The easiest ways for brides to save money on their big day

Saving money on weddings doesn't mean you have to skimp on the bride's big day. Read here to learn how you can save on your wedding.

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Planning a wedding can be such an exciting but busy time. There's so much to do and the costs can add up fast especially if you are planning a traditional wedding.

When I got engaged, I worried about racking up a ton of debt for my wedding day, so I tried to focus on strategies I could use to save money.

My husband and I did all the common things that most couples do to save money on their wedding day like cut the guest list, avoid a Saturday wedding, limit the amount of flowers at the ceremony and reception and so on.

I also did one thing in particular to help us save money and it was very easy and fun. I attended several bridal shows and expos in the area.

A bridal expo or a bridal show is a great way for future brides to meet several wedding vendors, sample products and foods, win prizes, and see live demonstrations. Bridal shows are busy but they're a blast to attend because you'll definitely gain something out of it.

Here are some reasons why you may want to add attending a bridal expo to your list of ways to cut the cost of your wedding.

Most bridal shows are free

At bridal expos, you have so much to gain and practically nothing to lose. Many bridal expos will offer you free tickets as long as you sign up before the events. Notice I said "tickets."

This means you may be able to bring your mom, friends, and bridesmaids for free too. I went to about 3 bridal shows and expos when I was engaged and I received 4 free tickets for all of them so I invited a few of my bridesmaids.

For bridal shows that cost money, I've only seen ticket prices range between $10-$20 at most.

Attending a bridal expo is a great way to bond with your bridesmaids and celebrate your engagement. The active wedding-planning process can go by quickly, so you definitely want to milk it and soak up the special time with loved ones.

You can win free stuff

In addition to not having to pay to attend the expo, you can also enter contests and giveaways to win free stuff. Some bridal expos are larger than others but nevertheless, there will be tons of booths giving stuff away.

Bridal expos tend to last around 4 hours. Be sure to get there early and enter as many contests and giveaways as you can. However, be sure to avoid the giveaways that require you to enter too much personal information. You don't want to receive multiple phone calls about winning a "free cruise" afterward.

Most vendors will ask for your email address in order to add you to their mailing lists. If you're not interested in being on their lists, you can always unsubscribe once the emails start flowing in.

My first bridal expo was also a fashion show so it was very exciting for me to see all the vendors and look at different wedding dresses on the runway.

As I was leaving the bridal expo after the fashion show, I stopped by a tux rental company's booth to get information for my husband. They were having a contest and I decided to enter quickly since I figured I had nothing to lose. I left the expo that day and thought nothing of it after that.

A few days later, I received a call when I was at work and it was the owner of the tux rental company who told me I'd won their weekly contest. My prizes included:

  • A free tux rental for my husband for the wedding
  • A free custom suit for him to keep
  • 50% off the tux and shoe rental for all his groomsmen and ushers
  • Free hotel pickup for the tuxes the day after the wedding
  • 40% off custom wedding invitations

The deal I scored from winning the contest was not bad! Plus, the company provided every 5th tux we rented for free so we also ended up paying nothing for our son's tux for the wedding either. If I hadn't met that man at the expo and entered the contest, we would have had to pay full price for all of that.

At a smaller bridal expo I went to, the hosts seemed as if they really wanted everyone there to win a prize, so I won a hand mixer and a veil that I wore on my wedding day.

Meet wedding vendors and score discounts

In addition to being able to win cool freebies, you will also get the chance to talk one-on-one with wedding vendors and secure discounts on their services.

Every type of vendor in the industry makes an appearance at bridal expos including wedding dress boutiques, tux rental companies, caterers, DJs, photographers and videographers, transportation companies and so on. What's great is that they are all in one place at the same time so instead of doing your research and calling individual vendors to set up a meeting, you can talk to them all in one place and compare their packages and pricing.

Some vendors even offer discounts that you can secure if you book them and mention the expo. I tasted cupcake samples at a bridal expo and decided to hire the bakery to make our wedding cake as a result. They offered us a discount on the price of our cake since I went to the expo.

I also found out about an affordable rental company at one bridal expo and used them to rent a popcorn machine, wishing well box, and fountain punch bowl for my reception all for only $100.

Once you start talking to vendors at bridal expos, you'll find that there are many ways to cut the cost of your wedding.

How can you find bridal shows?

Now that you know why you should attend as many bridal expos as possible when you're engaged and planning a wedding, you might want to know where you should start looking to find events near you.

You can start by searching online and using the keywords "bridal expo" or "bridal show" along with your city's name. Larger cities are bound to have tons of expos each month but smaller cities will have their fair share too.

You also might want to reach out to wedding venues in your area to see if they are hosting any events. Even if you don't plan on having your wedding at the particular venue, you can still attend a bridal expo they host.

Another option is to check with popular hotel chains as bridal expos are often held in hotels as well. Be sure to sign up ahead of time and ask for free tickets.

Put events you wish to attend on your calendar so you don't forget. Most important, invite your friends and have fun while raking in the savings.

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This article was written by Chonce from Everything Finance and was licensed as an article reprint from February 22, 2017. Article copyright 2017, Everything Finance.
The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. Fidelity Investments cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any statements or data.
This reprint is supplied by Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC.
The third-party provider of the reprint permission and Fidelity Investments are independent entities and are not legally affiliated.

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