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February has come and gone but it was certainly not wasted. I have found some incredible bargains this month and have marked many things off my list. I now have my guest favors, vases for centerpieces, arch for wedding, bare branches — already painted in silver to match my theme — and the all-important wedding jewelry. I have also paid deposits on my church and the reception hall.

My guest favors, glass snowflake ornaments with accents of royal blue, were found online at Oriental Trading at a huge discount. Shopping for snowflakes after the Christmas holidays was an ingenious decision on my part. The regular price of each unit, or dozen, was an astounding $12.99, which would have brought my total price to $216.50 not including shipping and handling. I got them on clearance for only $5.99 per unit, bringing my total to $101.83, allowing me to save almost $115. This tremendous savings allowed me to spend wisely in other areas. The favors do need a little work before the wedding though. The strings on the ornaments will need to be cut off and replaced with white ribbon. I will need to make tags for each one with our names and the wedding date so that down the road family and friends will know where they came from. I also bought some royal blue snowflake gemstones that will be used to decorate the flower girl baskets, the ring pillow, and the unity candle. Speaking of the flower girls, mine are going to be more along the lines of snow angels. The petals the girls — my fiancée’s nieces Janson and Jacey — will be throwing are not rose petals. Instead I went with royal blue silk snowflakes. The snowflakes are going to look amazing on the white aisle runner, which has not yet been purchased.

My centerpieces are going to be very winter-like. I am not going traditional and using flowers. I am going to use bare branches painted to look like they are iced over from a recent winter storm. The vases were a great find for me, which I was not expecting. While browsing in a local thrift store with a friend, I noticed that there were vases, not identical but very similar, scattered throughout the store. It was just my lucky day when I discovered that the store was having a going out-of-business sale, everything in stock was 65 percent off. I collected all the vases throughout the store and with the help of the proprietress of Junk-A-Doodle-Do, Terry, gathered more that were in storage. Grand total was 22 vases and bowls (bowls will be used for the Candy Buffet) which came to less than $42. To fill the bottom of those vases I bought 22 one-pound bags of clear and royal blue moonstones at Dollar Tree. At the same time I also bought bubbles for after the ceremony.

I was also introduced to a newlywed by one of my bridesmaids who was willing to sell the arch and decorative branches used in her wedding. The arch, which originally cost close to $300, is already decorated with white flowers and white lights. The only alteration needed is to remove four goldish brown embellishments and replace them with royal blue roses. I saved a great deal on this by getting it used and can now put the $150 worth of savings toward something else.

As to the ‘crowning jewels’ of my purchases thus far I spent only $112 on a three-piece set, tiara, necklace and earrings. I found my dream set at tiaratown.com. This set is a replica of one my favorite actress wore in a favorite movie, Audrey Hepburn in her first starring roll as Princess Ann in Roman Holiday. But unlike Ann, I will not have to give up the love of my life for my throne.

The final decisions on the church and reception hall were also made this month. I have put the deposit down for the First Baptist Church in Bonne Terre and the Heritage Hall in Bonne Terre. After seeing the Heritage Hall I knew that is where my reception would be, but, for ease of travel for my guests in case of inclement weather, I wanted my church to be close. The decision was an easy one to make because the church is on the same street as the hall, making travel between wedding and reception incredibly easy.

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In the coming month I plan to keep my eyes wide open for any more bargains that might come my way.

Lisa Malone is a staff writer for the Daily Journal and can be reached by email at lmalone@dailyjournalonline.com or by calling 573-431-2010 ext. 177. She is sharing her wedding plans with our readers.

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