Wedding Wire indicates that about 33% of engagements happen between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve, making January - March very busy time for nearly everyone involved with the wedding industry. Whether you're a business owner or vendor piled under writing contracts and pricing proposals or you're here because the proverbial stars have aligned in your love life (yippee!), here's my advice to avoid getting taken advantage of and Beware of Bling Cha-Ching.
1. Although I'd love to think that every bride has an unlimited budget to make her wedding the most fabulous day ever - I don't believe this is true and I also don't believe you should go into debt to live this fantasy. I've heard horror stories of couples banking on their wedding gifts (checks and cash) to cover the cost of the fabulous party they just threw. My encouragement is this: your friends and family think that YOU are fabulous enough and that's why the showed up. Don't outdo yourselves and be upstaged by your dress, your flowers, even your paper (gasp! Did I just say that?!).
2. Don't believe the lie that you can't do it on your own....I mean, part of that is true (if you don't believe me, check out Pinterest fails or try eating a really poorly baked wedding cake...gross). However, don't play into the insecurity that you aren't creative or that you have to pay everyone for things you know you could do. Try tackling things like wedding favors, decor (ie - go antiquing or thrift store shopping for mismatched vases or dishes), create your own photo booth with a retro Polaroid camera, make your bridesmaid jewelry, or wedding party gifts.
The caveat to this is don't DIY everything. Don't let Uncle Jim take your wedding photo or video. Don't let your aspiring project runway little sister take charge of your fashion. And don't bake your own wedding cake. See my take on that here.