Should you choose a strapless wedding dress? A sit-down reception? What about the flowers? The music? The food?
Planning a wedding is all about the details — and that's where Donnie Brown comes in. Brown is a Texas wedding planner known for his wacky sense of humor on the Style Network show "Whose Wedding is it Anyway?"
Brown also penned his first wedding-planning book, "Donnie Brown Weddings: From the Couture to the Cake." He'll also give away a one-hour consultation with a lucky bride-to-be.
Brown recently answered questions via e-mail:
Tell us about your clients and the budgets for their weddings. How much — on average — do they want to spend on their big day?
We are fortunate to have a wide variety of budgets that come in the door. We do weddings ranging from $15,000 to $750,000 every year. I would think the median amount is somewhere in the $135,000 range.
What are, say, the top five ways to save money on a wedding?
1. Create a working budget and stick to it.
2. Trim the fat out of your guest list. Every person that is invited costs money. Have those people you really want at your wedding and eliminate the excess so you can get as close to the wedding you want as possible.
3. Do a Friday or Sunday wedding. Saturdays are premium and you can very often save money on alternate days.
4. Pay for your wedding bills on American Express and use the reward points for your honeymoon travel. I say American Express because as long as you pay it monthly, there is no interest added in that will negate the positive nature of the reward points.
5. Carefully review the contracts and negotiate. You would be surprised how much room vendors and venues have in their arsenal to work with you on your wedding. If you don't ask, you will never know.
What do you not want to skimp on? Venue? Food? Decor?
Skimp on the things that are least important to you as a bride and groom. Everyone is different. Some have their hearts set on better food. For some, it's the gown, and for some, it's the decor or entertainment.
What one piece of advice do you have for couples while planning their wedding?
Hire a good wedding planner if you can. They can save you time, stress and even money by steering you through the process more efficiently, getting better contract negotiations and protecting you from unethical vendors.
Tell us about the celebrity weddings you have done. What was interesting? What was unique?
I will always remember LeAnn Rimes and Dean Sheremet's wedding. Although I have done many since, that one has always been near and dear to my heart. Their wedding was spectacular. It was filled with Black Magic roses (nearly 20,000 stems) and utilized champagne fabrics and amazing lighting. It was a truly over-the-top affair.
How do you keep up with your wedding business, your book promo and the television show?
I work about 15 hours a day. Fortunately, I have a great staff, an incredible publicist, two amazing agents and the will to make it happen.