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Priceless Weddings for Under $5,000 [Paperback]

Kathleen Kennedy
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 5 2000
A priceless wedding is one that emphasizes the unique personalities of the couple getting married. Priceless Weddings for Under $5,000 proves that you can celebrate the spirit of love, hope, joy, and community -- without spending a fortune.

Caterer and event planner Kathleen Kennedy offers insights on how to personalize a wedding inexpensively. She shares her savvy, insider techniques and tips to help couples save money on the many high-ticket items on their to-do list, showing where to cut corners and where to go all out. Included are:

* A questionnaire to help the bride and groom decide on their top priorities Tips on how to find and book a great low-cost wedding site Guidelines on how to determine a budget, and stick to it

* Negotiation tactics for dealing with caterers, florists, musicians, and photographers.

Priceless Weddings for Under $5,000 covers every single aspect of your special day, including strategies for finding the perfect dress, great ideas for what to serve for the reception, sample wedding vows and readings, innovative decorations and invitations, and ways to incorporate children into the ceremony for second marriages. Throughout the book, inspiring stories of real-life priceless weddings, with complete budget breakdowns, show how resourceful couples around the country created their own unique celebrations.

Priceless Weddings for Under $5,000  is the ultimate guide for couples who want their special day to live on in memory, not through bills.

Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

KATHLEEN KENNEDY is a caterer, chef, and stylist with more than eighteen years of experience in the hospitality industry. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Kathleen worked as a chef/instructor at the California Culinary Academy and was the executive chef at a San Francisco-based catering company. Kathleen has planned and catered weddings ranging in size from 10 to 600 guests.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


The day after my husband and I got engaged, I went to the local bookstore and spent $100 on wedding books, a wedding planner, and a few bridal magazines. I got home and anxiously started pouring through them only to become depressed. From what I read it seemed that you couldn't have a decent wedding without spending a small fortune.

One of the bridal books I bought stated that the cost of an average wedding was $15,000, while another claimed $19,000 was the norm. The "bargain" wedding book that I picked up shared all kinds of great tips designed to help you have an affordable wedding for about $10,000. If this was average, then what was extravagant? I didn't want to know.

Now, I had already been working as a caterer and event planner for many brides and grooms who threw lavish weddings. I had witnessed firsthand the stresses of the big day, the unrealistic expectations, and the inevitable letdown. As one bride I know said, "My wedding day was a blur of chaos and details. With the whole day so tightly planned out, I didn't even get a chance to say hello to a few of my close friends." I vowed this would not happen to me.

I planned a day of celebration, relaxation, great food, and good friends that was affordable, enjoyable, and memorable. Many of our guests remarked that our wedding was one of the best weddings they ever attended. And it cost less than $3,500.

How did we do it? Easy! Our wedding represented who we are individually and who we are as a couple. Location, food, and self-written vows were our top priorities. We asked for and received help from friends and family so that they felt really involved in our ceremony and reception. We kept the guest list under control. We invited eighty guests, fifty-five attended, and we sent out announcements to another fifty friends and relatives. Our wedding was intimate and personal—several of our guests said that they felt they knew us better when they left our wedding than they did before.

Believe it or not, low-budget weddings are on the rise. Or perhaps they never really went away, but they just don't get the media attention that six-figure celebrity weddings receive. After we got married, other engaged couples began to call and ask me for advice. They wanted to learn how to plan a wedding on a shoestring budget. I decided that the time had come to write a book that would help get out the message: You don't have to spend a lot of money to have a great wedding!

When I mention to people that I am writing a book called Priceless Weddings for Under $5,000, I get one of three responses:

"Can you really have a wedding for under $5,000?" or

"No way! That's not possible!" or

"I was at a great low-budget wedding recently . . ." and then the individual precedes to tell me all of the fabulous details of the day's celebration.

After interviewing dozens of other couples like us, who, for whatever reason didn't have or didn't want to spend over $5,000 on their nuptials, I realized that while each wedding was unique, something occurred in all of them that was missing in more elaborate weddings. I heard tales of people pitching in to help in any way they could and how good it felt to these participants to play an active role in the union of their loved ones. The common thread I felt when brides, grooms, family, and friends described the day's events, was the overwhelming feelings of love, joy, and community.

At the end of each chapter and interspersed throughout the book, you will find wedding scenarios that highlight how a specific couple designed their wedding. None were about money or showing off or keeping up with the Joneses. Instead, the stories recounted are about working together to plan, prepare, and partake in the events of a wedding celebration. Whether the couple is tying the knot barefoot on a Manhattan beach or wearing designer clothes in the chic setting of Martha's Vineyard, the weddings profiled are full of self-expression, originality, and stylishness.

Our wedding was a success beyond my wildest dreams and quite definitely the best day of my life. This book is designed to help make your dreams come true, too. Whether you envision a dress like Princess Di's or a simple country ceremony, this book will help you create memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy these narratives. You will soon be joining the ranks of these couples with your own wedding story to tell.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Before you go any further, both you and your fiance should answer the questionnaire at the end of this chapter. Read the first page
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Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
This book provides a great start for those people doing a wedding on a tight budget. It gives sound advice that can help the bride & groom put together a wedding that is original yet affordable.
The strongest feature is the author's discussions of specific weddings. Each wedding highlighted provides a detailed list of all the wedding expenses and the total wedding cost. The weddings also run from a little under $2000 to almost $5000, so it does give a wider, more practical array than other similar books. It gives indepth information on specific items, how they saved money on some items and what they did to make their wedding special.
The author also points out how important it is to set priorities in your budget. She gives samples and this notes you should focus your budget accordingly on the items that are most important to you. May seem simple, but it is key to success.
Overall, the books is a good starting point for planning the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.
I would also suggest "How to Have an Elegant Wedding for $5000 (or Less)" as it has some more practical suggestions as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless Weddings is a keeper! April 8 2001
There are some things that money can't buy & a priceless wedding is one of them! This book should be tossed over a bride's shoulder, to the waiting mob, along with her bouquet!
A priceless wedding celebrates the spirit of the unique personalities of the couple getting married with love, hope, joy & community - without spending a fortune!
Eminently readable & useful, my soon-to-be daughter-in-law hasn't taken her nose out of it since I gave her a copy. With tips & checklists, ideas & warnings about photographers & sites; dresses & flowers; invitations, receptions & food; & inspiration on the vows you'll be exchanging. There's even a chapter: Take the Money & Run, you know - on eloping!
Kathleen Kennedy has put it all together in a lively, breathless yet obviously researched way, so couples can have what they really, really want to express the intentions of their union - without spending the first couple of years of their marriage paying off the debts, as well as not impoverishing their families! Do check out my eInterview with this lively author!
If you know anyone planning their wedding & they don't have Priceless Weddings for Under $5,000 - be a dear & give it to them! It is the perfect wedding's perfect gift!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not very helpful at all...... Feb. 11 2002
By Delta
The only useful things it said are (a) that small weddings are cheaper so keep your guest list small (duh!) and (b)that you should decide on the 5 things that you absolutely can't give up and be willing to sacrifice anything else if needed.
There were sample budgets from real life couples but they weren't very helpful. Most of the stories were about how the bride and groom had family members and friends chip in - a friend who is a photographer took the pictures, another friend baked the cake etc. If you don't have talented friends and family - this book isn't helpful.
One bride and groom were able to keep their expenses low because her brother donated the food and beverages at the reception. Well the food at the reception was still paid for by someone so it wasn't really a wedding for less than $5000. The title should be "how to get other people to pay for your wedding".
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Even if you have a cousin Billy who is going to photography school, don't let anyone besides a photographer with a lot of wedding experience take your pictures.
I am a non-wedding photographer, and no matter what anyone tells you weddings are hard. I have taken wedding photos for friends and other people who just "needed someone" or "wanted to save some money." Even though I'm a pretty good photographer, weddings are a like no other photography job on earth...the families, the rushing, the stress. I know that my photos weren't just as good as the expensive pros.
Trust me, you want someone who has experience with that kind of pressure. You spent the money on the wedding, don't skimp on preserving those memories. It's not worth it.
There's a reason why really good wedding photographers cost so much!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Real life ideas for real life weddings May 19 2001
This is a wonderful book with real-life solutions for brides-to-be. As a party planner for over 15 years, I have had the occasion to help hundreds of brides plan their weddings and there is an abundance of usable ideas in this book. The average wedding in the U.S. is tens of thousands of dollars and that simply does not make sense. The bridal industry takes advantage of brides who want their day to be a once in a lifetime event - Kathleen Kennedy helps them do just that, but with budget conscious ideas. This is not a book about cutting corners. It is about making priorities and planning a wedding that truly reflects who the bridal couple is; that, as Kennedy explains, does not have to break the bank. I will recommend this book to every bride I know.
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but not great May 22 2002
By A Customer
While this book has some good points, it is not the cure-all it claims to be. There are two major flaws. First, as a few other people have noted, much of the savings is getting donations of food, photography, etc. But also most of the weddings profiled are not "regular weddings," which need the most budget help. Most of the weddings are second marriages, which are generally less lavish anyway, and they are not standard weddings i.e. church/synagogue. As a result, for a first-time bride who wants a church wedding, there isn't that much advise.
My final comment: check it out of the library, because it's not worth buying new.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Want your wedding to be unique and personal?
This is not the book for you if you want to invite 500 people and to have a wedding that looks like every other wedding you've ever attended. Read more
Published on April 16 2004 by J. Wolfe
1.0 out of 5 stars a waste of your money!
this lady talks about her wedding and how it was sooo inexpensive. umm..yeah b/c SHE INVITED 50 PEOPLE. hello?!?! anyone could throw a wedding for cheap if they invited 50 ppl. Read more
Published on April 13 2004 by Aims
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money!
SURE you can have a wedding under $5000...if you want less than 10 people and have a friend whos a photographer or a caterer...according to this book. Read more
Published on March 9 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for the First Time Bride
When I thumbed through this book at the local book store I thought it was going to be really helpful. I liked the fact that it had detailed wedding plans and budgets. Read more
Published on Oct. 4 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Use your common sense instead
this is an easy read. if that is all you are looking for, then yes, buy the book. the book gives stories on how friends helped with the food, the pictures, the place, the flowers,... Read more
Published on March 4 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Great suggestions!
If you are planning to an inexpensive wedding, this book is full of great ideas on how you can make it happen. Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2002
1.0 out of 5 stars Not helpful at all
This book was a total waste of money. The elegant weddings cost so little because the brides have family or friends who provide food, liquor, photos, reception sites, etc. Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2002 by C. Quinn
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the most valuable I read
In addition to being one of the most helpful books we bought as we are planning our wedding (and we bought quite a few), this one is also fun to read. Read more
Published on July 4 2002 by J. Wolfe
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful!
I really enjoyed reading this book! It offered many excellent tips on planning a great wedding on a budget. Read more
Published on June 12 2002 by Misha
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