Customer Reviews: Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing A Fantastic Wedding On A Realistic Budget
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on December 6, 2000
I used the 4th edition to plan my wedding last year, and was able to save a considerable amount of money. To be honest, I was amazed to find several negative reviews stating the book was "tacky" and "paranoid". Everytime one of my friends becomes engaged I send a copy to them as an engagement gift, and they all love it too. By following most of the Fields advice, we had the wedding we wanted for a reasonable price. Most of the scams they discuss I encountered. Such as the charge to cut a cake if you don't use the caterers baker. They are especially on target about Bridal shops. After spending over $1,400.00 for my dress, shoes, veil, and alterations, the repairs that the shop assured me would be made to my dress, were never made. Even though I had provided them with a detailed list of needed repairs and writing a letter to the shop manager expressing my concern that these repairs would not be done. I had to spend the day before my wedding back at the the bridal shop,and stand there and watch to make sure the repairs were done. Their advice on saving money on the reception was fabulous. We found a site that allowed us to provide our own alochol and only pay for the bartender. Our total bill for champagne, wine, and beer was only $350.00.
The unfortunate reality of the bridal industry is there are plenty of vendors who will rip you off, and they provide you with the advice and know how to avoid bad vendors and their scams.
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I just got engaged a few months ago, and another bride-to-be recommended this book. I've already found it to be extremely helpful in my planning, as the book thoroughly reviews your options for various aspects of the wedding such as bride/bridesmaids dresses, invitations, photography, etc. I particularly liked the lists of suggested questions for vendors--when I emailed one photographer with some of the questions in the book, he wrote back and said "you couldn't have asked better questions if I had given them to you myself!" I've actually found the book to be less helpful in the area of saving money. This might be partly due to the fact that we're having a pretty small wedding--we only expect about 40 guests to attend, and we're not having a bridal party. Another minor negative is that when I tried some of the websites in the book, the URLs were no longer valid; although they talked about use of the internet in planning quite a bit, I wish they had addressed this area even more, especially use of email to get information from potential vendors. Overall, however, this is a great book that you definitely will use frequently in your planning--I find myself referring to my copy again and again.
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on February 12, 1997
I'm not your typical BRIDE magazine reader. I live in Las Vegas, and I would have been happy to get married at the drive-thru wedding chapel on the back of my fiance's motorcycle. Believe it or not, HE wanted a regular wedding back east, and I agreed. Having heard just enough about the shark-infested waters of the bridal industry to fill me with dread, I was very unwilling to be its victim. This book made me feel much more confident in my ability to defend myself against the rip-offs. It saved me a lot of wasted time trying to figure out (probably unsuccessfully) how to find the best bargains myself. I knew what to expect and was able to decide which items or services I felt were worth the money. I am actually starting to enjoy the whole wedding planning process thanks to this book. It was the only wedding book I found with realistic money saving advice besides the blatantly obvious suggestions like "make your own decorations." This book is to weddings what Consumer Reports' dealer cost reports are to car buying. Buy it
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on June 26, 2001
I absolutely love this book! I'm one of those lucky people that has to pay for a majority of my wedding - this book has been my bible - not just for finding bargains and insider tips on everything from gowns to caterers to DJ's, but also just for basic planning and practical advice. This book, in addition the the authors' website... are really all you'll need to plan your wedding. With so many new websites popping up on wedding services, this book sorts out the good from the bad, saving you time and frustration. The author's write as if they are your good friends - and no offense, but no maid-of-honor could ever be this helpful or knowledgable! They've gone undercover to unmask the ugly side of the bridal industry, while still being optimistic about brides finding good quality service at great prices. Even if you're not bargain hunting, you should get this book for it's great lists of important questions to ask any service provider. And if you ARE bargain shopping, you need this book for sure. Older editions may be available at your library, but to be really useful (especially with updated web advice) you need the latest edition. Take it from me - I found my wedding gown, brand new and BEAUTIFUL for $152.00 including tax - in MY size, no alterations needed, and I brought it home the same day I paid for it! My Veil was only $18.00! I'm finding that I can do many things myself - this adds not only a personal touch, but it's exactly what I want at great prices. I can't reccomend it enough and from what I read, other brides feel the same. Buy this book!
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on February 2, 2002
After becoming engaged, I, like most prospective brides, bought several "wedding" books. After reading the others (or, in most cases, perusing the glossy photos of zillion-dollar dresses, cakes, flowers, etc...) I put them on a shelf where they have gathered dust (hey, a wedding planning bride doesn't have THAT much time for dusting, does she?) Not so with Bridal Bargains! My copy is dog-eared, highlighted, and liberally stuffed with post-it notes. No one else in those magazines and websites devoted to weddings will tell you the real dirt that you need to know to navigate the deceptive practices in this business. (They know which side their bread is buttered on, after all). Ladies, this book will save you money, but more importantly it will give you confidence in your knowledge, and that's no small thing since most of us have never planned a wedding before. Good luck!
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on October 3, 2002
I highly recommend this book. Unlike the Knot's Complete Guide, it doesn't assume you have all the money and time in the world. And unlike 1001 Ways to Save Money, it doesn't merely give you a list of ideas. What Bridal Bargains does is show you how to save money, gives you lots of ideas, and then tells you what to do and where to go to turn those ideas into reality. There are TONS of ideas for ceremony and reception sites, and tips on dealing with vendors of all types. There are a lot of websites featured. They review all the major designers and vendors, and there are some excellent tips on how to find the perfect dress. DO NOT do what I did - I bought all the books referenced above, and found out that most were worthless. Only get this one. BTW, this book paid for itself within two weeks - I found a tiara I loved in a bridal shop for $200 and this book told me where to look for a less expensive one - so I used their suggestion and found an almost identical tiara for $43! I have several more exapmles of how I saved money and frustration by following this book, but that was the first!
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on September 26, 2011
This book is filled with tons of information for someone who is on a frugal budget but wants a big wedding. It tells you a great deal of information such as websites and tips on bargaining for a dress, getting inexpensive flowers, and how to bargain. (If you're shy, it's not going to tell you how to come out of your shell). I personally loved it.

However, It did make me realize that the wedding industry is just a huge scam. If you really think about it, it's pretty messed up how expensive wedding dresses can be. You're wearing that dress once....

And venue costs, geesh... If you think about it, it's a crazy amount of money to spend on one day. You could just go out and buy a brand new car out right.

That being said, by bringing all of this information out it leaves a bad taste in your mouth for weddings and makes you almost want to boycott it in general and save your money and go elope. It kind of makes you feel guilty about your splurging and giving in on somethings.

But I still rate this book a 5 star because it saved me over $1,000 on flowers by doing it myself and ordering through costco....It saved me $600 on my wedding dress and it made me stick to a budget...

If I hadn't bought this book, I probably would have just said "whatever" and spent sooo much more on my wedding.
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on August 8, 2001
I was given this book by my mother to help plan my wedding--we have a short engagement and little time to plan. Even if your goal is not to have a "bargain wedding", you will learn more from this book than from any of the others I have examined.
This book is crammed with honest, uncompromised advice. The authors are not connected to the bridal industry, which gives them "Consumer Reports-like" freedom to evaluate products, manufacturers, and industry secrets with blunt frankness. I trust them in a way I could never trust the bridal mags.
The book is full of tips--it can show you how to buy wholesale flowers, it rates the quality, design, and service of gown and invitation manufacturers...and it gives web address for most of the companies and products that it mentions. I learned a tremendous amount by reading this...I followed the book page by page and checked out urls as I went along.
Will I save money from what I learned in this book? Absolutely. If I had even more time to plan, I imagine I could have saved thousands. If one of my friends were to become engaged, my first piece of advice would be to buy this book!
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on February 28, 2001
My sister gave me this book (3rd edition) after she planned her wedding, and we ordered her bridesmaid dresses from the discount bridal service mentioned. Not only did we save close to $70 on each bridesmaid dress, but when I called the same service to find out about the designer gown I wanted for my upcoming wedding, the DBS had it for over $700 LESS than the bridal shop less than 20 miles away! Just making one toll-free phone call the book mentioned was worth it! I also was able to find the perfect paper and supplies for printing my own invitations and programs from the distributors' numbers that were provided here. Until you start planning, you'd be surprised at how many vendors attempt to rip you off. It's that whole "woman at the car repair shop" kind of thing. Granted there are also a couple things here and there that you will snicker at, but over all, this continues to be a great wedding advice guide! This book covers ideas and information that only the most complete wedding planner would know about!
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on June 22, 2011
I purchased this book on a whim and will be ever grateful that I did. I have to admit that some of the cautions offered scared me a bit but in the end, I put on a brave face, read this book cover to cover and saved a fair sum on our big day. Some of the ideas are common sense and some are a bit tacky, but you've got to know your taste and sensibilities and then make choices for yourself. The big win for me was a tip for finding wedding gowns. I loved a dress from the rack of a bridal boutique but even at $900 I wasn't inclined to buy it. I found an online retailer suggested in this book, emailed for a quote and was thrilled to learn that the dress could be mine for under $400. What's more, I was able to have it custom made and it didn't need a single alteration when it arrived. This latter accommodation obviously depends upon the dress maker but the store was very helpful in communicating with me about this added request and my dress arrived in perfect condition and no, it wasn't a knock-off. Bridal Bargains includes the Better Business Bureau ratings for many of the business listed and is overall very accessible.
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