most of such sales. You may not find all bridal stores advertising their sales in full swing. They usually announce such details on their website, social media pages or through email newsletters.

So, subscribe to their mailing list and visit their social media page to stay abreast of such news. Also visit the websites regularly. This will help you discover limited time offers and discounts as and when it occurs. You can also contact the store over phone and inquire when their next sale is.

Be ready to shop at the right time

Most stores hold sample sales when they need space for new collections. So, time your shopping accordingly, and you can snag the best deals. New collections enter the market just before spring and fall. So, stores clear their racks around this time. This is when they slash the prices considerably, as they have to get rid of existing stock to accommodate new ones.

Although this means you will have to choose from previous collections, you will still have plenty of choice. After all, not all people follow bridal fashion trends closely. As long as you aren’t looking for an extreme or brand-new trend off the runway, you should find what you want in these collections. Shortlist the designer collection you want to buy from and keep track of stores that carry these collections. Then, it will be easy for you to plan your shopping when there is a sale. Many shops also give huge discounts at the time of bridal shows. So, you may benefit from it if you plan your shopping at that time.

Consider buying a floor sample

When you buy a wedding dress, the normal procedure is that the boutique will place your dress order in your size with the manufacturer after you make the payment. However, the shop will also have floor samples for you to try on when you go shopping. If you are fortunate to find that the shop sample fits you closely, you can ask the shop whether they are ready to sell it to you. If they agree, you can get your dress at a significant discount.

Make sure that the sample is in relatively good condition. It should ideally be just the right size or slightly bigger, so you can have it altered to fit you perfectly. A gown that is too small or too big isn’t recommended, as it may lose it’s original impact and finish if it requires significant alterations to fit.

Consider buying a gently used dress

Many brides who initially decide to save their wedding dress may later change their minds and put it up for sale. Most of these brides take the trouble of having their dress dry-cleaned and preserved professionally after their wedding day. This means that the dress will be very well-cared for. With the considerable difference in price, this is a good option.

Many brides advertise their dresses on websites like Oncewed  and Pre-owned wedding dresses.  So, stay tuned to these websites and you should come across suitable advertisements. However, remember that you may not always find the exact designer dress you want in your size, when it is second-hand. Shop with an open mind and you can increase your chances of finding a dress that works. Don’t forget to ask the seller about what type of alterations they did on the dresses, to identify if they are reversible.

Search for second-hand but never worn dresses online

There are many brides who buy a dress and even have it altered, only to later realize they aren’t happy with their choice. Instead of continuing with the same dress and ending up with dress regret, they decide to buy another dress. There are also cases where the dress is never used because of the wedding being canceled.

In all these cases, the brides often sell the dress off at a discounted price to adjust for a part of the expenses they incurred. These dresses may not have their original packaging, but are usually as good as new, and have the tags still on. You can always negotiate the price and get this as-good-as-new dress for a heavy discount.

Visit trunk shows

Trunk shows are a good place to find discounted versions of designer wedding gowns. The only catch is that limited sizes are usually available for a certain design. Also, you should expect trunk shows to have a big crowd. So, it is best to attend the show with a bunch of friends. After all, what are your bridesmaids for?

Be alert so you can find out about any upcoming trunk shows. The first two days are usually the most rushed. If you are not too particular about a certain dress itself, skip the first day or two and go when the crowd will be much lesser. However, don’t expect anything like a regular dress appointment. You will have to share space with others if you have to try the gown out. Also, you can’t linger on forever to make your decision. It is best to attend a trunk show with a number of possible alternatives in mind, and be satisfied with the one you find from this list.

Look for exclusive online coupons and discount vouchers

Many bridal stores offer exclusive online offers which you may not find in-store. Make the most of such offers and get a significant reduction on your wedding dress. Since these are limited-time offers, it is a good idea to first decide which is the dress you want by shopping at a store.

Once you have made up your mind, don’t purchase the gown just yet. Wait till they have a discount or offer on the design, and you can have your overall price reduced to a great extent.

Explore good package deals

Many bridal salons give you a bulk discount when you buy accessories like shoes, jewelry, veils and sashes along with your wedding gown. Although this technically doesn’t change the price of the gown, it gives you more for the money you spend.

You will anyway have to accessorize your wedding dress. Buy all your extras from the same place where you buy your gown, if they have a good discount on it. This is often better value for money than having your gown’s price reduced. You can then divert the funds saved for your accessories to another wedding expense.

Look other than in the wedding dress section

Depending on the type of wedding you have in mind, you may not even have to search through wedding dress collections to find the right dress. For weddings based on a casual theme, like a beach wedding or a garden wedding, the requirements are often different. Rather than being weighed down in a heavy, elaborate wedding dress, a light, breathable dress would be more suitable.

Although there are bridal collections that cater to these requirements, you can also find such dresses in bridesmaids dress collections and dresses for special occasions. The difference is that the cost is less. So, you can enjoy the look for less when you choose dresses other than wedding dress.

Have an old dress re-purposed

Has your mother or grandmother lovingly preserved her wedding gown to hand down to you? If yes, we think you should take a good, close look at it. You may not find it suitable to wear as it is, unless you are looking for a vintage style. However, with the help of a talented dressmaker, you can easily transform this dress into one that satisfies your modern taste.

Most parts of a well-preserved gown are suitable for reuse in a new dress. You can also have it altered, dyed or customized to meet your specific needs. In any case, working with an existing dress will allow you to have your wedding dress for much cheaper. Also, wearing this heirloom on your special day will be a tribute to your mother or grandmother. It will be a very sentimental moment for her!

Rent your dress

The final, but very practical option to having an amazing wedding dress is to rent it. There are many bridal shops that offer rental services. The benefits of this option are many. You can find amazing designer wedding dresses that you couldn’t otherwise afford, for a fraction of a cost.

Also, with a dress rental, you needn’t worry about taking care of the gown or preserving it after the wedding. Return it to the shop and they will do the rest. With a huge chunk of your budget saved in this manner, you can allocate it to other wedding expenses.

So, tell us, which of these options do you think is best and practical in your case?

Whether it is a brand new wedding dress, rental, discount or sale, we have all the options at Best for Bride. We pride ourselves on our lowest price guarantee. So, expect only the best quality for the best prices at the Best for Bride stores. Check out our clearance and discount section for amazing deals and bargain shopping offers all-year round. And for more tips and tricks on planning your wedding on a budget, stay tuned to this page.

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10 things your wedding doesn’t really need

Weddings are expensive affairs, and it is not worthwhile to spend money on the so-called “must-haves,” which end up being not so essential after all. It is quite commonplace to get caught in a rush, and ticking things off your list as quickly as is possible, when planning your wedding. In all this hurry, you may easily overlook what is actually necessary and what can be done without.

So, we suggest you take a break from all that wedding planning for a bit, and actually look at that long list you have. A few minutes is all it will take to analyze whether you need to do everything that is in there, but definitely do this. This well-spent time will help your budget go further.

We have some tips from our wedding planning experts, who have seen enough weddings to precisely tell us what we can do away with, and still have a fantastic wedding day. So, in no particular order, here is the list!

Save-the-date cards

spotted save-the-date

Save-the-date cards are just another expensive piece of stationery, that you can do without. This is very true if you have a short engagement. Your wedding invitation, on the other hand, is a must-have! Almost everyone has an email or social media account these days. So, just send out an email once you finalize your wedding date, and that should be enough for everyone to mark their calendars. In case there are those who don’t operate online, you can inform them with a personal letter or phone call. Or, if there is little time left till the wedding, just send the invitation as soon as is possible. When you think of the postage and printing charges for a bunch of save-the-dates, don’t you think it is worth spending that money on something else?

Guest books

wishing well

Your guest book may not cost you a significant amount, but when planning your wedding, every bit counts. It will, in the end, just be a book that will be stashed away and hardly remembered. How many of your guests will do much more than just sign their names into it, and what purpose does that really serve anyway? Now if you were opting for a guest book alternative, like a wish well or a wish box, it would be nicer. You could use this in your new home as a wall or mantel display. This will certainly be more enjoyable than a guest book that will be put away with the rest of the wedding stuff you may never touch again.

A fancy cake-cutting set

cake cut

When you spend a huge amount on a designer wedding cake, do you think it is necessary to get a fancy cutting set to do the honors? This is an item with a one-time use, but it can be pretty expensive. What is more, your caterer may even have one that you can borrow. Or it may be available at the venue, if the place hosts weddings regularly. So, check this option out before you go shopping. Or, you can just ask family and friends. If any of your friends have bought a brand new set for their wedding, they may lend it to you for your cake-cutting ceremony.

A big bridal party

Image Credits: Micadew, via Flickr
Image Credits: Micadew, via Flickr

There is no right or wrong number of members in your bridal party. If you have plenty of friends and relatives who must be beside you when you say “I do”, so be it. Otherwise, keep the numbers small, and many, including you will be relieved. It is expensive for you as well as your bridesmaids, when they are in a wedding party. The bridesmaids will have to put aside a considerable amount for their dresses, accessories, hair, makeup and the wedding gift. Similarly, the couple will also feel obliged to buy special wedding party gifts and share some of the bridal party expenses. Instead of all this, if you keep your wedding party small and include just those who are essential, you save everyone a lot of trouble. Not only do the potential bridesmaids candidates just have to worry about getting you one wedding gift, you can also skip the extras like expensive wedding party gifts. And lesser the number of women, lesser the drama! Have a Maid of Honor and a bridesmaid, or even two Co-maids of honor and you should be good to go.

Too many details

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An elaborate centerpiece with hundreds of intricate details works just as good as a budget-friendly simple and stylish smaller centerpiece. Similarly, party favors wrapped in cellophane, and then packed into a custom bag and topped with a fancy ribbon will do not different than one packed into a small box. And we don’t even have to get started on how expensive and unnecessary fancy linen is. When there are too many details in a wedding, it loses its charm. Your guests will simply get lost in the several things that they may not remember most of it at the end of the day. So, focus on creating only a few signature elements that stand out from the rest. Stay away from the smaller details that don’t contribute to the bigger picture, and you will save yourself a lot of stress. Instead, devote attention to making your wedding day fun and enjoyable, as that is what will be most memorable.

A band

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Let’s face it, a band is very expensive. So, unless you are very particular you must have a group of performing artists at your wedding, skip it altogether. A DJ with a play list of songs that will entertain the guests at your party, can make your party just as interesting. Perhaps even more, if you find the right person. Also, it will mean a lot less to co-ordinate. Or, if you can manage a good quality sound system, you can create your own list of songs on a CD and have it played at the wedding.

A registry

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If you know exactly what you want in your new home, or you are particular about not keeping anything more than you actually need, a wedding registry may be a good idea. However, if you aren’t really sure of what you should have, or what you will find useful in future, skip the registry altogether. Trust me on this, creating a registry when you are unsure of things will only confuse you more. You already have so much going on for your wedding, and planning the registry is one tiring detail that you don’t have to add to it. Not having a registry will give your guests the flexibility to figure out something they think will be useful. Don’t you think the surprise of opening up each gift and discovering what they’ve chosen for you will be real fun? And, if you get lucky, your guests may even skip the idea of getting you a gift and give you cash or gift vouchers instead. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it now?

The latest designer wedding gown

Walking down the aisle as a beautiful vision of white is possible, even if you don’t spend a chunk on a brand new designer wedding gown. There are so many economical options that can still help you realize this dream. Choose a gown from the previous season’s collections, and you may get it at a discount. Or visit the clearance sale section of your wedding shop, to find what captures your fancy. You could even rent your gown or buy one second-hand, and nobody has to know. After all, it is a one-time occasion, and not a dress you have to wear everyday. If you can get what you want for a fraction of the cost of buying a fresh off-the-runway, designer wedding gown, you must be really smart and practical! Don’t worry about compromising on style or look, when you opt for this route. Check out our special offers page on Best for Bride for some fantastic offers that will definitely transform you into the beautiful bride you always dreamed of being, but without the hefty price tag attached to it.

Wedding programs

program

Another piece of stationery that you can easily skip are wedding programs. It is common practice to hand out wedding programs before the start of the ceremony, and the paper that goes into making it is usually not cheap. However, have you ever noticed where these programs end up after the ceremony? In the trash, of course. So, why should you spend a fortune on getting them printed if they serve no real purpose? I like this idea on The Every Last Detail blog, to use a large signage instead, noting the key participants in the ceremony and order of events. Not only will this detail have a huge visual impact, it can be done at a fraction of the cost of printing hundreds of wedding programs. Also, it serves the main purpose of providing the information that your guests actually need, and in a no-fuss, but classy way.

Personalized wedding favors

favors

Cute little trinkets, personalized tins, glasses and photo coasters may all be very attractive, but how many of them will actually serve any purpose for your guests? While you may have to spend a fortune on your wedding favors and pay extra for custom details like adding a photograph or message, will it ever be used or even saved for later? The best favors that wedding guests actually use are edible ones. So, if you must have a wedding favor that will please everyone, consider cookies, candy, preserves or chocolates. You can personalize these with a photo wrapper or printed message wrapper, if you want that personal touch in there. If you don’t think this is good enough, the next best options are candle holders and potted plants, that can be established into any home easily. Not all your guests may appreciate displaying photo favors with your picture, so save yourself your hard-earned cash and stick with what will actually be useful for them.

A towering tiered cake

wedding-cake-975344_640

Earlier we mentioned that you do not need a fancy cake cutting set, to cut your designer cake. Now we tell you that you do not even need a fancy towering cake to impress your guests. You can do the same with a smaller couture cake, that will be just as spectacular, sans the size. Firstly, this means you can have a gourmet cake done with excellent details, just for the cake cutting ceremony. Sheet cakes done in the same flavor can be served to the guests at their tables. Not only does this minimize wastage, there are no compromises on style either. Or, if you are feeling bold enough, skip the cake altogether and choose an alternate dessert. For options, check out this previous post.

A weekend wedding

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Sure, you want everyone to be at your wedding! But, if a weekday ceremony saves you a tonne of cash or helps you get your dream venue which is booked for all weekends, so be it. This article on the Huff Post tells us that guests who want to be at your wedding won’t really mind taking a day off work for it. If you plan the event on a Friday, it would also help them kick-start a long weekend. Nobody will be complaining, I am sure!

So, tell us now, which of these things will you be eliminating from your wedding plans? Or, is there something that you have decided to skip, but we have missed in the list. Do let us know in the comments below.

Best for Bride helps prospective brides and grooms find everything they need for a fantastic wedding. From wedding dresses, dresses for the bridal party and essential wedding services, we have everything bridal under one roof. Check out our website today, to find what you seek, and come one step closer to having the perfect wedding day.

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10 smart ways to save on your reception cost

Your wedding reception will take over a big part of your wedding budget. With many things to rent for the occasion, from the décor to the tableware and seating, it will all quickly add up and cost a lot. While there is no way you can escape from setting aside money for your reception, there are some smart ways in which you can have a fantastic reception without breaking the bank. This is what we will look at today.

Read on for 10 tips on how to save as much as is possible on your reception cost.

1.Choose one venue for both the ceremony and reception

church wedding

One of the best ways to reduce your overall reception expense, is to choose a single venue for both the wedding ceremony and reception. There are many benefits of choosing this option and they include the following

  • You have more flexibility in timing, as you do not have to account for the transportation time between the two venues
  • There is no need for additional transport arrangements to help guests travel to the reception venue, from the wedding venue
  • Guests will be happier if everything is staged at a single venue, as the likelihood for delays and waiting time are less
  • This is obviously a cheaper option. Even when the ceremony venue is a church, you will have to spend more in terms of a donation or ceremony fees.

2.Choose items that do double-duty

By this, we mean you can make your money work more if your décor, seating or anything else can work in more than one way. For example, if your wedding ceremony and reception are at the same venue, consider having the flower arrangements done in such a way that it can be reused as reception centerpieces. That way, all it takes is a few extra minutes to move the arrangement to the reception venue and set it up. Although it may involve a certain labor cost, it will be much cheaper than having the entire reception venue decorated from scratch using fresh décor items. You can also choose wedding favors that act as place cards. Similarly, here is a suggestion we found on the Knot web page, that sounds sensible. Consider using simple glasses in a universal design to serve all your drinks, instead of having to rent various types of glasses for the different drinks that will be served at the reception. The same idea is useful for every wedding aspect you can consider, including your wedding dress. A two-in-one wedding dress that can give you two different looks, is a brilliant idea for a wedding. The Mori Lee 5316 with a detachable tulle skirt is one such dress.

3.Look for all-inclusive packages

all inclusive

Unless you have the talent, time and practice to handle most of the details by yourself, rather than depend on independent vendors for each of the décor essentials, DIY weddings can be very expensive. The cheaper alternative is to choose an all-inclusive package, and customize it to meet your specific needs without spending too much money. The other benefit of choosing an all-inclusive package is that you needn’t worry about arranging all the aspects and have them all come together at time. It is usually taken care of by the vendor-in-charge, and you only need to follow up. Without too many options at hand, it is also a relief for brides who are easily overwhelmed with too many choices. Check with your venue for whether they offer package deals, or ask your vendors for the additional tasks they can handle. This way you will not have to follow up or work with too many people, and this makes the process streamlined and easier.

4.DIY or outsource it to a known contact

Although we said that DIY may be expensive, it needn’t always be so. This may in fact, be the cheapest route available to you, if you are organized, have the time for it and are confident in your abilities. If you have done things previously on a scale similar to that of your wedding, or you have the time and resources to bring it all together perfectly, DIY can help you cut the costs to a great extent. You can try your hand at anything from creating the wedding centerpieces, to assembling the party favors and even baking the cake. Or if you have a trusted friend or relative who is a wedding vendor, this may be the route to consider. As an associate you personally know, you are more likely to get a considerable discount on their services, and this can ease the financial cost greatly.

5.Be on the lookout for discounts and offers

sale

If you have a long engagement before getting married, you have time to attend wedding fairs and shows. Here, you can find interesting deals and good discounts for your reception. You will easily find several vendors offering their services and also discounts to stay ahead of the competition. So, if you find one that you like, this is the time to snag it. Wedding exhibitions will also have stalls with wedding décor accessories and other items, and they may be cheaper and unique compared to what you find outside. Also, don’t overlook items that cost nothing, but are a valuable add to your wedding. Free wedding fonts, for example, can help you personalize everything at your wedding, from coasters and place cards, to menu and sign boards for little to no cost. Additionally, we suggest that you sign up for bridal magazines and join the mailing list for newsletters and updates at popular bridal shops and vendors. This way, you will immediately know of any discounts and offers that come up. When you go shopping for your wedding, also check out whether there are any benefits of booking or buying more from a single place. For example, your wedding baker may give you a discount if you ask them to do edible favors as well. It is likely that you will also be able to save more on service and delivery charges when you go with a single vendor for more than just one service. So, explore the options and ask around, you may just be lucky to find a deal that will work.

6.Stay on top of your expenses

Wedding finances can be tricky, unless you are in full control. Before you go shopping, it is best if you create a budget spreadsheet and divide it into the amounts you have put aside for each aspect. This way, you will know what amount you can afford to spend on a certain factor. One way you can stay in control, is to note it down and add it into your accounts as and when you incur an expense. Unless you consistently do this, you can easily lose track of all the small expenses you have already been involved in. This can all add up to a shocking extra in the end. If you however, keep your budget updated and have a clear idea of how much has been spent already and what is remaining, you can make sure you do not overstep your budget and spend beyond control. Also, if you get a good deal on certain items, you can adjust the profit into another aspect, and splurge on it instead.

7.Choose less risky wedding reception venues

garden venue

Planning an outdoor garden reception in the summer? Don’t ever rule out the likelihood of rain. In case Mother Nature decides to shower her blessings with a drizzle on the day, you will have to risk your guests getting wet. The sensible alternative in such a case, would be to have an alternative venue where you can move your reception to, in the likelihood of rain. But, this would mean paying money for all the extra arrangements and that would simply cost you more. If you want to avoid such risks, settle for a low-risk reception venue. An indoor venue that has no risks associated with it, would allow you to breathe easy and be done with the funds you have allocated for this. You can also think of getting yourself insured, so that you are covered if any unforeseen circumstances that cost money, arise out of the blue.

8.Find cheaper but working options for your décor essentials

There are many ways in which you can find cheaper options for your wedding decorations, if you keep your mind open. For outdoor weddings, barn weddings and rustic styles, bistro lights and twinkling fairy lights are beautiful but inexpensive décor items. The romantic effect they create is really worth the insignificant price you pay on them. Similarly, if you want a shabby chic wedding, consider switching out table cloths for newspapers under a glass table top. If you are unhappy with the chairs you have at your reception, but cannot afford hiring new ones, consider getting them covered with chair covers. This will not cost too much, but you can instantly add more life to your wedding venue with this single change. It is also sensible to consider a venue that comes with seating and interesting décor already. Restaurants are such examples. Since they are already set up for service, they will have all the necessary items for the food service and good décor too. So, you can save on planning and preparing the venue specially for your wedding, when you book such venues.

9.Keep the timing fixed and stay organized

Venues and service staff charge by the hour. So, it is necessary to stick to the timeline. You may get a better deal if you cut short your booking hours. Simple steps like cutting short your cocktail hour to 45 minutes, and similarly polishing off few minutes from various aspects can save you precious time. This will translate into a reduced bill. Also, your guests will be relieved that there is minimum waiting around, as long as everything progresses smoothly. However, make sure that you stick to the stipulated time and it is a reasonable time frame that you have set for each event. All in the wedding party should be aware of what time slot is allotted to which activity, and not overstep the time limit for each of them. Also discuss the working hours with your wedding vendors in advance. Ask for how much their overtime charges are, rather than run into a long bill after you simply employ them for much longer than initially agreed. Wind up early in the evening, and you can head home or off on your honeymoon much earlier.

10.Take the paper-free route and think outside the box for everything else

sheet cake

There are many things at a wedding that you can do without, and still have a great wedding. Wedding programs are one such item. You can choose to skip these, as they use up a lot of paper, and also cost for the printing. They aren’t really necessary, and are usually tossed at the end of the day. For your guest’s reference, you can use a single chalkboard or signboard display at the welcome, and this will do the job just as well. To really cut your budget, be open to options like using a sheet cake at your reception, and substituting the reception dinner with a tea-time affair or brunch. Although this may be one of the most economical options around, it may not be for everyone. But definitely do consider it.

Can you think of more ways to save money on the wedding reception? If so, do let us know in the comments below.

For more tips and wedding planning advice, visit us at Best for Bride—your one stop bridal destination. Don’t forget to check out our online bridal store, where you can find everything from stylish wedding dresses to dresses for the entire wedding party, and also chic evening gowns and beautiful prom dresses. Apart from this, we also have a range of wedding-related services like wedding cakes, invitations, favors, photography, flower arrangements, décor and more. Check out our website here, to find out more about how we can complete your wedding perfectly.

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6 helpful things to know before you start wedding planning

Now that you are newly engaged and finished celebrating your engagement party with your dear folks, are you all set to dive into wedding planning? Just wait a second! There are certain things that you should be aware of, before you start wedding planning. These will help you save a lot of money, as well as make your planning process a lot easier.

Today, let us take a look at a handful of helpful tips to use when planning your wedding. Trust us, it will save you a lot of confusion and regrets later. And, here they are!

1.Booking the venue—what to remember

castle venue

While factors like matching your wedding theme, the ease of reaching the location and number of people it can accommodate are all relevant factors, there are some things to remember, if you are on a budget. They are:

Peak wedding months are expensive: June to August is peak wedding season, and everything is at a premium cost during this time. Consider getting married earlier in the year, when winter is no longer as severe, and spring is just about to arrive. Or, you can consider early fall for your wedding, as venues often slash their prices this time of the year.

Don’t hesitate to ask for a discount: Don’t assume that the price you receive on your venue is final! Even if it is just falls within your budget, don’t quickly jump at the quote and book the venue right away. Negotiate with the venue manager and find out if there is any possibility of getting it at a lower price. If you are lucky, you may get yourself a better bargain.

Look at alternatives, before visiting your preferred location: This helps in two ways. First, you will know which option you will consider, should your first choice not work out. Secondly, it allows you to know what else is on offer, and make a wise decision based on it. As with anything wedding related, it is a good idea to research and explore your choices before you settle down with what you actually choose for the wedding.

2.Wedding planner—what are the options

shopping

Booking a wedding planner will make your wedding planning a lot easier. However, you should know that there are different options, and depending on what you choose, the service you receive and the price you pay will be different. So, let us take a look at what are your options.

Event planners: This is the whole package, where the planner will be involved in every aspect of planning your wedding. They will literally do your job for you, and will be responsible for executing everything at your wedding and making sure there are no hassles on the day. Event planners are quite expensive, as they will be working on your wedding for several months and you have to compensate them for their time and effort.

Part-time planners: This is where you do not outsource the entire wedding planning process, but only selected aspects that you aren’t able to handle yourself. This is more budget-friendly, as you can delegate the tasks that you do not have the time for, and pay only for it. Since you will be doing the greater share of the work, you will find it much cheaper than booking an event planner. If you are naturally organized and want to personally oversee your wedding details, this may be the right option for you.

Day-of coordinator: Even if you are handling everything about your wedding yourself, a day-of coordinator should definitely be considered. This is because you do not want to worry yourself with last-minute details on your wedding day. If you want a stress-free wedding day, a day-of coordinator can take charge of managing the various factors on that day. They will see that everything progresses smoothly and as per plan, leaving you to enjoy your wedding as you should.

Once you choose which of these services meets your needs best, again discuss the charges with the people you consider for the job. Compare the rates for an all-inclusive package with one for customized services, and choose the one that is best for your budget and needs.

3.Before paying for Wedding Entertainment

Choosing between a DJ and a band can be really confusing. You may be under the general impression that a DJ costs much lesser than a band. However, it can be quite expensive to book a good DJ who can actually make your party come alive. There are ways in which you can get a reasonable quote for a band too, and here are some tips for that.

Look for experienced student groups: If there is a music school in your area, you may be in luck. Student groups are usually energetic, exciting and just as efficient as a trained band in creating a lively party atmosphere. The bonus is that they cost much less. So, if you are up for the risk, look around for such a band.

Ask for the breakup charges: Instead of just being shocked by the overall quote from a band, ask them for the breakup costs. If it includes transportation, see if you can arrange a cheaper alternative and save some cash that way. Also, look at the list of musicians and ask if you can downsize to just those who you actually need.

4.Before you go wedding shopping

Cool wedding accessories for the winter bride

Wedding dresses are crucial to transforming you into a splendid bride, however they can be quite pricey. Before you step into the shop, do your research and know your options. Here are some ways to make the most of your wedding dress budget.

Consider more than one style: If you keep your options open, it is easier to find a dress that falls within budget. Do your research ahead of time, and identify which styles will look good on you. Then look at dresses in these styles and choose the one that you are satisfied with, both in look and in price.

Look at the clearance and sale section: Many bridal shops like Best for Bride, will always have dresses on discounts and on sale. Before you look at the latest collection, it may be a good idea to see what is available in the sale section. You may find a dress that is quite similar to what you love in the current collection, at a fraction of a price.

Wait for trunk shows: Trunk shows are a bride’s dream-come-true, especially if you are in a standard 8-12 size group. These shows allow you to find the dress of your dreams at a reduced cost. If you are engaged for a year or more, it is likely that you will come across at least one trunk show during this time. So, call up the boutiques in the area and find out whether they have one scheduled in the near future. Put off your wedding shopping session till after wards, so you can take a chance and hope to find your wedding dress at the trunk show.

Save on alterations: When you fix your wedding dress budget, you also have to account for the alteration charges for the dress. It is highly unlikely that you will perfectly fit into a dress you find off-the-rack. So, you will have to pay extra to alter it to fit you. However, you will have to pay less on alterations if you take care of the following factors

  • find a dress that is closest to your actual size, neither too big nor too small
  • not make expensive custom changes, like altering the neckline or design feature as any amount of rework will cost more money

Rent your dress: If you really want to make the most of your wedding dress budget, consider renting the dress instead of buying it. At shops like Best for Bride, the rental section has ample choices in different sizes. You can rent the dress along with the accessories for a fraction of the original cost, and not worry about boxing or caring for the dress afterwards and put the money to some other use. Alternately, you can also scour the internet for unused dresses on sales, that usually are a great bargain as they are brand new, but not as expensive as a fresh piece in a shop.

5.Before you take any pictures

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Wedding photography is an essential for every wedding, and you can choose from different types and packages based on your preferences and budget. Before you even set out to look for a photographer, consider how you want your wedding photographs to be captured. The different types of wedding photography include:

Traditional: The classic portrait style photographs with group pictures in specified poses.

Casual: Candid photography, where the photographer captures casual and original moments of the day, and shoots from unconventional angles. The photographer aims to recreate the memories of the day, by capturing the wedding with the most relevant and unique pictures that characterize the wedding.

A mix of the two: Here, the photographer uses both casual and posed portraits to completely cover the wedding.

Art-style: Here the focus is on creating one-of-a-kind photographs that transcend into the realm of art. It is anything but traditional.

Depending on your personal taste, you can decide upon the type of photography to have at your wedding, and then find photographers who work with the style you choose. Some tips to help you, before you start shortlisting photographers are as follows.

Compare packages and custom deals: You may not always require all that is included in a photographer’s package. If this is the case, ask if you can have a custom quote based on what you require. This is also useful if you need an extra service from what is included in a package deal.

Discuss how many hours you will need the photographer to cover your wedding: Before you meet with a photographer, be clear on how much time you will need his services for. You must make sure that he will be available for the important events both at the start and the end of the day. If he charges overtime rates for staying beyond certain number of hours, and in case your wedding goes on for longer than anticipated, make sure you know in advance.

6.The food factor

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There are many factors that decide the food expenses you will have to incur. Factors to consider when choosing your caterer are as follows.

Choice of menu: Remember that gourmet meals will cost more than standard meals. So, let the choice of cuisine be one of the guiding factors in determining your food budget. The overall presentation and whether the dishes have to be created fresh on-site or can be prepared in advance will also decide the catering cost.

Buffet or plated-style: Buffets and plated meals, both have their own pros and cons. The sensible and budget-friendly option is to have a mix of both styles. This means you can use shared platters for the main meal, while individual portions are served as starters. This will minimize wastage and maximize the value for money.

This brings us to the end of the various factors that will prevent a headache for you, later. Do your research and plan the possible workable options for each of these choices, and you will be able to work it out very easily.

Best for Bride is a wedding shop that brings you the latest and trendiest in wedding gowns, bridesmaids dresses and attire for the wedding party. We also have invitations, wedding favors and services like wedding cakes, décor arrangements and florists. Visit our online bridal shop to learn more about all our services, and also find out about the latest offers, discounts and sales we have. Experience the best of bridal shopping with our seasoned bridal consultants who will assist you in finding the dream gown for your big day. For a fun-filled and enjoyable experience, contact us today and book your appointment.

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8 important things brides should know about sample and clearance sales

There are several ways of finding your wedding gown for a great bargain. While you can always spend a fortune picking up a brand new gown, it isn’t always necessary. For the budget-savvy bride, who wants a fabulous gown sans the hefty price, sample and clearance sales are your best friend. Sales are also held for bridesmaids, mother-of-bride and flower girl dresses. So, look around and you may find fantastic options to dress your entire wedding party with, at very reasonable prices.

Nevertheless, you need to know all you can about what they involve, so you can make the most of it when the chance comes. Here is a list of eight important things to help you get the most out of your wedding dress shopping experience by choosing to buy it on sale.

1.What are sample sales and clearance sales? How are they different?

Every wedding boutique houses several hundreds of wedding dresses. As with any other shop, these cannot be retained for ever for two reasons: lack of space and changing demand. Wedding fashion, like fashion in general, is always evolving. New designs enter the market every season, and all the wedding boutiques have to carry the latest dresses that most brides come in asking for. With only so much space to house old stock, most bridal boutiques will host sales on a regular basis to sell the ones that belong to previous collections and make way for new dresses.

During sample sales, shops sell off the gowns that were used on the shop floor for trials by the brides who visited them. These will have little to no damage. For the simple reason that they’ve been out of their original packaging and tried on, you can snatch them at a bargain price, which will usually be several hundreds lesser than the original price.

Clearance sales are the other option. Here, the reason remains the same—getting older unsold stock out of the way to make space for new stock. However, these dresses are untouched and in perfect condition. They will still be in the original form they were delivered to the store, and yet be sold at a huge discount. So, if you want a brand new, unused gown for your wedding day at the best price possible, you should consider a clearance sale.

2.Do I just turn up for a sample sale?

This depends on the boutique or shop that is hosting the sale. Your best bet is to call up in advance and find out for yourself. While some shops will simply allow you to walk in and look through what is available and make your choice, others let you do so only by appointment. Certain shops can be thickly crowded and you may have to battle your way through several other bridal parties who are there for the same reason. This reminds me of the Friends episode where Monica had her mind set on a wedding dress, and she decided to find it at a sample sale with her best friends in tow. They were few among the hundreds of other girls who were there to search for the perfect wedding dress at a bargain, and it was quite chaotic, to say the least. So much for a hilarious episode, but it is not too far from the truth. If you aren’t up for all this adventure, it may be a good idea to stay away from the sale on the first day and instead visit on the second or third day. There may be fewer dresses, but you will still have enough to look at, all the same.

3.How can I prepare in advance?

Don’t ever assume that you can walk in to a sample sale and just find a dress. No! You need to know what you want to get beforehand. When you attend the sale, you should already know your dress model number and size, or you will find yourself lost in the midst of hundreds of gowns. Brides who make their way to sales usually visit a bridal salon in advance, try on the samples in store and find out exactly what they want before they go sample shopping. At Best for Bride, our clearance section has hundreds of gowns, but it won’t be easy finding the right fit just by looking at it. Our suggestion is to first fix your appointment with our store, come in and try on the dress and find what size will fit you. Then attend the clearance sale with this detail in hand. This will allow you to pick the right dress with minimum hassle, while making use of the sale.

Before you even decide to attend a sale, make sure you know what dresses and in which sizes will be on sale. Don’t ever expect to find the current year and season’s models, they will still be on the rack. You will more likely find the previous year’s collections on sale. You can always check with the store for information, sometimes they may be able to tell you which designer collections and sizes that are on sale. So, you needn’t go all the way and return empty-handed.

4.Is it a good idea to attend the sample sale all by myself?

This depends on how good you are at finding what you want. Remember that this is a dress that needn’t be too easy to spot among the hundreds of other white wedding gowns there. There may not be too many pieces in the same size either, and you never know if there are other brides who are on the search for precisely the same dress in the same size. It would be much better if you get your friends to pitch in to help. Pull in one or two bridesmaids and the combined effort will most likely help you find the dress faster. Before you go to the store, provide specific instructions on how the dress looks and how they can make out if it is the one. Also show them pictures of the dress that are available on the internet, so they know exactly how it looks. If possible print out the pictures, so they can refer to it when they are at the sale.

5.How good are my chances if I have only a single gown in mind?

Not too good, we would say! If there is another bride who is after the same gown, or worse if someone finds the one you want first and decides to go with it, you will not be able to make use of this golden opportunity. There is a lot of luck involved, as most stores do not have too many samples of the same model. Brides who wish to buy their wedding dress at a sample sale should ideally have at least a few dresses in mind. We suggest you visit a few boutiques in advance, try on several dresses and shortlist a few that you love. This will make it easier for you to find at least one of these dresses at the sale. Remember that you will be competing against many other brides to find one particular dress, your chances are much better if you are open to more options. This article on the Huffington Post tells us that many brides who actually nail a deal at sample sales have been visiting bridal salons for up to six months prior to attending the sale. This way they know what they want, have already learned about what will work and what won’t, and hence are more likely to find it.

Now, if you do not find the gowns that you shortlisted, you can still see what’s available and make a pick from those. Sample sales allow brides to try on gowns, however the trial rooms will be rushed and very chaotic. So, don’t expect to spend all your time there trying on one gown after another, just like you would if you were at a regular wedding dress appointment. Your decision will have to be made quickly. So, it helps if you already know how you look in a style and can judge whether a dress will work or not without much delay.

6.What if I can’t find my size?

This is a given risk when you go wedding gown shopping at a sale. Unlike the regular wedding shopping experience, where you can ask the boutique to arrange for the dress you like in your size, this is not possible here. You will have to choose from what is available. It makes it all the more difficult if your size is at either end of the spectrum. Another factor is that many shops do not disclose which sizes they will be having at the sample sale, in advance. Nevertheless, you can always call and check in advance.

The good news, however, is that you do not need to find a gown in precisely your size, as this is what alterations can help you with. In fact, almost every wedding dress has to be altered to fit any bride perfectly. All you need to know is what sizes can be altered to fit you. Usually, wedding dresses are chosen in sizes that are bigger than your actual measurements. This allows the extra fabric to be taken out, which is much easier than adding extra inches to an existing size. Nevertheless, there are limitations on the extent to which alterations can be performed on a gown. If you buy one that is too big, all the measurements will be totally off and the entire look may be altered once it is made to fit you. If there are design elements that you love on a gown in the neckline or hemline, but the gown is too big, you may lose these features when it is altered. So, always choose a size closest to your actual measurements or just slightly bigger. Since wedding dresses are sized differently in comparison to other dresses, make sure you know where you are on the size chart before you buy a gown.

7.When can I expect these sales?

Many boutiques run discount sales all year round. For example, at Best for Bride, we have gowns on sale all the time. All you have to do is visit the clearance section on our website, to find out which gowns are covered in the sale. Sample sales on the other hand, are usually held just before the new stock for the current and next season are due for arrival. This is usually between October and February. There are also sales that are regularly held in summer and winter. So, keep your eyes open for advertisements at this time of year. One way to not miss it is to subscribe to news updates or follow the bridal salon on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This is where boutiques will be posting it first. If there are any surprise offers or fun giveaways, you will know about it this well ahead of time and may even get lucky and find a great deal when you least expect it. You can check with the bridal shop in advance and find out if they have a sale scheduled in the coming months and prepare yourself for it by that time.

8.Will I be able to use these gowns as they are or will they have to be cleaned before my wedding day?

This depends on whether you get your dress at a sample sale or a clearance sale. Clearance gowns are as good as new, and can be used as such. Sample sale gowns have been worn by brides, although for short span of time, and may have picked up dirt and sweat. So, it is better if you can get it cleaned so it is in pristine condition for you to wear on your wedding day.

So, now that you know all you need to about sample and clearance sales, are you going to try your luck at it? To find out what is on offer at our store right now, visit our clearance and discount section by clicking on this link here.  For more wedding related information and dress shopping tips, continue visiting us at Best for Bride.

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7 tips to help you sell your wedding dress

The wedding dress is usually one of the most important things that reminds a bride of her wedding day. Nonetheless, it is a dress that is seldom worn more than once. Unless you plan to have a vow renewal ceremony wearing your original wedding dress years later, or wish to hand it down as an heirloom for the future generations, it will usually just be boxed and sit in your closet in the years to come.

Although most brides aren’t too eager to sell off their wedding dresses soon after they are married, many decide to let it go after a while. When you think that you’ve spent a huge amount of money on it, it is pretty sensible to recoup some of that amount by selling it. This money could be used to celebrate a honeymoon, or it could go into the family’s financial budget, wedding day debt or a similar need. Then there are also those dresses that are sold for other reasons. It could be that the marriage didn’t work out and the bride decides to give up everything that reminds her of it. Or, it could be that the bride wasn’t sure she wanted to wear the dress she bought, and so decided to sell it and buy another.

Either way, it would be a great favor to another bride who wishes to look splendid on her wedding day, but doesn’t want to or can’t afford to spend too much on her wedding dress. So, we can say that both parties are benefited by your decision to sell your dress.

Now, lets get on to the more important part of how you can make sure that your gown is sold, and get the best deal for it. Here are some tips that will help you sell your gown at the best possible rate.

1.Sell it as soon as is possible

You know how volatile fashion is. A design that is trendy and stylish today, may seem dated in a year’s time. Wedding dresses are no exception. There are very few designs that are timeless, and will always be sought after. So, once you decide to sell your gown, it only makes sense to do so as early as is possible. The Green Bride Guide mentions that used gowns will have a good resale value for up to 2 to 3 years, after which their worth starts dwindling. This means that you shouldn’t leave it lying around in your closet for too long after your wedding, if you wish to get a good price off it. If you sell it within the first year itself, you can recoup most of the money you spent. Remember that selling off a gown when the style is still current means you will have more buyers looking at it, and this will potentially improve your chances of getting a good price. However, if you have a dress from the 80’s or 90’s to be sold, don’t hesitate to do so. These are considered vintage and in great demand by brides who choose vintage wedding themes. Just spend some time to research the details, and you can decide on the price accordingly.

2.Prepare your gown by having it professionally cleaned

Don’t make the mistake of believing that another bride will take over your gown just the way it is, after you have worn it. You will have to get it cleaned professionally so it is in top shape, if you want it to be sold. Every wedding gown should be dry cleaned and boxed, so its look is preserved and it isn’t prone to yellowing or damage from the stains that have set in from it’s one-time use. If you intend to sell off your wedding gown, make sure that it is quickly sent to a professional wedding gown cleaning service soon after your wedding. The longer you take to get it to a professional cleaner, greater the chances of the stains setting in and becoming permanent. If you will be going away on your honeymoon, entrust the task to your bridesmaid, so it is cleaned promptly and all the stains are taken out. When your dress reaches the cleaners, they will carefully inspect every stain and every form of damage, and address it appropriately. When a potential buyer sees a clean dress, they get the idea that you’ve taken care to preserve it. Immediately, the dress becomes more attractive. This will help you negotiate your price and get a better deal. So, don’t skimp on this part, as it will be worth the money you spend on cleaning. To read all about cleaning and preserving your gown, check out this link on Best for Bride.

3.Decide on the price to list

Be sensible about the price you expect from selling your gown. In general, a gown that is less than 3 years old and is in excellent condition can fetch you close to fifty percent of the price you spent on it. You can get a expect a slightly higher return on designer gowns, as these are in greater demand. There is an online tool on the Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses website, that allows you to calculate your wedding gown’s worth. You can check it out here. What this calculator does is to compute the value of your second-hand wedding dress, by asking you to input information like the designer collection it belongs to, age of the dress, original price, the condition it is in and whether it has been cleaned after use. It will then not only give you a realistic price that you can expect for it, but also provides you a list of real examples of sold and currently on-sale gowns that are identical to yours. You can thus obtain a starting price for your gown and plan your sale around it.

This article on the Daily mail also provides some real examples of how this tool’s calculated values for various gowns correspond to the actual price they were sold at. One of the examples on this link mentions that the bride who made a purchase did so because she was under a time constraint to find the designer gown she wanted. So, buying it second-hand made more sense. In such cases, you can usually get slightly more than what the calculator suggests as your sale price. Also remember that although you may list a certain price when you decide to put it up for sale, be prepared to sell it off if a customer offers you a price that is close enough.

4.Look at both online options as well as boutiques to sell it at

Don’t limit yourself to just one of these options. Since your chances of selling it off are equal in either case, make sure you explore both. Your immediate destination may be eBay and Craiglist, but there are also websites specifically catering to second-hand wedding dress sales. These are Still White, Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses.com and Nearly Newly Wed.com.  These websites usually have a one-time listing fee, but allow you to keep your advertisement on till the dress is sold. Since these are online destinations that many to-be brides frequently visit, it improves the chances of your dress being picked. So, it is worth the nominal listing fee. The other option you can consider is going through consignment wedding shops and boutiques that offer dress rental services. These shops may be prepared to do an outright purchase of your gown for a fixed commission. If you buy your wedding dress from a shop that also buys used wedding gowns, you may like to obtain a quote for how much they will pay you if you sell it back to them. One of the advantages of doing so, or even using the second hand dress price calculator, is to budget for your wedding dress accordingly. If you factor in the price you can get on the sale, your dress will seem to be more affordable, as you will actually be paying only the difference amount and still get the look you desire.

5.Make sure your listing is complete, accurate and informative

Brides who seek second-hand gowns want to find out all they can about the listed dress. This allows them to compare options and pursue the one that looks best. So, make sure your advertisement caters to this expectation. Provide all the details you can about the dress, including the model number, color, collection, year of manufacture and where you bought it from. Also list the original price, so they get a fair idea of what you actually spent on the gown. Additionally, if you had any alterations done, this information should also be provided. Remember that not all alterations are reversible. So, specify how it is in your case. It will also help if you mention whether you had the gown personalized with any extra details. Since this will usually alter the original look of the dress, it will help to state this upfront than have to say this at a later point of time.

6.Add both original and actual pictures of the gown

An attractive picture immensely helps your listing. So, make sure you search out the original picture from the designer and add it to your advertisement. Brides also want to see how the gown compares to the picture, and more importantly how it looks after you’ve used it. So, it will be good if you can include a picture of the gown on a mannequin, after it’s been cleaned. Also add one or two of your best wedding day pictures to help them see how it looked on you. Make sure that you upload only good quality photos of high resolution. It should be clicked under good light, and the dress should be highlighted beautifully. If there are attractive motifs like embellishments or signature design elements that make the gown attractive, add pictures of these too. Also, remember to include pictures of the gown taken from the back. If there are any damages that couldn’t be rectified during cleaning, make sure that you mention these and where possible, add pictures of them. Your potential buyers can understand the extent of damage based on this, and can decide if it will affect their decision. Just think of what you would like to know when you have to buy something as important, and tailor your listing to meet these expectations. This will improve your chances of making the sale.

7.Welcome buyers to come and inspect the dress before buying

A bride who has to shell out a huge amount of money for her wedding dress will do so only after she is certain it is the right choice. With so many online frauds, they usually choose to check it out in person, before proceeding with the transaction. Be prepared for this. You can discuss your availability and convenience with a buyer, so they can come and check the dress to make sure they are satisfied. Some buyers may want to try on the dress prior to buying it. It is up to you to decide whether you think this is alright. Buyers who usually come all the way to check out dresses are usually serious about it. They may proceed with negotiations and buying it on the spot if they are happy with what they see. So, if you have an appointment lined up, make sure you know your limits so you can make the right decision, should the opportunity arise.

With these tips, it is likely that you will have no trouble selling the wedding dress that served you so well. Remember that when you do so, you are gifting another bride a magical chance at feeling as fantastic as you did on your special day. And if you aren’t certain you want to buy a wedding dress yourself, consider renting your own. Our rental services at Best for Bride feature a great selection of designer wedding dresses at a fraction of the original cost. You can always make your wedding day dreams come true, without the hefty price tag attached to it, by opting for this route. Visit our Rental Services Page on Best for Bride to find out more about this option.