Table of contents

Happy Bride


Chapter 1: Introduction

So, Who Are You Guys?
The 4 Truths About Weddings
You Won’t Read In Etiquette Books
The Goal of this Book
Wow! There’s No Advertising!
How Much Does the Average U.S. Wedding Cost?
The Five Fields’ Commandments for Bridal Bargains
What’s New In This Edition?

Part I: Your Wedding

Chapter 2: Apparel for the Bride

The Olympics of Shopping
Hidden Costs Can Add Up
Web Sites To Ease Gown Shopping
Games that Bridal Shops Play
Top 7 Best Excuses for Tag Ripping
Designer Trunk Shows: Tips & Traps
Why Ordering a Gown Takes So Long
17 Step-by-Step Shopping Strategies
Good vs. Bad Gown Quality
Questions to Ask Before You Order the Gown
Special Warning: Use Your Credit Card!
26 Money-Saving Secrets
Real Wedding Tip: eBay Success Stories
No Frills Deals
Real Wedding Tip: Make you Own Headpiece
The Running of the Brides: Filene’s Sale
The Myth of Italian Satin & 4 More Dress Myths
“Over-Sizing” and 14 More Pitfalls
Bridal 911: What Happens If the Shop Disappears
Reviews of the Top 72 Bridal Designers
Looking for a Large Size
Chart: Designers Compared
Chart: Also Known As: Designer Aliases
Big Mark-Ups Ahead: Accessories & Extras
The Catalog Chase
Fake Vera’s and Marshall Fields
Best Buy: Save 20% to 40% by mail
Best Buy: Discount Gown Web Sites
Best Buy: Bridal Outlets
Factory Stores New Twist on Outlets
Not Recommended: David’s Bridal
Gown Preservation
Bridal Magazines: Friend or Foe?

Chapter 3: Apparel for the Wedding Party

Bridesmaids’ Gowns
Our Buying Strategy
5 Shopping Strategies
Do it by Mail and 13 More Money-Savers
Chart: Bridesmaids Options
Square Peg, Round Hole and 7 More Pitfalls
Real Wedding Tip: Delivery, Sizing Problems
Reviews of 22 Maids Designers & Manufactures
“Made in America” Maids Dresses Disappearing
Are Gown Knock-0ffs Legal?
Tuxedos: The Three Options
Grooms in Cyberspace
Tux Shopping Tips & Recommendations
5 Money-Saving Secrets

Chapter 4: Ceremony Sites

Religious vs. Civil Ceremonies
8 Sources for Ceremony Sites & Officiants
Important Questions to Ask the Site Coordinator
Real Wedding Tip: Church Fees Can Add Up
Most/Least Popular Wedding Months by State
Why Civic Sites are Best Bargains

Chapter 5: Wedding Flowers

Average Floral Costs
Florists Come in Three Flavors
Three Floral Web Sites for Advice, Bargains
Florist Shopping: 9 Steps & Questions to Ask
26 Money-Savers
Table Centerpieces On the Cheap
Seven Floral Best Buys
Go European and 7 More Helpful Tips
The Mercedes Syndrome and 5 More Pitfalls
Real Wedding Tip: The Surprise Consulting Fee
Trends: Herbal Ideas & More
Spotlight on Roses: Types & Colors
Best Buy: Buying Flowers at Wholesale on the ‘Net
Best Buy: Craft Stores
Dictionary of Wedding Flowers

Chapter 6: Invitations

Why Invitations Are Priced a La Carte
Where to Buy: Retail vs. Mail Order
7 Cool Invitation Web Sites
9 Steps in the Ordering Process
5 Questions to Ask A Stationer
Real Wedding Tip: How Many Should You Invite?
Thermography and 13 More Money-Savers
Brazen Bridal Registries & Four More Helpful Hints
The “Engraved Invitation” Myth
“Pet Postal Peeves” and 7 More Pitfalls
11 of the Best Stationary Printers
Do It By Mail: 12 Invitation Catalogs
Chart: Mail Order Invites Compared
Best Buy: Wedding Invitation Kit
Best Buy: Online Invitation Discounters
Best Buy: Do-it-yourself Paper Supplies
Spotlight: Wedding Favors: 10 Ideas

Part II: Your Reception

Chapter 7: Reception Sites

The Big Trade-Off
Six Surprising Sources
Finding Sites on the Web
11 Questions to Ask Any Site
Best Bargains: Biz Hotels, Civic Sites and More
Tent Rental 101
The Marriage Mark-Up
Kickbacks and 6 More Pitfalls to Avoid
6 Most Common Site Types: Good, Bad News
Real Wedding Tip: Catering Insider Dishes Dirt
Hotels: Never Pay the Rack Rate!
The Amazing Send-Off: Fireworks

Chapter 8: Catering

The Big Bucks: Food, Beverages, Labor, Rentals
Real Wedding Tip: Open vs. Cash Bars
Average Catering Costs
The Two Types of Caterers
When To Book a Caterer
18 Questions to Ask a Caterer
The Dessert Reception & 21 More Money-Savers
Deals at Wholesale Clubs
Plastic Plate Myth
Real Wedding Tip: Tips on Tipping
How to Feed 100 for $100
“Frozen Food” and 5 More Pitfalls
Real Wedding Tip: Liquor Slight of Hand

Chapter 9: Photography

What You’re Buying: Candids, Albums, Portraits
Digital Albums: The Latest Craze
What Are Exposures, Proofs, Prints?
Are Wedding Photographers Overpaid?
Where NOT to Look For a Good Photographer
Digital vs. Medium Format Cameras
Proofless Studios Speed Album Deliveries
Why Personality is Just As Important As Skill
9 Shopping Strategies
Questions to Ask Any Wedding Photographer
Art Leather Albums: The Inside Story
12 Money-Savers, including the Kodak Party Pak
Real Wedding Tip: Mail Order Albums
The Great Before or After Controversy
“Bait & Switch” and 8 More Pitfalls
Odd Angles & Blurred Shots: Latest Trends

Chapter 10: Cakes

Average Total Costs
Nine Wedding Cake Trends
The Three Types of Bakeries
How Soon To Book the Baker?
Taste Tests and More Shopping Strategies
Five Questions to Ask
Cake Slight-Of-Hand & 11 More Bargains
Real Wedding Tip: That’s Nuts!
The “Mystery White Icing” and 4 More Pitfalls
Disappearing Deposits

Chapter 11: Wedding Videos

“In-Camera” vs Post-Editing
Average Costs
How to Find a Good Videographer
5 Basics of a Good Wedding Video
Videos: Good, Bad, Ugly
10 Questions to Ask
Ceremony Only Packages and 11 More Bargains
The Balkans of Bridal
“Director’s Disease” and 6 More Video Pitfalls
New trends: Webcasting, TV Themes, Retrospectives

Chapter 12: Entertainment

Ceremony Music: Prelude, Processional/Recessional
Reception Music: Bands & DJ’s
Nine Surprising Sources for Musicians
Finding a DJ on the ‘Net
Step-by-Step Shopping Strategies
11 Questions to Ask Musicians
iPod Weddings and 9 More Money-Savers
Real Wedding Tip: Hiring Student Musicians
The “Yucky DJ Myth”
Canned vs. Fresh: Hire a Band or DJ?
Milli Vanilli Demo Tapes and 4 More Pitfalls
Agents: Helping Hand or Scum of the Earth?

Chapter 13: Etcetera

Shopping Strategies, Money-Savers
Rent a Caddy and 8 other money-savers
Watch out: Sleazy Limo Driver
Wedding Rings
Best Buy: Get Your Rings at a Discount
Dubious Items: Wedding Insurance, Name Change Kits
Bridal Shows: Highway to Bridal Hell?
Royal Prestige Cookware Pitch Exposed
Wedding Consultants
Question to Ask a Bridal Planner
Pitfalls to Avoid With Planners
Gift Registries
16 Salt-N-Pepper Shakers and 3 More Pitfalls
6 Money-Saving Tips
How to turn unwanted gifts into cash
15 Honeymoon Bargains
Chart: When is the Off Season?
Hurricane Proof Your Honeymoon
How to Create Your Own Wedding Web Site

Chapter 14: Canada

Bridal Gowns: Money-Saving Ideas
Invitations: Canadian Mail Order Catalogs
A Web Site for Canada Brides

Chapter 15

Bridal 911: Last Minute Consumer Tips
Meet the Surrogate Bad Cop
The Final Checkup
Wedding Day Crises: How to Survive Them

Chapter 16

Conclusion: What Does it All Mean?

Appendix: Setting a Budget
Appendix: Phone/Web Directory

About the Authors