Bridal Bargains : Secrets to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2004-12-01
  • Publisher: Ingram Pub Services

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The authors present a collection of great ideas for planning a classy low-budget wedding, including advice on purchasing a wedding cake, flowers, invitations, and entertainment, including 101 tips for personalizing the wedding. Original.

Author Biography

Denise and Alan Fields have been dubbed the "wedding watchdogs" for their efforts as consumer advocates for engaged couples. But how do two seemingly normal people end up writing wedding books for a living? The Fields met while attending the University of Colorado at Boulder. Denise was a history major specializing in Elizabethan England; Alan was in the business school, studying the marketing of products to Albania. We wish there was some fairy-tale story about how the couple met, but it's actually quite boring-they ran into each other in a dormitory during the infamous Bronco Blizzard. Denise and Alan became writers because they couldn't find any other gainful employment. After college, Denise realized that the unemployment rate for Elizabethan England scholars was 132%. Alan's career as a college newspaper columnist and disc jockey fizzled out as well. Since they had a lot of free time, they authored a small book called Austin Weddings, about their travails planning their own wedding in the capital of Texas (where they had moved after graduating from CU). Then something clicked. The Fields' consumer advice was a hit with brides and the book became a local best-seller. Realizing they had perhaps found a way to make a living without having to get real jobs, Denise and Alan turned out wedding guides to Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, San Diego and Denver. By this time, the Fields recognized something most other so-called wedding experts refused to admit. Forget all this fancy etiquette stuff-what brides and grooms really wanted to know was how to get a good deal on the items for their wedding. Following that theme, the Fields wrote their first national book on weddings, Bridal Bargains. To say the book was unpopular among members of the "wedding industry" was an understatement. The Fields were banned from attending bridal shows; an editor from a major bridal magazine lambasted the Fields in a letter to the Wall Street Journal. Fortunately, the Fields did have one fan in the media-a talk show host by the name of Oprah Winfrey. Oprah told her viewers to buy the book. 500,000 copies later, the book is the Fields best-selling title to date. After Oprah, the Fields embarked on their next greatest adventure. They built a new home. And like everything they would do in their lives, the experience inspired a book of its own: Your New House, was picked as one of the top 10 real estate books in 1993 and again in 1996 by the San Francisco Examiner. Baby Bargains, the Fields' third best-selling book, was inspired by the birth of their son, Benjamin in 1993. The book was also featured on Oprah, the Today Show and in Child Magazine. As a follow-up, the Fields wrote Toddler Bargains, which focuses on products for kids age 2 to 5. Baby 411 is the Fields' latest book-this FAQ for new parents was co-authored with Austin pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown. The Fields currently live in Boulder, CO with their sons Ben and Jack.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
So, Who Are You Guys?p. 1
The 4 Truths About Weddings You Won't Read in Etiquette Booksp. 2
The Goal of this Bookp. 5
Wow! There's No Advertising!p. 5
How Much Does the Average U.S. Wedding Cost?p. 5
The Five Fields' Commandments for Bridal Bargainsp. 8
The Bridal Clockp. 9
What's New in This Edition?p. 10
Bridal Bargains Hall of Famep. 11
Your Wedding
Apparel for the Bridep. 15
The Olympics of Shoppingp. 15
Hidden Costs Can Add Upp. 17
6 Web Sites To Ease Gown Shoppingp. 19
Games that Bridal Shops Playp. 22
Top 7 Best Excuses for Tag Rippingp. 24
Designer Trunk Shows: Tips & Trapsp. 28
Why Ordering a Gown Takes So Longp. 33
17 Step-by-Step Shopping Strategiesp. 35
Good vs. Bad Gown Qualityp. 37
Questions to Ask Before You Order the Gownp. 40
Special Warning: Use Your Credit Card!p. 41
25 Money-Saving Secretsp. 43
Top 10 Bridal Advertisersp. 44
Real Wedding Tip: eBay Success Storiesp. 46
No Frills Dealsp. 50
The Myth of Italian Satin & 5 More Mythsp. 53
Real Wedding Tip: Make you Own Headpiecep. 54
The Running of the Brides: Filene's Salep. 56
"Over-Sizing" and 14 More Pitfallsp. 59
Bridal 911: What Happens if The Shop Disappearsp. 60
Reviews of the Top 66 Bridal Designersp. 72
Chart: Designers Comparedp. 74
Chart: Also Known As: Designer Aliasesp. 76
Looking for a Large Sizep. 79
Big Mark-Ups Ahead: Accessories & Extrasp. 92
The Catalog Chasep. 101
Fake Vera's and Marshall Fieldsp. 102
Best Buy: Save 20% to 40% by mailp. 104
Best Buy: Discount Gown Web Sitesp. 107
Best Buy: Bridal Outletsp. 113
Factory Stores New Twist on Outletsp. 115
Not Recommended: David's Bridalp. 118
Gown Preservationp. 121
Bridal Magazines: Friend or Foe?p. 123
Apparel for the Wedding Partyp. 125
Bridesmaids' Gownsp. 125
Our Buying Strategyp. 126
5 Shopping Strategiesp. 128
Do it by Mail and 12 More Money-Saversp. 128
Chart: Bridesmaids Optionsp. 132
Square Peg, Round Hole and 7 More Pitfallsp. 135
Real Wedding Tip: Delivery, Sizing Problemsp. 137
Reviews of 24 Maids Designers & Manufacturesp. 141
"Made in America" Maids Dresses Disappearingp. 142
Are Gown Knock-Offs Legal?p. 144
Tuxedos: The Three Optionsp. 152
Grooms in Cyberspacep. 154
5 Money-Saving Secretsp. 155
Tux Shopping Tips & Recommendationsp. 157
Ceremony Sitesp. 159
Religious vs. Civil Ceremoniesp. 160
7 Sources for Ceremony Sites & Officiantsp. 161
Important Questions to Ask the Site Coordinatorp. 163
Real Wedding Tip: Church Fees Can Add Upp. 163
Most/Least Popular Wedding Months by Statep. 164
Why Civic Sites are Best Bargainsp. 166
Wedding Flowersp. 167
Average Floral Costsp. 168
Florists Come in Three Flavorsp. 168
Three Floral Web Sites for Advice, Bargainsp. 169
Florist Shopping: 9 Steps Et 11 Questions to Askp. 171
22 Money-Saversp. 174
Table Centerpieces On the Cheapp. 176
Seven Floral Best Buysp. 179
Go European and 7 More Helpful Tipsp. 181
The Mercedes Syndrome and 5 More Pitfallsp. 183
Real Wedding Tip: The Surprise Consulting Feep. 185
Trends: Martha Et Morep. 186
Spotlight on Roses: Types Et Colorsp. 188
Best Buy: Buying Flowers at Wholesale on the 'Netp. 189
Best Buy: Craft Storesp. 192
Dictionary of Wedding Flowersp. 194
Invitationsp. 195
Why Invitations Are Priced a La Cartep. 195
Where to Buy: Retail vs. Mail Orderp. 197
8 Cool Invitation Web Sitesp. 199
9 Steps in the Ordering Processp. 201
5 Questions to Ask A Stationerp. 203
Real Wedding Tip: How Many Should You Invite?p. 204
Thermography and 11 More Money-Saversp. 205
Brazen Bridal Registries Et Five More Helpful Hintsp. 209
The "Engraved Invitation" Mythp. 211
"Pet Postal Peeves" and 7 More Pitfallsp. 211
11 of the Best Stationary Printersp. 216
Do It By Mail: 12 Invitation Catalogsp. 220
Chart: Mail Order Invites Comparedp. 222
Best Buy: Wedding Invitation Kit CD-ROMp. 225
Best Buy: Online Invitation Discountersp. 226
Real Wedding Tip: Do-it-yourself Paper Suppliesp. 227
Spotlight: Wedding Favors: 9 Ideasp. 228
Your Reception
Reception Sitesp. 233
The Big Trade-Offp. 234
Six Surprising Sourcesp. 234
Finding Sites on the Webp. 236
11 Questions to Ask Any Sitep. 238
Best Bargains: Biz Hotels, Civic Sites and Morep. 240
Tent Rental 101p. 241
The Marriage Mark-Upp. 243
Kickbacks and 6 More Pitfalls to Avoidp. 245
6 Most Common Site Types: Good, Bad Newsp. 249
Real Wedding Tip: Catering Insider Dishes Dirtp. 250
Hotels: Never Pay the Rack Rate!p. 252
The Amazing Send-Off: Fireworksp. 259
Cateringp. 261
The Big Bucks: Food, Beverages, Labor, Rentalsp. 261
Real Wedding Tip: Open vs. Cash Barsp. 263
Average Catering Costsp. 264
The Two Types of Caterersp. 265
When To Book a Catererp. 266
18 Questions to Askp. 268
The Dessert Reception Et 19 More Money-Saversp. 270
Plastic Plate Mythp. 275
Deals at Wholesale Clubsp. 276
Real Wedding Tip: Tips on Tippingp. 278
"Frozen Food" and 5 More Pitfallsp. 279
How to Feed 100 for $100p. 279
Photographyp. 285
What You're Buying: Candids, Albums, Portraitsp. 285
What Are Exposures, Proofs, Prints?p. 287
Where NOT to Look For a Good Photographerp. 288
CyberPhotosp. 289
Proofless Studios Speed Album Deliveriesp. 290
35mm vs. Medium Format Camerasp. 291
Why Personality is Just As Important As Skillp. 296
9 Shopping Strategiesp. 297
Questions to Ask Any Wedding Photographerp. 298
11 Money-Savers, including the Kodak Party Pakp. 301
Art Leather Albums: The Inside Storyp. 302
Real Wedding Tip: Mail Order Albumsp. 307
"Bait Et Switch" and 8 More Pitfallsp. 310
The Great Before or After Controversyp. 310
Odd Angles Et Blurred Shots: Latest Trendsp. 318
Cakesp. 319
Average Total Costsp. 320
Nine Wedding Cake Trendsp. 321
The Three Types of Bakeriesp. 322
How Soon To Book the Baker?p. 324
Taste Tests and More Shopping Strategiesp. 324
Five Questions to Askp. 325
Cake Slight-Of-Hand & 9 More Bargainsp. 326
Real Wedding Tip: That's Nuts!p. 327
The "Mystery White Icing" and 4 More Pitfallsp. 328
Disappearing Depositsp. 330
Wedding Videosp. 331
"In-Camera" vs Post-Editingp. 332
Average Costsp. 332
How to Find a Good Videographerp. 333
5 Basics of a Good Wedding Videop. 335
Videos: Good, Bad, Uglyp. 338
10 Questions to Askp. 340
Ceremony Only Packages and 11 More Bargainsp. 342
The Balkans of Bridalp. 342
The "Director's Disease" Pitfallp. 346
New trends: Webcasting, TV Themes, Retrospectivesp. 349
Entertainmentp. 351
Ceremony Music: Prelude, Processional/Recessionalp. 351
Reception Music: Bands & DJ'sp. 352
Nine Surprising Sources for Musiciansp. 353
Finding a DJ on the 'Netp. 355
Step-by-Step Shopping Strategiesp. 356
11 Questions to Ask Musiciansp. 359
Avoiding December and 8 More Money-Saversp. 360
Real Wedding Tip: Hiring Student Musiciansp. 362
The "Yucky DJ Myth"p. 363
Canned vs. Fresh: Hire a Band or DJ?p. 364
Milli Vanilli Demo Tapes and 4 More Pitfallsp. 366
Agents: Helping Hand or Scum of the Earth?p. 369
Etceterap. 371
Limousinesp. 371
Shopping Strategies, Money-Saversp. 373
Rent a Cadillac and 9 other money-saversp. 374
Real Wedding Tip: Sleazy Limo Driverp. 376
Wedding Ringsp. 376
Best Buy: Get Your Rings at a Discountp. 380
Dubious Items: Wedding Insurance, Name Change Kitsp. 381
Royal Prestige Cookware Pitch Exposedp. 382
Bridal Shows: Highway to Bridal Hell?p. 384
Wedding Consultantsp. 386
Question to Ask a Bridal Plannerp. 387
Pitfalls to Avoidp. 388
Gift Registriesp. 390
16 Salt-N-Pepper Shakers and 3 More Pitfallsp. 393
6 Money-Saving Tipsp. 394
How to turn unwanted gifts into cashp. 395
Honeymoonsp. 395
15 Honeymoon Bargainsp. 396
Chart: When is the Off Season?p. 397
Hurricane Proof Your Honeymoonp. 399
Canadap. 403
Bridal Gowns: Designer Reviews, Money-Saversp. 403
Invitations: Canadian Mail Order Catalogsp. 408
A Web Site for Canada Bridesp. 410
Bridal 911: Last Minute Consumer Tipsp. 411
Meet the Surrogate Bad Copp. 412
The Final Checkupp. 412
Wedding Day Crises: How to Survive Themp. 413
Conclusion: What Does it All Mean?p. 415
Setting a Budgetp. 416
Phone/Web Directoryp. 421
Indexp. 428
About the Authors
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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