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Bridal Bargains

Wedding experts share their money-saving tips—from hidden cakes to $125 gowns to the secret of restaurant rentals.

By sara levine

■ Buy a used or sample gown. A used gown was probably worn only once. I Do-I Do in Gaithersburg has more than 900 consigned gowns that have been discounted, sometimes up to 90 percent, and range in price from $150 to $5,000.

The once-a-year Running of the Brides at Filene’s Basement stores isn’t for everyone, but brides up to the challenge—waiting outside, then charging through when the doors open—will find designer gowns marked down to $249, $499, or $699. The next sale is August 1 at the Mazza Gallerie location.

In March, Goodwill of Greater Washington held a bridal sale, similar to the one at Filene’s, at Westfield Wheaton mall; plans are to make it annual. All dresses were donated and sold for $400 or less; many were under $125.

Some bridal shops, such as Hitched in Georgetown, host sales where sample gowns sell at reduced prices.

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A Washingtonian Wedding

A Washingtonian Wedding: Smile—Some Good Advice on Photos

Emily uses old school ties to save money on a photographer—and learns how to get the pictures she wants.

By Emily Bratcher After work, I’m jumping on the $25 bus bound for my NYC bachelorette party. My girlfriends have the weekend pretty much under wraps, but I’ll give you all the juicy details in a post next week!

This past weekend, Drew and I drove down to Virginia Beach for a sunny July Fourth to visit a friend, Charlotte, who is also our wedding’s singer and scripture reader. We had a great time catching up with her and her family, playing in the pool, zooming on the Jet Ski, and swimming in the ocean, though we did get sunburned, stung by jellyfish, and bitten by horseflies. Note to self: No crazy adventuring right before the wedding unless we’re okay with lobster-colored (maybe peeling) skin and red welts in the wedding pics.

Last week I mentioned scheduling a meeting with our wedding photographer. As anyone who has planned a wedding knows, photographers are très cher. In our online search of Nashville photographers, we found many who charged $4,000-plus for just a few hours, which would not include rights, prints, or an album.

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A Washingtonian Wedding

A Washingtonian Wedding: Daisies for This DIY Bride

Emily shops smart when it comes to flowers—and learns a new wedding language.

By Emily Bratcher
Last Friday, I promised to write about my bridesmaids’ getups, but the dresses haven’t arrived, so instead I’m going to blog about flowers.

I love daisies. In the chick flick You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan’s character says daisies are the “friendliest” flower, and I agree. There’s something pretty and understated about their yellow upturned faces and white, uneven petals. Also, they’re cheap—and when you’re buying flowers in bulk, cheap is good.

“Don’t spend money on flowers” is a sentiment shared by a number of previous DIY brides. Especially if you’re planning a wedding on a budget, spending a ton of money on resplendent bouquets and centerpieces doesn’t make a ton of sense because what happens when your ceremony and reception are over? All those beautiful blooms and elegant arrangements are trashed. If you do have an unlimited budget and absolutely adore flowers, I’d suggest making sure family and friends take them home. That way, they provide further delight. Keep Reading ...

The Slice

The Slice: Serving You Today's Wedding News

Start your morning with The Slice, a daily feature bringing you up-to-the-minute gossip, news, and buzz on all things wedding around the world.

By Lynne Shallcross

The choice between a dream wedding and a down payment on a house doesn't always have to be either or. Check out Friday night, rent-a-cake and other ways to save.

It's B.Y.O. costume at the wedding of Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin.

Ten reasons to love summer weddings. [via Ritzy Bee]

You sent out the recycled paper invitations, you served organic food at the reception, now it's time to pack your bags for your green honeymoon.

Beware of the carnation cake-turned sign in bulletin board. [via Wedding Dish]

 

Have bridal news to share? E-mail lshallcross@washingtonian.com.

 

Live Chat

Chat Recap: Ask a Planner

A wedding planner shares her best advice—a lot of it!

By Lynne Shallcross

Thursday morning, wedding planner Jen Stiebel of SoCo Events in Rockville swung by The Washingtonian to answer your questions. And answer she did! She was so intent on giving thoughtful replies to brides- and grooms-to-be that she stayed an extra 30 minutes, busily typing away, showing her vast knowledge of all things wedding in Washington. We tried to keep her all day but thought her bridal clients might not like that.

What are the top bridal-gown styles of the season? What are the "and guest" rules? Where can you cut corners without sacrificing quality? If you missed the chat, check out yesterday's transcript and read Jen's best tips for wedding planning.

Next week, we'll be rocking out with DJ Chris Laich. More details to come, but start submitting questions now! Chris will answer them Thursday at 11.
 

Want more Washingtonian.com online chats? Check out past Q&As with everyone from bartenders to other wedding pros, and submit questions to upcoming chats.

More>> Bridal Party Blog | Wedding Guide | Wedding Vendor Search 

 

A Washingtonian Wedding

A Washingtonian Wedding: Let the Countdown Begin

As the big day draws closer, Emily takes aim at the wedding programs and playlist.

By Emily Bratcher

Happy summer! It’s the hottest season’s official start, though it’s been sweltering in DC for several weeks now.

June 20 also places the countdown at 71 days (until we’re hitched). To ensure that our big day goes off without a hitch, we have a bunch to tick off the to-do list, but it’s fun stuff: finalizing the reception’s playlist, choosing the ceremony’s Scripture verses, bachelor and bachelorette parties, dress fittings! Thankfully, God has totally blessed this time with anticipation and joy—and very few freak-outs—so we’re just excited, hence all the exclamation marks popping up everywhere!

In these next ten blog posts leading up to our big day, I’ll give you the rundown of what’s left on the list.

Our do-it-yourself invitations are out, and RSVPs have started rolling in, which got me thinking about the other print project we plan on doing ourselves: the program. In order to make the program, we have to know the ceremony’s order of events. And without a wedding coordinator, we have to also plan that from scratch: processional, vows, exchange of rings, songs, etc.

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The Slice

The Slice: Serving You Today's Wedding News

Start your morning with The Slice, a daily feature bringing you up-to-the-minute gossip, news, and buzz on all things wedding around the world.

By Lynne Shallcross

Being left at the altar didn't stop these women. One used her new-found infamy as a jilted bride to launch a career as an entertainment show host.

If you agree with our Reluctant Groomzilla that the best invitation is one delivered via e-mail, here are a few new reasons to love Evite even more. [via perfect memories wedding blog]

Honeymoon how-to's: book your plane tickets in your maiden name, take a second look at Switzerland, and stick to your budget.

If you throw a theme party, you really can wear that dress again.

"Kind of" engaged. That must be like "kind of" pregnant?

 

Have bridal news to share? E-mail lshallcross@washingtonian.com.

 

Where & When

Where & When Bridal: What to Do This Weekend

Let them eat cake! And shop a trunk show, get their hair done, and take photos, too.

By Lynne Shallcross

Thursday, June 19: Trunk Show at Riziks
Is your mom on the hunt for the perfect dress for your wedding? Plan a girls’ outing to Rizik’s (1100 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-223-4050) to check out the Lourdes Chavez fall collection. Shop the entire collection of special-occasion wear, which is at the store today and tomorrow. Appointments are recommended but not required.

Friday, June 20: Take a Look—and Get Made Up
If wedding-dress shopping is on your to-do list, you might want to consider Best Bridal and Tailoring (4300 Chantilly Shopping Center, Unit 1Q, Chantilly; 703-378-3222). If you do some browsing tomorrow, you’ll be rewarded with a complimentary hair-style and make-up consultation. When you’re worn out from shopping, someone will play with your hair and do your make-up for free! Sounds good to us. Appointments are recommended but not required. Free; 12 to 5.

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The Slice

The Slice: Serving You Today's Wedding News

By Lynne Shallcross

Country star Sara Evans tries her luck at husband no. 2.

The number on the scale isn't the final word in fitness. [via The Wedding Chicks]

What did wedding bloggers bring to Brides.com's potluck lunch? The Sexy 10, a porcelain squirrel bride cake topper, and more! [via Nearly Wed]

With gas prices on the rise, airline ticket prices are looking less and less appealing. Here are 10 reasons to stick closer to home and give the Sunshine State another look.

 

Have bridal news to share? E-mail lshallcross@washingtonian.com.

 

Live Chat

Bridal Party Chat: Ask a Planner

Wedding planner Jen Stiebel takes your questions about everything from engagement etiquette to cutting the cake.

By Lynne Shallcross

Jen Stiebel's event-planning career took off at the tender age of 5, when she hosted a tea party, complete with invitations, centerpieces, and menus. Stiebel grew up, got a degree from the University of Maryland, and started Rockville-based SoCo Events in 2006. SoCo aims to create "trenditional" weddings, fusing current trends with traditional elements. Jen confesses she wishes she could plan her wedding all over again every year (marrying the same husband, of course). Who better to answer your questions than a real-life wedding addict?


Submit your questions now, and Jen will tackle them on Thursday from 11 to noon.

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