We love, love, love helping Arkansas brides plan their special day (obviously)! Your wedding day is one of the biggest days of your life and deserves to be beautiful, extravagant and memorable. That being said, we also know that weddings can cost a pretty penny. But there are ways, lovely brides-to-be, that you can spend wisely and still have the wedding of your dreams.

When a copy of Aimee Manis' "Bargainista Bride" first landed on our desk we were intrigued, but a tad bit skeptical. We're all for saving money, but we also don't want to recommend anything to our brides that we don't fully believe in. But Manis - who has worked in wedding coordination, magazine editorial, and as a public relations liaison with renowned gown designer Monique Lhuillier -  is no wedding advice amateur. She knows her stuff, and her ideas for planning a wedding with a budget in mind are smart and practical. In her new book, she directs brides through every aspect of planning, from setting the date to booking the honeymoon, with helpful tips for making the most of each dollar.

Here are some of Manis' great budget-friendly tips and ideas:

  • "Discuss your wedding party and preliminary guest list right away; these numbers will dictate much of the expenses."
  • "Now is the time to call in favors...lots of them. Think about the various items that you need. Don't be shy to ask a friend or family member if you can borrow her wedding veil, a fabulous vintage barrette, or a piece of jewelry that you've always admired on them...also think of services that you need: Maybe you have a cousin who does calligraphy and would trade her talent for a night of chick flicks and martinis at your apartment? Or a friend who whips up a mean coconut macaroon who would be willing to bake them for the wedding favors?"
  • "Like the travel business, weddings also have in-season rates. Getting married sometime in November through March can save you 20 to 30 percent."
  • "Lower your food costs by serving a buffet-style dinner, a luncheon or brunch, or even a cocktail-and-hors d'oeuvres reception."
  • "Don't get soaked by the cost of alcohol. The simplest way to manage the booze budget is by limiting your guests' options."
  • "Check with your mom or grandmother to see if she's still got her own wedding cake topper hidden away somewhere."
  • "Hiring a DJ is typically far less costly than hiring a band. Provide the playlist, a specific 'don't-play' list, and any other instructions so that you're not taken by surprise."
  • "No matter how tight your budget is, hiring the very best photographer you can afford is always money well spent. Allot as much money as you can to this vital category, even if it means that you borrow some funds from another, more ephemeral one." Amen, sister!

And there's tons of other great ideas where those came from. Order a copy of "Bargainista Bride" here. Or, leave us a comment about how you plan to budget for your wedding and you could win a FREE copy of "Bargainista Bride" from Arkansas Bride. We'll choose a winner at random on Monday, December 19.

UPDATE: Michelle Jackson, you're our winner! Message us your contact info and we'll get your book to you! Thanks everyone for your comments!