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

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  619 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Inside this revised and expanded bestseller, brides and grooms discover ways to save on every aspect of their wedding. New chapters explore the hot trend of destination weddings and bargain honeymoons. Photos & illustrations. ...more
Paperback, 8th Edition, 468 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Windsor Peak Press
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  619 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Aug 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone planning a wedding
This is the smartest book about planning a wedding I have ever encountered. It exposes, with a wry voice, the million little scams perpetrated on unsuspecting brides and grooms by the wedding-industrial complex, and gives excellent tips on how to avoid the pitfalls. What's refreshing is that it never tries to push a particular kind of wedding (small and non-traditional vs. large and observant of traditions, for example) but helps you figure out what kind of wedding you want to have, and then hel ...more
Kristy M
Nov 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: And Bride-to-be or wedding planner
Recommended to Kristy by: library
I'm updating this review from my previous "yay". Yes this book is chocked full of great info but there are some annoyances:
1.) I originally read most of the parts from a previous edition from the library. Imagine my disappointment when I saw that the coveted breakdown of dress manufacture quirks was - missing. Instead they only provide you with a quick reference chart. This was extremely disappointing to me as I gathered from a previous edition that some of the problems that give a lower rating
Sarah Toton
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book in particular really irritated me. There are lots of ways to save money on a wedding but I felt like this book offered cheap solutions that could harm your special day.

One of the examples they gave was telling your venue that you were having an event, A family reunion, instead of a wedding so that you don't get wedding prices, which can be higher than a regular event fee. First of all, this destroys trust with your vendors and secondly there is a reason for the wedding up-charge as th
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone planning a wedding
Shelves: marriage, nonfiction
This book really does have good advice and I'm sure I'll save money by following it. The only thing is that after reading the first "bridal apparel" section I felt really depressed. One of the things I always thought would be fun about getting married was being able to justify a really cool, expensive dress. The upshot of the wedding dress section is that everyone will try to rip you off. And while it's good to know and watch out for this and their other consumer awareness tips, it does feel lik ...more
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've read this book three times (or more) cover to cover during my wedding planning process. It's as close to a bible as I can imagine for brides working on a shoestring budget.
Sarah S
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic
While some of the information was out of date (websites or companies that no longer exist, price changes, etc.), there was still tons of useful advice to help you plan, organize, and avoid common scams and potential disasters.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Good for US weddings and traditional ceremonies. A little information for Canadian brides and destination weddings. Good read but don't purchase if your from CANADA.
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone getting married in the near future
Recommended to Marissa by: Got it for free from my previous job
Shelves: personalfinance
This is a great book for people who haven't ever planned a massively scaled party before. Thanks to my previous job- corporate event planning- I've got 3 "practice runs" of them under my belt (each for 250+ people, 2 buffet & 1 sit down all on budget(s)- <20K, ,<30k, & 45K- and in Manhattan) and I feel prepared to plan my own wedding. However, this book has been invaluable for dealing with the wedding industry specifically. The same venues that I have worked with in the past do charge an enormou ...more
Jan 31, 2013 rated it liked it
A few days before Christmas I went from girlfriend to fiance and like every other bride-to-be once my head stopped swimming reality set in. I now had a party to plan. A big, expensive, 130 people on the guest list party.


I'm not going to try and kid myself here. While I've planned corporate parties for 300, I've never planned this kind of party and never, ever when my own credit card was involved. I wanted... no needed some info to help prepare me for the battles ahead. Enter 'Bridal Bargai
Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing - best of the genre in my opinion. There were a lot of things I wasn't going to do at my wedding just because I couldn't afford them and this book allowed me to do them all. My entire wedding & reception only came to about $3500 using this book. It gave me a practical time table so that everything was done in time. I was able to get the most amazing dress for $250, which would have cost me about $1000 at David's bridal. We were able to get a great price on a suit for my hus ...more
Apr 29, 2012 rated it liked it
It's a good book to get an idea on how to work with vendors. However, regardless of how many books one reads while planning for their wedding it's always important to know that some vendors do not care to work with their clients aka the bride/groom or their family even if asked nicely. Think of it as a general rule of thumb when flipping through these pages to get an idea of what may or may not work for yourself. Again, the book has a ton of insight and I cannot praise them enough for not boasti ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it
The tips in general are very helpful and the tone is casual and friendly. There are great suggestions for what to look out for and avoid when dealing with different aspects of making purchases and signing contracts, which is helpful because presumably you've never done any of this stuff before. It also doesn't answer every question with "spend more money," as sites like do. When it gets down to specifics the book is flawed, recommending websites that barely function and weird things ...more
May 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were a few other interesting points made in the book, most of which don't apply to me (tips on videographers or limos, for example) or things I already knew as a musician who has done other people's weddings, but if you need these things, you might find these things more helpful than I did.

It was still a useful book, and I did appreciate the plain language and letter grades of certain websites and companies.

It boils down to pretty much 4 points:
1) Pay for everything with a credit card, so
Amber Ziegler
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: engaged couples
This book had a lot of good tips for saving money while planning a wedding. One thing I really liked is that it had tips for people on any budget, whether big, small, or somewhere in the middle. Even if you're not necessarily looking to save money, this book alerts you to potential scams that target brides, teaches you how to plan a wedding, and warns you of some of the unexpected issues that the inexperienced wedding planner may encounter. For example, I had no idea that so many bridal shops go ...more
May 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Packed with actual specific information about how to save money on your wedding purchases, this book is a must-have for anyone even thinking of planning a wedding. Unlike many books in this category which provide vague advice on cutting costs, this book provides names of companies along with contact phone numbers and even web addresses to help you get what you want at a better price. The information on finding a wedding gown for less was invaluable as was the heads-up on the deceptive practice o ...more
Jul 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Once the first gloss of planning wears off and The Knot becomes laughably annoying, this book really helps you wade through the whole process. It works great as a "watch out for this" guide and also as basic planning tool. The questions to ask and the pitfalls to avoid were especially helpful. Yes, this may rub away at the some of the bright and shiny appearance of the bridal industry, but not enough to leave you jaded. With no experience hiring professionals or throwing such a large party, I wa ...more
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great horror book!

But seriously, it's better to be paranoid than naive when money is on the line. We had a small, self-funded wedding (~75 people) for around $3500, thanks mostly to this book. It's sad that $3500 is considered a small, brag-worthy amount...

Anyways, read this book, if just to help shatter the stars from your eyes that have settled in there after the joy of the engagement. The wedding industry is greedy and insane. I am still on some bride-to-be mailing lists, no matter how ma
Feb 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those planning a wedding on a budget
Information with a "conspiracy theory" twist! The book has a great deal of practical advice on how to execute the money-saving ideas suggested on bridal websites and in magazines. Now that I'm knee-deep in wedding planning, though, I find some of the ideas to still be out of my price range and would appreciate ideas on how to cut costs even further. But I suppose that people looking to cut costs even further than this book allows probably wouldn't spend their money on a book.

I'm happy to sell/s
Jun 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably one of the three most useful types of books I used to plan my wedding (without hiring a wedding coordinator!). This book is fantastic in helping you choose wedding gown and bridesmaid dress designers, and helping you navigate the wedding invitation industry.

I would consider this book a must-have. Because this book isn't necessarily inspirational and because it doesn't really address etiquette, you'll still need some books with lots of pictures (or magazines) for visual inspiration and a
Wendy Phillips
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be the most helpful of all of the bridal books I have read to date. In fact, after checking it out from the library, I purchased this book for my personal library.
So many of these money-saving books of all types give the same advice, much of which isn't always practical. I appreciated the breakdowns on each section about why things cost what they do, what to watch out for, what things are negotiable, and what questions to ask yourself to get your priorities in order. This bo
Aug 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Brides-to-be, Mother of the bride, etc.
Recommended to Lisa by: I can't remember...
This is a great book for anyone newly engaged or someone in the midst of planning a wedding. It's also a great gift for bride-to-be before she starts planning, as it has lots of sage advice. It also has lots of great tips to streamline unnecessary spending and still come away with the wedding you want and have always dreamed of. You don't have to go broke to get married and enjoy yourself at your own wedding.
Jan 23, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is filled with helpful tips for negotiating contracts and finding a dress. But I had a hard time getting past the fact that the book wasn't proofread (my fiance copyedits, so it's possible this was more aggravating to me than most). There are many simple errors that I found highly distracting. Still, I'd recommend it to others looking for tips on minimizing the effect of the wedding scam.
Sep 06, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Honestly, some of it just became too repetitive. If I were using it as a quick reference and skipping around, this wouldn't have been as much of an issue. I realize they were trying to be factual and thorough but it would continue for pages on something they covered for several pages before. It's worth saving as a reference to use someday when the time comes, especially the hints about getting cheaper dresses or defeating some of the ridiculous mark-ups on the dresses, sites, food and DJs.
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wedding
Small, relatively concise, and has websites and specific ratings and things that are useful. Most of it seemed common sense to me, but common sense doesn't seem to be that common these days. A good gift for anyone in the bridal area. It did spawn a few ideas for me - not even always what they were talking about, but just opening my thoughts and eyes to what could be. Gotten out of the library, best of the bunch so far.
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is AMAZING for anyone planning a wedding. My boss gave it to me, along with her top 5 tips for wedding planning. I highly recommend this book to bride-to-be. The book has tons of recommendations for ways to cut costs and still have a beautiful wedding. Make sure you pick up the latest version (I read the 10th edition) as the authors update it each year with new relevant information, new websites, etc.
Sep 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: future brides with crushing student loan debt like myself
Shelves: 2007reads
Of all the "bridal porn" out there, this is the one book that will stand out in my memory when I look back on these halcyon days of wedding planning. Great ideas for cutting costs, all kinds of online resources, and info from former brides on what worked/what didn't and how to get hitched and still be able to afford a honeymoon.
Apr 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: brides who have time to do this shit.
Recommended to Jill by: a bride who had time to do this shit.
I read it 'cuz my daddy ain't Bill Gates.

Alright I need to be done with this. I've read it, and basically forgotten to use the stuff it tells me to do. So... God Knows what a non-bargain wreck the wedding will be. Bet ya'll wanna invitation now, don't you?

As long as Tim shows up, I'm doing alllllllll riiiiight.
May 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has tons and tons of ideas to help you save money on your wedding. It also points out the biggest scams that vendors employ to try and get more of your money. A very helpful book for every bride to be, but may not save you as much money on your wedding as you hope. The best bargain tip I got was from a friend: Try to find a dress on Craigs List. I did and saved over $700.
Jul 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Lots of really concrete advise (unlike another wedding-on-a-budget book I read recently). And very few of their suggestions struck me as cheap or unclassy. Could have used a bit of editing, and some of the websites they mention are defunct, but overall this book is a good resource for keeping nuptial expenses in perspective. I hope to get some good use out of it as I plan.
Apr 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book really helped me get my head around the multitude of choices out there for wedding planning. It offered realistic reviews, when the expense might be worth it, and important questions to ask vendors. Wedding planning is still overwhelming, but at least I felt like I knew some of the questions to ask when interviewing vendors.
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