The Bride’s Guide to Freebies – Fabulous Big-Money Sweeptakes at Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart

bride's guide to freebies

In my book The Bride’s Guide to Freebies, I’ve shared a ton of my top freebie-finding secrets for weddings, helping you avoid Mistake Freebies and lock into the ones that really add to your wedding day (and boost your wedding budget further!)

When this book first came out, we offered a wedding freebies newsletter, which grew too big too quickly for us to maintain well (and there weren’t always great freebies out there!) So we moved our wedding freebies info to my blog to make it easier for everyone to cash in!

In my book, I recommended the Better Homes and Gardens sweepstakes, which often included bigtime cash prizes, and this has gotten even better for you lately, since they switched their online sweepstakes entries into UNLIMITED entry for most of their big-money prizes. We’re talking $50,000 (which could pay for your whole wedding,) $25,000 (which, again, could pay for your whole wedding,) $20,000 (there’s the wedding gown of your dreams!) and more. (You’ll need to register with BHG, of course, and each entry requires you to click on a super-short video to make sure you’re not a bot. With these and any other online sweepstakes, always read the rules and fine print before you click!)

So, check it out, including the Martha Stewart sweepstakes and other sister magazines’ sweepstakes. We wish you good luck with your entries (and much fun with your winnings!)

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The Mother of the Bride Book, 2nd Edition is Available Now! And 2 copies are up for Giveaways!

Mother of the Bride Updated cover

I am SO excited! The 2nd edition of my Mother of the Bride Book is available now! And I’m giving away TWO copies on 12/9 for #WeddingWednesday, so post a comment here or use #weddingmoms on Wednesday to be entered for our random, computer-choice giveaway!

It’s been such a long time since my publisher and I began work to update my book, which has long been one of my bestsellers, but badly needed a refreshing. And now, here it is, all shiny and new, and featuring some of my favorite wedding experts’ top tips for the mother of the bride (and step-mother of the bride!)

I’ve added some new features, such as the top trends in what the mothers are working on for the wedding plans, how they’re bringing so much more valuable stuff to the table than moms of decades ago, my favorite apps, and celebrity fashion designer tips for the moms’ wedding day dresses.

Order your Kindle copy here, and if you’d like a paperback version, Barnes and Noble has it here. (Amazon is fixing the link for the paperback right now!)

And if you’re a wedding pro who wants multiple copies or wants to sell the book in your shop, just contact me via Twitter @sharonnaylorwed, and my sales team at Random House will set you up!

Want a signed copy of the paperback for your mom? I’ll soon be able to sign and send your copy to you!

Thank you so much for taking a look at my book’s ‘makeover,’ and for all your great reviews and support of my books over the past *21* years! I’m entirely grateful to you!

The Product Poet Did a Haiku for Me!

product poet

I am delirious with happiness! The Product Poet just wrote and Tweeted a haiku about me.

The Product Poet

Mother of The Bride

Perhaps “Bride’s Guide to Freebies.”

A blissful marriage.

www.sharonnaylor.net/books/htm

We’ve been working on a shoot all day, and miles from done, but we all have a spring in our step right now. Thank you, Product Poet!

Fab Find! Speak Wedding Flashcards by Wedding Expert and Trend-setter Annie Lee

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speak wed 2

In order to create your dream wedding with your wedding professionals, you have to speak their language. They’ve had 30+ years in the bridal industry, and you’re ultra-new to this world that’s far more detailed than you ever imagined. When you learn the lingo, you can share your vision with your wedding pros and understand their comments and questions sent to you.

Grooms? They definitely need Speak Wedding cards to help them communicate with your wedding pros, and with you as you plan the big day.

Helping you speak your wedding pros’ language, is Speak Wedding, the new beginner-level flashcards developed by award-winning, trend-setting wedding expert Annie Lee of Daughter of Design® with artwork from celebrity wedding invitation designer Ceci New York.

Here’s a bit about the cards:

Wedding vernacular seems foreign to those new to nuptials, but with these beginner-level flashcards, anyone can speak Wedding with confidence. Each of these stylish 50 cards developed by wedding expert, Annie Lee of Daughter of Design ® with artwork by Ceci New York, teaches common terminology, abbreviations, and other wedding vocabulary to help familiarize novices with wedding culture and have them sounding like natives in no time. Not only do the cards teach necessary wedding lingo, they also act as a great tool to start conversations on topics like what the Mother of the Groom will wear to the wedding and if the Bride and Groom will want to see each other before the ceremony. Read the wedding term on the front of these two-sided flashcards then flip the card onto its backside for a full explanation, correct usage, pronunciation, and other helpful tips. It’s the perfect gift for a newly engaged couple and a fun new bridal shower trivia game!

Here’s where you can get your Speak Wedding boxed sets: http://www.speakwedding.com/about/

Bridal Shower Game Makeover! Give Your Bridal Shower Game a Makeover with my ‘Wedding Guesses’ Game Card!

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Since you loved my twist on the ‘how well do you know the bride?’ bridal shower game, I’m giving all of the traditional bridal shower games a fresh twist, to make them more fun for shower guests and give the bride a giggle.

 

We know that shower guests would rather spend more time mingling and eating with one another than being pushed into enforced fun, so we’re keeping these new games fast and easy, with a modern spin.

 

Here’s my newest in the Bridal Shower Game Makeover series!

 

Just copy and print out this game card for guests’ participation:

 

Name:

 

Wedding Guesses

For this game, guests will try to predict some of the details the bride has included in her Big Day. Moms and bridal party members who are in-the-know obviously won’t play, since that’s an unfair advantage, but other guests will have a blast imagining the bride’s style, what the groom suggested and more…

 

My Guesses On….

 

The bride’s style of wedding gown:

 

The wedding color scheme:

 

The bride’s bouquet flowers (type, color, size…)

 

Name a wedding décor item (mason jars, etc.):

 

The bride and groom’s first dance song:

 

Song played during the ceremony:

 

Food offered at the cocktail party:

 

Wedding cake color (white, pastel, chocolate, etc.)

 

Number of tiers in the wedding cake:

 

Flavor of the wedding cake:

 

Name a dessert served in the dessert hour:

 

What will the groom’s cake theme be?:

 

What did the groom suggest in the wedding plans?

 

What will the wedding favors be?

 

The winners will be chosen by the bride for getting the most correct answers, without revealing too much about the wedding plans! Don’t give all of the surprises away!

 

Sharon Naylor is the author of The Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book and over 35 additional wedding books, www.sharonnaylor.net

 

FREE Chapter from my New Book “The Bride’s Guide to Freebies!”

bride's guide to freebies

It’s time for another FREE chapter of one of my wedding books! This time, it’s my newest, “The Bride’s Guide to Freebies,” which is all about getting freebies the RIGHT way, and working WITH your fabulous vendors to score budget-saving items and services for your big day. As I always say, you’v got to hire great wedding vendors. They know where fantastic freebies are and can help you get them!

Chapter 2: What’s Realistic to Ask For

You’ll have far more success in securing freebies if you stick to realistic requests. Wedding experts have to buy everything that’s needed for your wedding, and the time they spend pre-, during- and post-wedding to fulfill your wishes is valuable. So asking for $10,000 in free catering isn’t going to be received very well. Asking the videographer to edit your video for free will make him laugh. Video editing is very time-consuming, often taking dozens of hours more than the time he spent filming your wedding to get just right.

To keep from insulting your vendors, or from looking like you’re completely naïve about how much food, liquor, flowers, fabrics and other items cost, stick with these rules to help improve your odds of getting a Yes when you ask for a freebie:

  • Ask what a vendor already has. As you’ll read in upcoming chapters, some vendors have storerooms  full of glass vases, pedestal centerpiece bowls, candelabras, linens and other items that were left over from prior weddings or not used because prior weddings were canceled. If you ask to see their stock, you might be able to have those pretty bowls or linens used in your wedding décor for free.
  • Ask for low-time items.   The reason a wedding cake is so expensive is that it takes the cake baker many hours to pipe on frosting in lace designs or make 200 sugar paste daisies to decorate it with. If you ask for an element that comes without a ton of labor, your freebie odds increase. “I had a bride who asked for thirty short-cut ranunculus centerpieces, and since they take a few seconds to make, I threw in half for free,” says one grateful-for-the-easy-task floral designer.
  • Limit your freebie-ask to one thing, such as an extra cocktail party station or an extra dessert, not an entire class of free things like an entire dessert bar. Managers are far more likely to reward your modest request with that one station you asked for.
  • Be open to non-identical things. A vendor may have, or may be able to get, small collections of coordinating chargers or table runners, and can mix and match in your reception space to great effect.
  • Ask for local things. If a vendor can pop to a local store to buy all the settings you need, she may give you a freebie because you haven’t required her to drive two states away, or organize a difficult order from overseas with customs hassles.
  • Ask for what’s in-season and plentiful. If your caterer can get bushels of seasonal apples from a local farm for next to nothing, she may throw in extra desserts or a hot cider bar. Visit LocalHarvest.org to see what’s in-season in your area during the time of your wedding as pre-research.
  • Ask for a style upgrade. I spoke with Marni Gold, from CreativeCustomCardBoxes.com about her  decorative card boxes that guests pop those gift envelopes into, and she said that when a bride orders a two-layer box, she happily adds on an extra decorated layer to a great design of card box to make a great impression.

What’s not realistic to ask for:

  • Food, flowers and other large-volume supplies that are the foundation of the day and come to the vendor at a sizeable price. That would be too much to ask them to pay for.
  • Free labor by their assistants. It’s not their job to iron your 50 tablecloths for free, nor is it fair to ask them to work your wedding day without fair wages. That’s actually illegal.
  • Free labor by other workers, like bartenders and valet workers.
  • Free shipping or delivery.  Fuel is expensive, as is the pay for delivery workers and set-up crews, so don’t ask for this one to be thrown in. (If it’s offered to you, great!)
  • A greater-value item than  one you’re replacing. If the florist calls to say peonies aren’t  available, so you’ll have to choose another type of bloom, don’t expect free orchids and tropical plants as the replacement.
  • Anything that YOU wouldn’t want to do for free!

More time that the vendor can comfortably spend on your wedding. This is important. When you book a coordinator, he or she gauges the scope of your wedding, how much work will go into your plans, and then how many other weddings he or she can book for that same time. If you start expanding your plans and being the Headache Client, you’re not likely to get freebies.

Get it at Barnes and Noble in paperback or NOOK: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-brides-guide-to-freebies-sharon-naylor/1111267553?ean=9780762780013

Get it at Amazon in paperback or Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/The-Brides-Guide-Freebies-Enhancing/dp/0762780010/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367504654&sr=8-1&keywords=bride%27s+guide+to+freebies

Bridesmaids’ Wedding Budget Saver: Get on the List!

bridesmaidonabudget

Bridesmaids, get ready to save a fortune on your wedding dress, shoes, accessories, bridal shower invitations and decor, and more. Since bridesmaids often spend over $1,000 during their time in just one wedding party, you’ll be thrilled to know that this one little tip can save you up to 85% off your bridesmaid gown, shoes, accessories, and up to 60% off the supplies you’ll need to throw a fabulous bridal shower and bachelorette party. You can even get things for free.

So what’s this magic secret? Here it is… Get On the List. Sign up for every mailing list possible at a range of bridal gown and bridesmaid dress shops, department stores, outlet stores, and craft stores, and you’ll get advance, VIP notice of members-only sales and clearances that will save you a fortune.

At a bridal gown shop’s VIP access trunk sale that only people on the mailing list know about, you can save 50%, 60%, up to 85% on pretty, designer bridesmaid dresses – and if you already have your dress, you can get the same savings on your shoes, jewelry, gloves and other accessories. There’s no rule saying you have to shop for a dress at these super-sales! (It may even be safer to be in the accessories section while all those other dress-hungry bridesmaids elbow each other to get to that sophisticated sage stunner!)

At the craft store, members on mailing lists get valuable coupons via e-mail, access to members-only shopping times, advance notice of clearances and sales, and invitations to craft-making classes led by their experts. If you’re not on the list, you miss out!

Be smart when you sign up. Getting on mailing lists will generate a flurry of junk e-mails, so use a separate, dedicated e-mail address just for your bridesmaid activities and provide that one when you sign on. Set your spam filters to accept e-mails from these stores you’ve chosen, and you’ll soon get a goldmine of money-saving offers! And check your spam files to see if your computer re-directed a legitimate, wanted message over there so that you don’t miss it.

The List may be an actual signup sheet in the store, or a form filled out on their site, Liking their Facebook page, filling out a form at a bridal show; when you give them your chosen, safe contact info, you could very well save a LOT of money…which is welcome news if you’re the bridesmaid with less money than the other bridesmaids, or if you’re in more than one or two weddings this season!

I have tons more savings for you in my book Bridesmaid on a Budget: How to Be a Brilliant Bridesmaid Without Breaking the Bank, and you’ll find budget tips and planning ideas in my best-selling Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book. Also, find free worksheets at my site www.sharonnaylor.net!