Jamie Lynn Spears Is Engaged, Some Wedding Tips For Her—And You


Jamie Lynn Spears, has pop music genes. Singer Sara Evans—and Dancing With The Stars (DIS) alum—is all about country. But lately these two are probably more into rock(s).

That's because both entertainers recently became engaged to be married. News of the younger Spears sporting an engagement ring first appeared on People.com (TWX), which also broke the news about Evans. "She's got an engagement ring," a source close to Spears said. "She's been showing it off."

Are you recently engaged? You may be one of the two million couples expected to tie the knot this year. Planning for your big day can be a thrill. However, the average cost of a wedding is about $25,000, according wedding website The Knot. If you are not making a star salary, you can still plan a beautiful wedding that won’t drain your bank account, provided you plan in advance.

“Don’t do anything before you know your budget,” says Christa Vagnozzi, a senior editor at the Wedding Channel. This is the most important step in the wedding planning process because it sets limits. When creating a budget, start by determining what matters most. If you’re a foodie, you might allocate more money for the menu. If you want the paparazzo treatment, the photographers might be the big budget item.

Just remember: When collecting budget estimates, avoid general numbers such as those found online. Instead, talk to your florist, caterer, or planner to get actual figures about what they will charge you, says Connie Olsen Kearns, owner of the Bridal Network.

“While some brides don't mind spending $5,000 on that gorgeous Vera Wang dress, another bride is looking for that spectacular reception site that will keep guests spellbound,” says Abby Adeniyi, owner of Oasis of Elegance, a wedding planning company based in Upper Marlboro, Md. Pay special attention to areas that can cover more than one budget line: A venue with a “view might require less decorating," and cut costs on floral arrangements, says Kearns.

Of course, a key factor in determining your budget is your guest list. In Jamie Lynn's case, her family might be able to afford to invite the five million fans of her show, Zoey 101(VIA.B), but MainStreet wouldn't recommend it. Being selective can bring your event's price down. You might want to have adults only, or limit the number of invitations which allow friends to bring dates. Remember, not only are you paying per head for what guests eat, “you’re paying per head for everything on the table,” including chair rentals, says Liene Stevens, the owner of Blue Orchid Weddings based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

And while Jamie Lynn is flashing her diamond now, that doesn’t mean her wedding will be anytime soon. If you have schedule flexibility, consider a locale that is off season for extra savings. While on and off seasons are determined by where you live, the prime season for a wedding is May through October, says Vagnozzi. A November through April wedding might provide just the savings you need. The time of day for a wedding also impacts the price. Food and wine can consume about 40% of your budget, an early morning or afternoon wedding means a less expensive meal. (If your big sister prefers fast food, even more savings might be possible.) Happy planning!


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