As you know from previous posts, I’m not only a wedding blogger…I’m also a bride to be! (Yay!) Planning my own wedding has given me a brand new perspective on the things that I write about, the tools I use and the resources available. Working in the wedding industry has definitely given me a leg up on things, but I’m still surprised at the advice I give that I find hard to take (ergo my super huge guest list that I can’t seem to whittle down.) I can make suggestions and give advice all day long to you guys, but then I have to turn around and apply that same wisdom to my own wedding. And, let me tell you, sometimes that’s easier said than done.

My first line of defense

But one thing’s for sure, I couldn’t do it without help. Over these past few months, I’ve found that my most helpful tool is “The Network”–and I have two of them. First, let me tell you about my people network. Sometimes, it’s not only a matter of who you know, but also who the people you know know. Reaching out to two and three generations, my circle of influence is large. Between me and my fiance, we’ve been able to source products wholesale (thank goodness I work for a wedding favor company), got tremendous discounts on expensive items (like my designer wedding gown from the closeout room of a popular bridal salon), and we even scored a friend of a friend of my coworker to be the sponsor for our reception venue that meant the facility fees were waived. Now, that’s what I call the strength of the network. It’s all about relationship. So, whatever contacts you think you have, work them! It will be worth it.

My other network

I’ll admit that I haven’t tried all of them out there, but online networks, like Wedding Wire, are a godsend. Much more than a directory, it’s the online network that I’ve used in much the same way as my people network. Sourcing products, scouting deals and finding resources has been a breeze on Wedding Wire. It was my go-to source for identifying venues and now that I’m about three months from matrimony, I’m really taking advantage of the other wedding tools. There’s a budgeting tool that really helps me keep track of the funds, a guest list manager that keeps everyone organized for a variety of events from the shower to the big day, and a wedding website tool. Although I haven’t set up my site, it’s still a pretty helpful tool. And the best thing about all of this is that all of these resources are FREE!

As I plan my budget-friendly wedding, “The Network” –both online and in person–has been a lifesaver for me. I’m staying organized and having the wedding of my dreams on the budget I can afford because it’s all about using my resources. You’d be surprised at what’s out there or what people will to do if you just ask.

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