Planning a wedding is a fun and exciting time for a bride-to-be, but of course we know how expensive and difficult it can become. Many women want to go all out with glitz and glamour for this once-in-a-lifetime event. I am here to tell you that you can have all that, but you need to accurately plan what you want, and how you are going to get it. The most important thing that must be stressed is setting a practical budget. The better informed you are, the more money, time, and headache you'll save. Reach out to family and friends and try to learn from their past experiences. These are the people you can trust to give you ideas and help you make smart decisions. Brides, the main thing to remember is that number you wrote down on the top of your spreadsheet. You know your own financial situation, be sure you have allocated a total that would work best for you. If you start to slowly add $100 here and $100 there, you will be very surprised to see how quickly you will go over your budget. (You've all seen Father of the Bride...) After all is said and done, the last thing you want is to be in a financial setback from the wedding costs. Marriage is hard enough to work at... why add a financial burden? A good step to take is to go online. You will find more ideas than you could imagine and learn from the experts. A web full of useful information is at your fingertips - Google is your best friend. Routinely check out wedding blogs like www.ijustsaidyes.com and so many other great ones you will find on bridal tweet.  Read forums, articles, and other websites to help you along the way. Keep a wedding book or folder with all your information in it. Create a spreadsheet starting with your budget at the top and then start subtracting from the total each time you add in something. This budget should include everything: decor, transportation, food and beverage, wedding dress, accessories, music, etc....If you start seeing the budget dwindling then you may need to make some changes and save in one area to make up for another. Attend bridal shows in your hometown. This is a great way to meet many vendors all in one place and look at what they each have to offer. You will always find a couple great deals, promotions or giveaways. Remember though, don't be too quick to book a vendor at a bridal show if you don't know anything about them. Do your homework and ensure these companies are reputable before giving out deposits, as most are non-refundable. When you have decided on booking your vendors, be honest with them on your budget. Don't mislead them in believing you have a large budget and want a royal wedding. You may be very disappointed when you get a quote. As a wedding planner I always ask the budget and then do my best to fit within that budget. Sometimes we can't and may lose the business in the end but that is part of what we do. Do you have any tips for staying on budget? I'd love to hear them!

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