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The average wedding costs around $30k nowadays. Because our weddings can become extremely expensive, we have to figure out ways to cut the cost and still have the wedding of our dreams. You can still have the perfect wedding with everything you dreamed of and still stay within a modest budget. Simply use some creative thinking or even some favors from friends, and your wedding can be perfect while you save some dollars and cents. These 18 tips are a great place to start saving on your wedding!

  1. Planning time: When you plan a wedding months or even years in advance, you may end up spending more than you budgeted. When brides plan their weddings in a shorter amount of time, more money is saved. You can streamline your planning when you have a shorter time span. Wait until the last couple of months to put your big day together, or simply set your date with limited time to plan in order to save money.
  2. Streamline your guest list: Keep your guest list short in order to save some money on your big day. In order to keep everyone's feelings in check, simply use this rule: If you or your parents haven't had communication within the past year with the potential guest, leave them off the list. If there is ever any complaint, simply say you kept the guest list short.
  3. Avoid Saturday: Saturday is obviously the most popular day for a wedding, but you don't have to get married on Saturday. Sunday is also a great day to get married, and it's on the weekend, too. Or plan your wedding on a weekday: If your guests deem you important enough (and they will), they'll take time off from work to travel and attend.
  4. Time of day: Dinner is the most expensive meal to serve at a wedding reception. To avoid costly food, try having your wedding earlier in the day. A wedding brunch or luncheon can be just as great. Even if you have your wedding in the afternoon and choose to serve heavy hors d'oeuvres, you'll save on the cost of food per guest.
  5. Flowers: Use seasonal flowers to avoid steep prices at the florist. Locally grown flowers won't be costly to get in and will save you some cash.
  6. Food: Use local and seasonal foods for your wedding reception. These will cost less and will be fresher and tastier as well.
  7. Shop, shop, shop: Shop around for your wedding. Check all of the different retailers and websites for the best price for your dresses. Bridal shops usually have seasonal sales, so be sure to shop all of the sales and sale racks at each retailer. You may find the perfect dress that has been marked down to a fraction of the original price.
  8. Music: Music can become costly when it comes to weddings. If you are looking for an ensemble for your ceremony, be sure to check the local colleges' music departments. You might find a group of student musicians for a fraction of the price of a professional group. Also, when it comes to your reception music, try making a reception playlist on your iPad or iPod and have a friend be in charge of that. This will cost close to nothing, and your friend will play exactly what you ask them to.
  9. Have a friend perform the ceremony: Nowadays, it's simple to get ordained online. You can ask a good friend or close family member to perform the ceremony and marry the two of you. Be sure to check with all of the local laws in your state.
  10. Cake alternatives: You don't have to serve wedding cake at your reception. Try something cute like a cupcake tower, or simply have a dessert bar for your guests to choose what they like best.
  11. Negotiate: Before you settle on a price from each of your wedding vendors, be sure to negotiate the details of your contract. If you let them know that you aren't able to go above a certain price, they may be able to come down closer to your budget. Sometimes, you can negotiate a free item thrown in.
  12. Borrow or rent your gown: You have to have your "something borrowed," so why not let it be one of your most expensive items? Wearing your mother's or grandmother's wedding gown is a special thing, especially if they've passed away and you make it known in your program that you are honoring the memory of someone by wearing her dress. Renting a dress is also a great idea, as you can get the gown you want for a price that you can handle. You won't ever wear it again, so don't feel like you must buy a gown.
  13. Resell items after the wedding: New brides are constantly looking for ways to save a penny. Put your wedding items up for sale after the wedding is over. You can use eBay, Craigslist, or even your local paper to advertise your wedding items. Most brides are on a budget and will do anything to get a good deal on the items they want.
  14. Use a friend for photos and video: If you have a friend who is a photographer, they may give you a great deal on a photography or video package as a wedding gift. If you have no budget at all, have some guests who take great pics be in charge of catching the most important moments at the ceremony and reception and emailing them to you afterward. This way, you can eliminate photography completely from your budget, with the exception of printing off some pictures from their cameras. Local photography students may be able to give you a great price on a package as well.
  15. Make your invitations: Thanks to printing software that you can purchase at any office supply store, you can make and even print your own invitations. This is a great way to save on this initial expense.
  16. Favors: Thanks to Pinterest, you can DIY your wedding favors. There are so many craft ideas that are simple and inexpensive to make. You can even get together with your bridesmaids and have a crafting party.
  17. Earn miles: If you are using credit to pay for some or all of your wedding details, use a card that allows you to earn airline miles back for every dollar spent. The closer you get to your big day, the more miles you will have accrued, and these can go toward your honeymoon.
  18. Your venue: Be smart about your venue and you can save some cash. The way to save the most is to have a wedding at someone's home. If you have a friend or family member with a beautiful home or scenic property, have the wedding there and save. If you must use a venue, try to use one that already has seating or tables for dining, so you won't have to rent them.