7 Creative Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

Your wedding is one of the most special days of your life -- but you don't want to spend the rest of your lives together paying for it.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can host a day to remember without a budget you'll always regret. Here are seven big ways to cut back on costs while still planning a lovely wedding.

In the end, your big day is all about you and your love for each other. The rest is just details, and you don't need to spend a small fortune on the details. Use the savings to enjoy a nice honeymoon, make a down payment on a house, build an emergency fund together or even create a "baby fund" (if you're so inclined.)

7 Creative Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
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7 Creative Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding
In many parts of the U.S., May through August are when most couples chose to get married -- and wedding vendors are happy to raise their prices to match the demand. If you live in an extremely warm area, peak months might include the early spring and late autumn, with an off-peak decline in summer.

If you chose an off-season month to host your wedding, you can enjoy some major discounts. You can even design your wedding around a new year's or Valentine's Day theme if you're so inclined.

Saturday nights are the most-booked for weddings. Host your big day on a Thursday, Friday or Sunday and you can save even more.
Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. You don't need matching, engraved toasting glasses. You don't need towering centerpieces full of lavish flowers. You don't need anything at your wedding that you as a couple don't feel you need.

The bridal industry will do its darndest -- through magazines, websites and conventions -- to convince you the proper wedding is made up of a ton of stuff, all of which you'll only use on this one day. Don't listen to it. Only include the elements you want and let the rest go, no matter what anyone else might think about it.
The reception halls, restaurants and country clubs that host weddings almost every weekend during peak season will charge high prices that reflect their popularity. Choose a less-frequented location and you're likely to find prices that are more reasonable.

If you're willing to pay for renting a tent, tables and chairs, you can host an outdoor wedding in your family's backyard, at your favorite park or on the beach. Or you can explore offbeat options in your area, like the local botanical gardens or zoo, which often have on-site function rooms (and can serve as a one-of-a-kind backdrop).
Rather than buying a wedding gown off the rack, consider renting your gown or purchasing a used gown from a site like Craigslist or eBay, and using a portion of the savings to pay for dress alteration (to make it fit properly). You'll only be wearing it once, anyway, so spending a ton of money really isn't necessary.

If you're a more alternative couple, you could do away with the standard gown altogether and opt for something different like a retro cocktail dress or a pretty white sundress, with simple linen suits for the guys in the bridal party.
It's your wedding, so it should only contain the people you really want to be there. Don't worry about your parents' friends or your grandmother's hairdresser feeling slighted; keep your invitation list small and you'll have a more meaningful, intimate wedding full of those you truly love -- and for a cost your wallet will love.
If you're crafty or you have creative friends and family, you can do practically anything for your wedding -- the decorations, the cake, even the catering. Maybe you've got an artistic cousin who could serve as photographer. Maybe your coworker loves gardening and would be happy to make you some bouquets. Perhaps your amateur-baker friend would be happy to create a two-tiered wedding cake or an array of cupcakes.

These DIY touches cut your wedding costs dramatically -- and they personalize your wedding to make it feel extra-special.
There's no rule that states that a wedding reception meal must consist of a four-course, sit-down dinner served by a wait staff. You can save a ton on catering costs by tweaking the traditional.

Family-style and buffet-style dinners are the most common ways of cutting costs on the meal, but you can be more original. If you're having an early afternoon wedding, consider hosting a brunch with mimosas rather than an open bar. If you're keeping it casual, serving appetizers and cocktails will encourage mingling and conversation. If you're getting married in your parents' backyard, you could even host an old-fashioned barbecue. Your food options are limited only by your creativity.

Paula Pant quit her office job in 2008, traveled to 32 countries and is a successful real estate investor. Her blog Afford Anything is the groundswell of a rebellion against tired old financial advice that says you should skip lattes and chain yourself to a desk for 40 years. Afford Anything helps you crush limits, create riches and maximize life.
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