Want to create your dream wedding without breaking the bank? We asked 50 brides to share their best cost-cutting secrets—from crafty cocktail parties to a totally genius use for pashminas. Ready, set, save!

Do a Dessert Table

"We created a homemade dessert buffet instead of ordering a wedding cake. My husband and I asked all of the ladies from his family to make their signature dessert, and we put their names next to each one. Everyone loved the variety, and it saved us a lot of cash." —Kristin S., Irvine, Calif.

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Photo: Patricia Heal