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About The Chief Bridesmaid

1st February 2007, breakfast-time, my boyfriend asked me a wonderful, if rather unexpected, question, “Will you marry me?”  

engagement wedding saving expert

Happily agreeing, we quickly began to put together our hypothetical Wedding plans: Paris for the Hen, Rio for the Stag, Jimmy Choos for my bridal shoes, Christiana Couture for the dress, Blenheim Palace for the reception, Bucking Bronco for post-wedding entertainment, a heart-shaped ice carving with built-in vodka luge followed by fireworks.

Then reality suddenly set in.

The credit crunch and recession began to loom in the headlines, and even though we were lucky enough to have a relatively healthy budget, nothing like the above was even thinkable.  Mention the “w” word and people’s eyes fill with pound-signs, prices suddenly quadruple and your wedding budget begins to feel tighter and tighter.

But I vowed it needn’t be like this: I would find a way of having our dream day without driving us both into debt. I didn’t want a “cheap” wedding, but I was going to make damned sure that I didn’t get ripped off, overspend or overlook cheaper wedding options just because it was my wedding day. We learned to realise that there is nothing wrong with trying to save a bit of money on your wedding day.

May 24th 2008 – The most wonderful day of my life: my Wedding Day.

Everything was perfect: the groom, the ceremony, the weather, the speeches & the party afterwards.Real Wedding Stories on The Chief Bridesmaid

So I didn’t have Jimmy Choos – but I had some beautiful wedding shoes from LK Bennett (£10 reduced from £170!). And we may have made a lot of refinements to our initial plans (no Rio for Jem, but he still had an awesome stag), but these didn’t feel like compromises, because we spent on the elements that felt most important to us and saved money on those elements that weren’t. This was our mantra when it came to wedding planning –and now one that I hope to instil in every bride who reads The Chief Bridesmaid.

The story isn’t quite over....

June 15th 2008 – Angry and tearful, I threw a desperate look over to Jem.

We were at our wedding photographers and had just watched the most wonderful slideshow of 300 wedding photos. We’d agreed with him before the wedding to just have the photos electronically on a disc, rather than buy a wedding album from him.  

But having showed us the photos that told the complete story of our wedding, the photographer dealt us a killer blow: you can have 90 of these, if you want any more, you’ll have to pay £15 for each shot. (This was obviously in addition to a not insignificant £1,200 that we’d paid him upfront !)  

We were shocked. This was not something that he had mentioned in our earlier meetings or in the contract. As he hadn’t touched up the photos at all, giving us all the 300 files rather than just 90 of them didn’t cost him any penny more. In fact, it would have saved him time, as he could just transfered all of the photos over to disc in one go!

It was just a dishonest and underhand money-making scheme and he was taking advantage of our emotions. By having to leave behind so many wonderful images of our day, we felt like treasured memories of our Wedding day were being lost forever.

After a lot of heated discussion, we eventually persuaded the photographer to reduce his costs on any of the photos that we’d have to pay extra for. But we still left feeling upset and ripped off. Up until then, our entire wedding experience had been perfect – he had completely sullied it.

It was then that I dreamed up The Chief Bridesmaid.

I would do my utmost to ensure that this didn’t happen to any other Brides and Grooms out there. It’s not fair that people should take advantage of you just because it’s your wedding day, and I wanted to put an end to it. The site was born as Wedding Saving Expert.co.uk and was subsequently re-branded as TheChiefBridesmaid.co.uk

The summer's credit crunch and the current recession has made the aim of the site more relevant than ever.

From now on, let’s join together to become savvier brides and grooms. Overspending and wedding debt won’t make your wedding day any more special – if you’re getting married for the right reasons, it’ll feel perfect whatever brand your shoes are. Remember it’s the marriage you really ought to be investing in, not the wedding day..

Good Luck & remember: see saving money and cheaper wedding choices as a reason for celebration rather than sacrifice.

 leaving wedding

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