There is no need to go bankrupt just to have the perfect wedding. In fact, many people are able to have the wedding of their dreams while staying in budget. There are a few tips and tricks to cut costs without cutting corners. And you may even have a little extra afterwards to splurge on the honeymoon.

Educate yourself.

Find every checklist and article about planning a wedding. This will help you to keep track of all of the little details and deadlines which will help to minimize your stress. Check with friends or family who are married for planning advice – everyone always has something that they wish they had done differently.

Create a list and a budget.

Talk with your fiancé about your budget, desired theme, or color scheme. Consider how much you can afford to spend on a wedding and create a budget to distribute how much you are willing to spend on decorations, venue, photographer, or food. It’s their big day too so check to see if there is anything your fiancé must absolutely have or if there is something that they are ok without. Create a list of things you must have for your wedding and things you can cut if they don’t fit your budget.

To hire or not to hire a planner.

You can save a lot by not hiring a planner but you could be taking on more stress and work than you realize. If a planner is not in your budget, then enlist a friend or family member (or maid of honor if you have chosen one) to help with planning and coordinating your wedding details.

Save on the date

Getting married outside of the traditional wedding months can save you a significant amount at your desired venue. Shop around at different venues and compare prices for different seasons. If you have a general date in mind, compare prices on that date and around it. Weekend afternoons and evenings are going to be most expensive so consider weekday or morning wedding.

Don’t splurge

Avoid running out and buying up everything in site that has to do with weddings. There are a number of free articles online so you can skip those wedding planning books and magazines. Don’t buy any decorations until you have a theme in mind and scour Pinterest to see if you could make a decoration rather than buy it. Wait on big ticket items like the dress, venue, caterer, etc. until you have had time to do your research and compare costs.

Don’t be afraid to say no

Everyone loves weddings, but the more people you invite, the more people who will come and the greater your cost. Invite only family and close friends. Don’t feel obligated to invite distant family or acquaintances. If someone if fishing for an invite, it is ok to tell them you are planning a small and intimate wedding and cannot afford to invite everyone. If anyone gets offended, remind them that it is your big day and they should respect your wishes and budget. 

The most important thing you can do is research, research, research. Compare costs for venues, caterers, photographers, florists and even decorations. Keep in mind that although you want your wedding day to be absolutely perfect, so long as you are marrying the love of your life at the end of the day, everything else is second.