Guide The Next Best Bride (Once Upon a Wedding Book 5)

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While some forumites have had success, we've heard many reports of unreliability, so do your research first, and factor in if it's worth taking trade away from the UK. The weakened pound means dresses might cost slightly more than they would have from China. Sellers offer a variety of styles but often, if you ask, they'll make alterations to the design according to what you want.

It's important to understand though, this isn't a straightforward click-and-buy situation. You need to consider if the site is legit, and avoid any that offer counterfeit designs. It's easy to be scammed on eBay and there are horror stories, so have your wits about you. Do your research and use this checklist as a starting point:.

Here's MoneySaver Louise's story:. It was the talk of the day and no one guessed the cost or where it was from. I got it taken up a bit by a dressmaker — she said the fabric was amazing for the price, really heavy satin. I loved it and felt amazing in it. It's worth noting every time we mention this point, we get complaints from wedding dress stores and others in the wedding industry, talking about dangers and quality issues.

Yet this does work for many people — though of course there are some who have a bad time with it. Yet often you can cut and paste key phrases into Google to discover its identity. While some brides go DIY, it may save a lot of stress if you get make-up done by a pro. Before you start wincing at the fees, there are sneaky ways around this.

Get your make-up done at a beauty counter in a department store, then simply buy the lipstick to 'touch up' you could even ask if they'll give you that as a freebie sample. Department stores also run beauty courses that you could attend. You can learn a new skill, do your own make-up on the day, and even help out at your friends' weddings.

Alternatively, check out local beauty training schools. They may do your hair and make-up free on the day as part of their training. You can also share documents, so two people can edit it at the same time. All you need to do is create an account and log in when you want to edit info.

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You can also track your spending against an overall budget. Use it for inspiration for everything from invites to lighting, then do it yourself for a fraction of the cost. This will help you update guests about your big day, let you keep track of RSVPs, set up a gift list and guest book, and share photos after your wedding. There are free templates to customise your website's design, and tools to help you share your timetable, seating plan, travel tips and even add an FAQ section. It's worth noting, however, that Getting Married is owned by a wedding gift list company called Prezola.

So although you can create a website for free, it does encourage you to set up a Prezola gift list. This is completely optional, and you can add a link to another site eg, John Lewis instead, if you already have a gift list elsewhere. You'll usually need to pay for a premium subscription if you want to set up a honeymoon fund or create an option for cash gifts — although this is currently free if you sign up for Prezola. If there's one thing guaranteed to increase the price, it's when the suppliers you're buying from know it's a wedding.

So when negotiating flowers, wine etc, try to avoid the word 'wedding'. Call it a party or celebration, and only once the price is agreed should you mention it is for a wedding. Having said that, if you're eloping, or after smaller bits and pieces, such as make-up, then mentioning you're getting married can mean freebies galore. It was like catnip — lots of squealing and loads of good quality free samples Clarins, Space NK, etc.

Same thing on the plane — got chatting to some other passengers and crew and said we were eloping. Cue lots of champagne on the flight and a bottle to take with us. Of course, you'll have to pay for paper and ink when you print them out yourself although if you really want to keep it free, you could email them instead. Alternatively, why not ask your workplace if they'll let you use its company discount on stationery?

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Just search for 'printable wedding invitation'. If you do pay for invites, always check if the cost includes envelopes and factor in the cost of postage. Instead of posting save the date cards, let people know by text or email. Alternatively, create an event on Facebook choose 'private' in the event's privacy section, so only guests can see. You can easily make place settings for free. Why not collect pebbles or shells on the beach and write the guests' names on them? For thank-you cards, find a really good snap of the two of you, reprint as many times as necessary and write your personal thank-yous on the back, by hand.

DIY favours such as paper flowers add a nice touch. Or you could just do yourself a favour and forget them — many guests leave them behind in their hazy state. Forumites suggest making your own confetti using small heart or flower punches and colourful paper, which should all be found in your local craft shop. You can also dry your own rose petals in the oven — if you have friends or family with rose bushes you're onto a winner, but some forumites have managed to haggle cheap roses from flower markets at the end of the day. Many of your guests will record the day for posterity, so why not ask them for a copy of their photos and videos?

You can encourage this further by leaving disposable cameras on the tables at the reception though a number of our forumites have said they wish they hadn't bothered, as the photos weren't half as good as those taken with digital cameras. Even though they're not pros, if they take enough shots, hopefully some of them will be good ones.

We went to a wedding show last week and got chatting to a photographer.

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It still wasn't great for us, so we mentioned that we'd only want a dozen or so photos. She said "make me an offer". Don't ask, don't get. The photographer can be tricky to haggle with, as they sit you down, give you tea and biscuits and put you at ease.

But that doesn't mean it's impossible. We wanted a pre-wedding shoot, plus the photographer to stay for an extra couple of hours to catch speeches and cake cutting, but this added a fair whack to the overall cost.

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This is where the friendly atmosphere helps. As the photographer considered these to be added extras, we didn't book on the day — just hopefully left a good impression — then emailed a few days later after considering, asking nicely if she could wrap them both into the same price, effectively getting the pre-wedding shoot for free, which she agreed to do. Small sacrifices can boost your wedding coffers.

If your big day is a year away, cut out something today that you buy every day. If a few quid more in the wedding fund would really help, get flogging. Selling via eBay usually pays best. You can also harness Facebook's power to sell to others in the local community. The best bit is there are NO fees, so you keep the profit. Prefer speed and ease rather than getting the top price? Several sites let you enter details, they offer a price, and you post the goods free.


Also consider setting up a specific bank account to pay your earnings into. That way you'll see the wedding cash pile up, rather than just disappearing into your current account. Cut costs further by supplying your own alcohol. Do the maths — buying your own and paying corkage often still wins. Remember, like everything, corkage isn't fixed, so haggle. It's best to mention this when you're making your order if you think you'll want to take advantage of it. You could also opt for cava or prosecco instead of champers to keep costs down. Food is where most couples go over-budget, especially if you go for a meal during the day and a buffet in the evening.

So, look at how many people you've invited factoring in more guests for the evening if you're having two lots of food , work out your budget and divide by the number of guests for your per-head budget.

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