5 Steps to Set a Flawless Wedding Budget

The marriage between you and your spouse-to-be is by far the most important aspect of your wedding, but the matrimonial budget comes in at a close second! Once you’ve thoroughly celebrated your engagement, it’s time to sit down and create a flawless financial plan for the big day! Your wedding day will likely be one of the biggest and most expensive parties you’ve ever hosted. So here are five steps to set a flawless wedding budget for the dream wedding you can afford!


1. Determine Who’s Paying for the Wedding

Will it just be you and your fiancé? Are your parents or other family members willing to contribute? Whatever your situation may be, it’s super important to figure this out before you sit down and calculate your overall wedding budget. Try to confirm how much each party is willing to spend or what part of the wedding they would like to contribute to. Whether it be throwing a bridal shower or chipping in on your wedding dress, any little bit can help. And we know money conversations can be awkward but they are crucial in determining your overall budget. However you decide to approach the matter, be sure to do it in a respectful way.

2. Plan Your Guest List

Your guest count will 100% impact the amount of money you’ll be spending. The number of people you can expect to attend will not only determine the venue size, but also the amount of food and alcohol you need to supply (which are two major costs). Breaking down the cost into a per person expenditure can help put things into perspective. Each guest ends up costing more than their meal when you factor in invitations, gift bags, and a slice of cake. So when planning your guest list, invite the people you want to be at your wedding and try not to invite guests because you feel obligated.


3.Create Your Budget

Once you have the above figured out, it’s time to actually create your wedding budget! As you start assigning funds to different categories, you'll need to determine which items on your list are a priority. Maybe your partner wants an open bar, and you want an amazing video, but neither of you want a sit down meal. Your priorities as a couple will influence where you put more or less money. Also, it can be helpful to set the total cost, then allocate specific percentages to each aspect of the wedding. For example, the reception, food, and drink costs will be around 50% of the total amount you’ve set. **Take advantage of the free spreadsheets online to keep your organized**

4. Expect the Unexpected

Once the contracts have been drafted, it’s crucial to read through them and ask questions in spots where you’re confused. Make sure the prices your vendors have quoted you on is the correct amount that includes taxes and gratuity where necessary. Some of those small expenses may seem trivial now, but they add up quickly. It’s a good idea to allocate about 5% of your budget for unexpected costs. If that 5% isn’t enough to cover some of the unknowns, there are other options available.

If you have good credit, you might qualify for a 0% APR credit card which allows you to have no interest on your balance for 12-18 months. After the introductory period is over, the interest rate switches back to the regular purchase APR, so make sure you know you can pay your balance off in the allotted time frame. Another option would be to get a low-interest personal loan. The interest rates are fixed and you only apply for the amount you need so the temptation to overspend is eliminated. Couples tend to be more diligent about what they spend when they take out a loan. Once you see the total amount of all of your expenses, make sure it fits into the overall budget you set. And if it doesn’t, it’s time to reevaluate and cut back on some costs (keep reading if you need tips). 


5. Find Ways to Save

This probably goes without saying, but our dresses are always marked 30-80% below the retail cost. So we've got you coved on saving money on the dress! And we've already mentioned the guest list, but to put it in perspective, you can save almost $2,000 just by trimming it down 10-20 people. Plus, there are over 15 Smart Ways to Save Money On Your Wedding in another one of our blog posts.

At the end of the day, your wedding is about you and your finacé. Don’t start your marriage off by going into debt because the focus shouldn't be about how much money you spend for the big day. It's about the commitment you're about to make to your soon-to-be spouse.

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Who should I bring when I go wedding dress shopping?

Great question!  We're so glad you asked!

Your squad, girl gang, bridal entourage...today we're talking about who to bring with you when it's time to shop for your bridal gown.  So, who should be in your bride tribe? Generally, they are your closest friends & family members and let's be clear, we are not talking about a group of 15 of your "closest" friends. Your dress shopping experience will be one of the most memorable parts of planning your wedding and depending on who'd in your crew can dictate if that memory is a positive or negative one.  We've put together some "rules of engagement" that we hope will ensure you will have the best time of your life with the right people! 

 Lillian West  6421  Size 14  Sand  Retail Price $1197 | Our Price $838  (Available at our east valley store)

Lillian West  6421  Size 14  Sand  Retail Price $1197 | Our Price $838  (Available at our east valley store)


  • Bring people that always have your best interest at heart and support you no matter what. This might be your mom or it might not. It might be your sister or it might not. Listen, we know that navigating these relational waters is very, very difficult. Ultimately you know what is best for you and we will be here all day long to support you in doing what is right for you. 

  • It's helpful to have someone on team bride that knows your style really well. Do you have a great shopping buddy? Definitely invite them as long as they can give an honest opinion in a kind a loving way.

  • Are you using a wedding coordinator to help plan your wedding? Planners will often go shopping with their bride and in addition to your bridal stylist, can be a strong advocate for you and your best interest. They also will likely have the inside scoop on all your wedding details and can help speak to whether or not a dress is vibing with the rest of the wedding elements.

  • Stick to 1-3 close family members or friends. While most of our shops can accommodate a larger group, we have found that the magic number of people in your bride tribe is no more than 5. 

 Pronovias  Orinoco  White  Size 10  Retail Price $2,640 | OUR Price: $1,848  (Available at our Las Vegas Store)

Pronovias  Orinoco  White  Size 10  Retail Price $2,640 | OUR Price: $1,848  (Available at our Las Vegas Store)


  • Feel obligated to invite anyone! The people that are with you should be there because you want them there, not because you feel obligated to!

  • Be afraid to shop by yourself! We have brides come in all the time without an entourage to have a calm, relaxed fitting while making her own opinions. We highly recommend this if the idea of a bride tribe adds stress. We can always invite them back for a wedding dress "reveal appointment" after you've made your decision.

  • Forget that you're probably not the only bride shopping in the boutique. While a loud & fun group is exciting and brings life to your experience, we always want to respect the other brides who are in store for a special day too!

 Allure  9321  Blush  Size 6  Retail Price $,1450 | Our Price $,1015 (available at our Phoenix store)

Allure  9321  Blush  Size 6  Retail Price $,1450 | Our Price $,1015 (available at our Phoenix store)

Check us out on social media for more wedding tips  + new arrivals + BTS action. 

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Wedding Day Essentials

There are many moving parts to planning a wedding, but luckily there are also a lot of resources out there to help you execute your big day as seamlessly as possible. Recently, we shared a post about how to plan a wedding in three months or less, which is an amazing resource for brides choosing to have a short engagement. Today, we’re going to focus on some wedding-day essentials that every bride should have on hand as she gets ready to walk down the aisle. Whether three months or three years away, it’s important to be prepared and to plan accordingly. 

Choosing the perfect bridal bag

It might sound silly, but having a bridal bag for your wedding day can be very helpful for keeping everything you need in one spot. Every bride is going to be different. Some brides will want everything but the kitchen sink, while others keep it simple. If you’re the first, consider getting a large weekender bag with many different compartments to keep everything organized and easily accessible. If you're the second, there are some really cute, simple bride tote bags out there that will easily get the job done. 



Thinking about your hair and makeup

Again, you might be a bride that’s opting for a professional makeup artist and hair stylist, or you could be creating your own look. Either way, make sure you have a practice run (or two) to figure out, not just, how long it will take to do your hair and makeup, but what tools you’re going to need. Another quick tip, is to plan ahead for crying with waterproof options; happy tears are a thing and will happen! Don’t forget to bring extra bobby pins and clips - just in case. And once you're getting ready for real on your wedding day, stick with what you know works with your hair and skin (it'll just cause extra stress by trying out a new concealer or hairspray that doesn't get the job done).



The most important fit of your life

Buying a wedding dress that doesn't need any alterations is like winning the lottery. Almost every bride will need to have some alterations to ensure the perfect fit. Alterations start months in advance and often require a series of fittings to make sure everything is perfect for the wedding day. However, stress, hormones and other factors can cause your body to fluctuate, leaving your dress a little too tight or a little too loose. You can plan ahead with items like: shapewear or tape to hold everything in place, a comfy strapless bra for proper support, and/or safety pins and a needle and thread for securing loose fabric. Plus, safety pins and thread can do wonders for a broken bustle loop that didn't make it through the whole night of dancing.



Finishing out the evening

For women that opt to wear luxurious heels down the aisle, a pair of flats or flip flops are essential for the rest of the evening, especially if you plan to hit the dance floor! In the event that your heels stay on, consider blister cushions and bandaids. There are also a variety of different heel inserts that will keep your feet feeling comfy throughout the evening. If you’re going straight to a hotel or airport for your honeymoon, make sure your bags are already packed and ready to go beforehand. No matter what you’re doing after the reception, you'll want to pack: a change of clothes, some face wipes to freshen up, and a hair tie to toss your hair up.



Every bride’s bag is going to have different essentials, so make sure you think about what your priorities are and what your day and night will look like to make sure you’re prepared to have the best day of your life!

Check us out on social media for more wedding tips  + new arrivals + BTS action. 

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2017 Top Celebrity Weddings

While we're all about finding the savvy bride a designer dress without the designer price tag at Brilliant Bridal, sometimes it's fun to reflect on the past year and get lost in the over-the-top luxury of celebrity weddings! 2017 was a big year for celebrity weddings; it was hard to just share ten with you! From the dresses to the venues these brides planned incredible weddings!! 

We know some of these may seem far fetched, but keep scrolling for our tips on pulling off a celebrity style wedding without a celebrity budget down below! And you might be surprised what wedding planning tips you pick up while reading about these dream weddings. 

Pippa Middleton and James Matthew

This long awaited wedding did not disappoint. Middleton, Princess Kate's sister, married longtime boyfriend Matthews during a royal(ish) affair at the St. Marks Church in Englefield. The bride wore a gorgeous, all-over-lace gown designed by Giles Deacon that featured a high Victorian neckline and keyhole back. And check out, Princess Charlotte, flower girl, and Prince George, pageboy, leading the newlyweds out after the ceremony! 


Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel

All. The. Vintage. Vibes. Ever gorgeous supermodel, Kerr, wore a Grace Kelly inspired gown for her secret nuptials to Snapchat CEO, Spiegel. According to People, the guest list was kept pretty tight, with only 40 of the pair's friends and family in attendance. But besides the small guest list, the ceremony was still lavish. 

Keyshia Ka’oir and Gucci Mane

Did you already get to see this lavish all-white event?? Rapper Guccie Mane wed beauty mogel Keyshia Ka’oir at the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami and it aired live on BET! The bride walked down the aisle in a stunning Charbel Zoe Couture gown with an illusion neckline and sparkling bodice that gave way to a feathered train. She completed her bridal look with a jeweled headpiece, teardrop earrings, and a dazzling bouquet.


Chrishell Stause and Justin Hartley

This Is Us star Justin Hartley exchanged handwritten vows with his love, Chrishell Stause, in an outdoor wedding in Malibu, California. The bride looked beautiful in her strappy, high-low Monique Lhuillier bridal gown with feathery accents .


Ronda Rousey and Travis Browne

While milliions were watching the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight, UFC Champion, Rousey, was marrying fellow UFC fighter, Browne, during an intimate ceremony along the coast of Hawaii. The bride looked stunning in a curve-hugging Galia Lahav lace wedding dress, and looking just as picture perfect her groom donned a vine of tropical greenery over his shoulders.


Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian

Tennis legend Serena Williams and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanion vowed their love at the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans. The bride walked down the aisle looking just like a modern day princess in an Alexander McQueen bridal gown while her groom looked very on trend in a dark velvet blazer. 

serena williams.jpg

Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli

OITNB’s Wiley and writer Morelli ties the knot during a colorful ceremony in Palm Springs, California this past March. The confetti-themed celebration was inspired by their mutual love of Pillsbury Funfetti cake! 🎉🎂  How cute are they?! 


Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans

Bare-foot. Beach curls. Berta gown. Kelsea Ballerini tied the knot with her now-husband, musician Morgan Evans, during a destination beach wedding in Cabos San Lucas, Mexico, just a few weeks ago in December. According to People, the Grammy-nominated singer walked bare-foot down the aisle wearing an amazing gown by Berta


Paige O'Brien and Josh Peck

Ever wonder what your childhood tv show actors look like now? Well Peck from Drake & Josh married his longtime love, O'Brien, this past June in Malibu, California. The bride wore a champagne gown with floral, ivory embroidery complimented by the groom's classic black tux. And we know you're wondering. Drake Bell was m.i.a for the wedding celebration. 


David Tutera and Joey Toth

Bridal gown designer Tutera wed fiancé Joey Toth at Hollywood United Methodist Church during a super-lavish ceremony. Featuring an old-Hollywood theme, countless candles and wrought-iron candelabras, and 20,000 roses!


Having celebrity dream wedding envy? Here are a few tips for you: 

1. Hire a wedding planner. We know that might sound expensive, but this was the number one tip we heard from brides this year. A planner will make sure you stick to your budget and get the biggest bang for your buck!

2. Take a cue from the celebs and pare down the guest list and spoil those in attendance!

3. Your wedding dress doesn't have to cost a fortune. Save money and look like a million bucks by coming in to see us at Brilliant Bridal. 

4. Opt for classic decor items like candelabras, chargers and candlesticks, while staying away from overly trendy pieces. 

5. Pinterest is your best friend. You can see what designs look like without using your own wedding as a guinea pig. 

For more inspiration, be sure to follow us on Instagram @BrilliantBridal

Our Top 5 Bridal Show Tips

It's Bridal Show Season!! Throughout the month of January you can find Brilliant Bridal at the Colorado Bridal Show in Denver, the Bridal Spectacular in Las Vegas and the Arizona Bridal Show in Phoenix (stay tuned for more details). It's seriously such a fun time to meet so many new brides-to-be and to start chatting about finding their dream dress at a dream price! 

If this is your first time attending a bridal show, whether in Denver, Las Vegas or Phoenix, we'd love to share some tips with you to make this an amazing experience! Regardless if you're going to a huge annual bridal show or a smaller venue open house, these tips will make sure you are prepared to lock in amazing deals, stay organized and most importantly have the most fun ever! So here's to kicking wedding planning stress goodbye and planning your big day like a pro!! 

1. Create a Wedding Email

Create an email address that is easy to remember and reflective of your wedding day like: jackandjill2017@gmail.com or thejackandjillwedding@gmail.com. You can use this address to give to wedding vendors, as an eco-friendly RSVP option or to keep in touch with your wedding guests with out having your personal email bombarded.

This tip is straight from the organization gods! Really, it's sure to make a world of difference in keeping you organized while at the bridal show, but also as you continue to plan your wedding. There are loads of free email options out there, but at Brilliant Bridal we choose to run everything on Gmail. It easily allows you to set up folders that you can use to organize your vendors, it has virtually unlimited storage, and comes with a slew of other programs like Google DriveGoogle Calendar and more!

Keep in mind that by attending most bridal shows, you likely had to share your email address and "opt in" to receiving emails from their partners. Some email will be from vendors that you want to hear from and some of it might be kind of annoying. By law, all direct email marketing must have a clear "unsubscribe" option.  We would encourage you to use this method for silencing the wedding pros you aren't interested in rather than marking their emails as "spam."

2. If You Like It Put a Label on It

One super easy thing you can do in advance that will save you lots of time at a bridal show is creating a simple contact info label. Many vendors will be offering giveaways and promos that will require your contact info and instead of writing this info over and over again, a sheet or two of labels will save you lots of time and writer's cramp! You can put as much or as little information on the label as you're comfortable with, but do make sure to include your full name, phone number, wedding date and your wedding email address at minimum.

Also, never feel pressured to give your contact information to a wedding vendor. If you do, that's probably a sign of someone you wouldn't want to work with in the first place. You should only give out your contact info out if you are truly interested in a vendor's service and would like more information. Or if you would like a chance to win their giveaway!!

 Details Darling shop

Details Darling shop

3. #bridetribegoals

A lot of brides-to-be like to bring a whole bride tribe to the bridal show to help make wedding planning decisions and to carry all the free goodies from vendors. Rather than inviting your entire bridal party, family and lifelong besties, consider selecting just a few key people to help you navigate the bridal show. Think mom, MOH and sister/BFF. And if you and your fiancé are sharing the wedding planning duties, make sure you both attend and agree on the guests attending with you.

If you have a hard time staying organized and on track, bring someone to keep you focused. If you're more of a type A personality, bring a friend who will keep things light and stress free. Bring friends & family who know YOU and who won't try to convince you their idea is better (admit it, we all have that friend). 

Bottom line: remember this day is about you and your fiancé, your wedding and what you need to accomplish to pull it all together. Don't feel pressured to invite a huge group to join you, if it will create more stress or derail your wedding planning.

4. Check Your Calendar

Bridal shows are an amazing opportunity to meet with a high quantity of wedding vendors in a short amount of time. So it's pretty likely that you'll meet a handful that you want to chat more about your wedding. Before heading to the show, take a look at your calendar to get a feel for which days or weeks you're available to schedule appointments. Many vendors (us included!) will offer a discount on their services, if you book and keep an appointment, so coming prepared to schedule appointments could end up saving you hundreds of dollars if not more!

5. Game Time

This is going to sound a lot like the advice you'd get from your mother the day before taking a big test, but don't tune us out if you want to be on top of your game! (Not that you would ever tune your mom out. 😉 ) But be sure you: get some rest before heading to a bridal show; eat breakfast and drink plenty of water (plus bring snacks) and wear comfortable shoes! It's amazing how being tired and hangry with sore feet affects your mood. Not to mention all of the added emotions and pressures involved in planning a wedding. Also, plan to arrive earlier than you might think necessary, since parking downtown can be time consuming and don't forget to bring cash to park.

Aside from that, plan to have the best day, meet some incredible wedding pros, taste all the samples and make a huge dent in your wedding planning! Hope you feel so prepared to take on your first bridal show and we can't wait to meet you! 

Check us out on social media for more wedding tips  + new arrivals + BTS action. 

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