Interview with a Savings Expert: Jessica Lehry Bishop

It can be rough navigating the stressful process of wedding planning, especially if you have limited funds. Luckily, Jessica Lehry Bishop, or “The Budget-Savvy Bride,” is here to offer her expert advice on creating a memorable wedding without overspending. Read our interview with Bishop to get some great inside tips on getting married on a budget.

As the Budget-Savvy Bride, you’ve offered invaluable advice to many wedding planners. When you started your blog back in 2008, there weren’t many resources available to women hoping to create an inexpensive wedding. What is the most important thing you’ve learned that you wished you’d known back then?

One thing that many brides don’t think about or plan for in their budget is tipping their vendors, but it can add an extra 15% or more to your overall spend. Keep that in mind when considering vendor pricing. Tipping is obviously not required, but if someone offers you a valued service and does a good job, it is something that you should consider!

Weddings can be crazy-expensive affairs for some people. However, on your site you provide many ideas for planning a wedding on a strict budget. Is there a wedding expense that you frequently see people over-spend on?

To me, flowers were not a huge priority and are an area you can definitely cut back on. When faced with a small budget, I recommend that if a bride really loves flowers that she opt to only use flowers for the bridal party bouquets and find other options for table and reception decorations. We’ve shared so many great ideas on the blog - crafting paper flower centerpieces, using books, candles, etc. in lieu of fresh flowers. They’re all great ways to cut costs.

A really helpful tool on your site is Wedding Budgets, where readers can click on a specific dollar amount they’re willing to spend and view how other couples were able to stay within those financial constraints. What has been your favorite tip for saving money from your readers?

If there’s something you can feasibly do yourself without completely stressing out, I’m a huge fan of DIY. A common thread among our lower-priced wedding features is that the couple did tons of things themselves or with the help of talented family and friends. The important thing is to start early and plan ahead to accommodate for any time-consuming projects.

Your site also features a Weddings by Location tool. Readers can select specific states and get ideas from other brides who got married there. If you could recommend any place in the world for couples to get married, where would it be?

Obviously having your wedding in the city where you live is probably the easiest in terms of cutting out the need for travel costs. However, if you live in a major metropolitan area like NYC, Chicago, LA, etc., you’re likely to have increased costs involved just based on the location. There’s not one specific place I would recommend as the most budget-friendly place to get married – but escaping to the suburbs or outskirts of town can definitely help bring costs down.

CouponPal readers love DIY projects, because they’re so helpful in saving money. Your site has an entire section devoted to DIY. What are some of your favorite wedding decoration projects?

I am a big fan of the Tissue Paper Pomanders – they give you a similar feel to flowers at a fraction of the cost and are perfect for aisle décor or centerpieces! I also love any sort of wedding décor that can be reused or repurposed in your home like these great moss letters or canvas art.

Many brides believe that choosing the right wedding dress is one of the most crucial decisions to make. However, dresses can end up being one of the more pricey expenditures involved in wedding planning. Are there any specific tips you’d suggest on how to find an inexpensive dress?

There are so many options when it comes to wedding dress shopping that it’s really not difficult to find something in your budget. If you’re having an informal wedding, shopping at department stores like Nordstrom or Macy’s can be a great way to find a simple white dress for less – you can always embellish with accessories! If you’re set on having a traditional wedding gown, shopping secondhand stores or sites like OnceWed.com or Preownedweddingdresses.com is a great way to get an awesome price on a designer dress!

There is so much extensive planning that goes into organizing the perfect wedding. The planning becomes even more detailed when you’re working with a budget. Are there any free online tools or resources that you’d recommend?

There are so many awesome wedding resources out there that are completely free to use! We just shared some of our favorites in a recent post featuring free tools to simplify your wedding planning experience. Another great thing is the free printable section on our blog where you can download items that you can print and use for your wedding!

<One of the fun parts about getting married is creating a registry. But if it’s not done correctly, couples can end up with items they don’t actually need (like crystal candy dishes or service for 20). What are some essentials that every newlywed couple should put on their registry?

Every couple is different and in different stages of life, meaning that the items that one couple needs are something that would be unnecessary to others. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to registering, but we’ve highlighted some of our favorite registry items from Williams-Sonoma and Target in posts recently on the blog!

We’re especially fans of your Frugal Fashion Friday feature, like the one you did on finding inexpensive blue shoes for a wedding party. Do you have any go-to sites for great bargains on wedding accessories?

I personally LOVE Kohls. They’ve got great prices and constantly run sales, so it’s one I go back to over and over. I also really, really love ModCloth! They have some awesome items for weddings from jewelry to bridesmaid dresses!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Any last minute tips for wedding planning on a budget for our CouponPal readers?

Obviously CouponPal readers are savvy shoppers, so this might seem like a no-brainer, but I always say, “never pay full price!” When it comes to shopping online, there are so many places to order items for your wedding and always make sure to grab a coupon code before checking out! For additional tips and resources to help you save money on your wedding, be sure to follow The Budget Savvy Bride!

Like this interview? Check out the rest of our Interview with a Savings Expert series. Have a question for an expert or someone you want to see interviewed? Tweet your suggestions with #SavingsExperts to @CouponPal!

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