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Everyone knows when you start seeing Christmas clearance, it's time to stock up for next year, right? But those ringing Christmas bells can indicate so much more than that. If there are wedding bells in your near future, Christmas clearance can be the answer to helping you save big on your special day.

HOLD ON! My wedding is not in December! I don't want to decorate with tinsel or use red and green as my colors! Am I still talking to you? YES! Even a summer wedding can take advantage of holiday sales. Because people entertain more than usual during the holidays, stores market to that tendency. So anything related to entertaining may show up cheaper at this time of year.

Here are some of the best things to look for through the holiday season:

Lighting: WHITE twinkle lights and larger Christmas lights are great for any season. Candles and LED battery operated candles are often cheaper or on clearance. The LEDs are especially good to consider buying, as many venues don't allow for real candles.  Look for candlesticks too.  Often these are less expensive at this time of year. Don’t forget to check online sites for holiday sale prices.

Decorations: Anything gold, silver, crystal, red or green is good to snag now. We've used mirror ball ornaments and shiny red apothecary jars from Christmas Clearance on the buffet for a summer Indian-themed wedding. Crystal bead garlands and ornaments make a stunning crystal tree for a winter wedding. Lighted topiaries don't look “Christmasy” in a spring garden wedding. Look for bolts of festive ribbon that might be suitable for other occasions than Christmas. Check craft stores for early Christmas clearance. JoAnn and Michael's frequently have 40-50% off coupons to use on a single item.

Table Settings: Some of the warehouse clubs only carry the nicer paper napkins, plates, etc. at this time of year. Also, there are different selections of these paper goods in places like the dollar stores than are normally available. You may even get lucky and find real dishes you can use either for place settings or for serving. Remember, not all Christmas china has holly berries or gingerbread on it! If you can find enough, tablecloths can be marked down too.

Formal Wear: Though the colors may be limited, true formal wear is easiest to find at department stores during Christmas (okay, and during prom season…but do you really want your bridal party to look like teenagers?) Additionally, if you are looking for formal wear for children, it can be almost impossible to find reasonable prices at other times of the year. Look for dresses (black is nearly always in season—just skip the velvet if you're getting married in June.), suits, ties, dress shirts, and jewelry.

Food: If you are ambitious (krazy?) enough to do the food at your wedding, this may be a time to find some deals, too. Turkey and ham are at their lowest prices and freeze beautifully for months. Baking ingredients also tend to be cheaper, and most of these store well. Could there be a more worthy cause for bulking up your stockpile?

With a shift in your perspective you'll look around and see a variety of things that could work for your wedding celebration, especially if you're still flexible about what you want. Even red or green are versatile if combined with another color (green and brown doesn't say Christmas in May). With a little creativity and a sharp eye, you can have a great celebration for a lot less.

This has been a guest post by Tricia from Eugene, OR
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