Everyone has a picture of their ideal wedding instilled in their minds. If you already have an engagement ring with a sapphire stone sparkling on your finger, you probably already started planning out your perfect wedding. You want the fanciest venue, prettiest flowers, divine food, and a long list of thrilled guests.

Everyone knows, however, that marriage ceremonies can be insanely costly. But what if we told you there are approaches that can help you save on your wedding expenses? From the guest list to scheduling the wedding, we share several strategies that let you have an amazing ceremony without spending a fortune.

1. Determine your budget precisely.

First and foremost, you need to be strict with your budget. You need to know how much you can actually spend, then list all known expenses, and categorize them accordingly. There will be a lot of spending, naturally. For the expenses you don’t have a set price for, you’ll need to make an educated guess. Don’t forget to divide a portion of your wedding budget for the honeymoon, if you’ll be having one.

2. Cut down on your guest list.

It may be hard to imagine having your dream wedding without everyone you know. However, cutting down your guest list is the easiest and fastest way to remain within your budget. Reducing the number of guests will consequently reduce the cost of all the other aspects like the size of the venue, invitations, catering, and more. Consider limiting the plus-one option too, and make it exclusive to people you socialize with regularly.

3. Choose your venue wisely.

Your wedding venue is most likely going to hit your wallet the hardest. It’s crucial to make a wise decision and book the venue as early as possible. Opt for non-traditional venues like restaurants, local halls, vacation houses, and other venue options that don’t require you to use the venue’s vendors.

Additionally, you can hold the wedding ceremony at home or even outdoors. Just remember that having your wedding outdoors will make the event weather-dependent. In such cases, a back-up plan is an absolute must.

4. Book an off-peak date.

Not all wedding dates and times within the day have the same price. Research the prices to see which months get you the best rates. Same as months, certain days within a week can have a much lower price than other days. For instance, one of the most popular days for a wedding is Saturday, therefore it’s the most expensive day to get married. If you cannot host your wedding during the weekdays, consider booking on a Friday or Sunday. Furthermore, you may want to have a morning wedding to save even more money.

5. Do your own food & beverage catering.

If you’ve managed to find a venue that offers the option of bringing your own food, beverage, and utensils, this will definitely help cut the expenses. Look around the local community for family-owned restaurants and book a catering service with them as they’ll be more understanding of your budget needs. When it comes to alcoholic beverages, stock the bar yourself by buying boxes and crates of alcoholic drinks from warehouse stores rather than paying higher retail prices.

6. Accept services instead of gifts.

Chances are, you may have someone in your family or among your friends who would be more than happy to offer services instead of giving gifts. Whether these guests have musical talent, can take great photos, or can provide bartending skills, offering their skills as a gift can be a major cost-cutter for you. Just make sure these individuals don’t mind being a part of your ceremony in a slightly different way.

You can have an amazing wedding that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg

Making your wedding day an unforgettable experience isn’t about how much money you can spend. If you plan well, book early, and watch out for unforeseen expenses, you will be able to save a lot of money and invest more in other aspects of your wedding, or even your honeymoon. In the end, the most important thing about this day is the one that has no price tag: getting officially united with the love of your life.

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