How to save money

Small can be special

Beware of blowing your savings and/or going into debt for your wedding—financial stress puts an enormous amount of strain on a new marriage. A smaller, simpler wedding with a few personalized touches can be just as warmly remembered.

Prep your planner

If you are on a specific budget, be sure your consultant is on your team. Be frank from the start about what you can spend, and ask your consultant to negotiate with vendors for you. Many are educated about exactly how much specific services should cost and will help you stay within your budget.

Be smart about the date

The date you pick for your wedding can start you on the right track in terms of budget. Getting married in the less busy seasons, particularly November and January–April, may catch you a bargain because wedding service vendors are more likely to offer discounts at these times: Off-season at popular tourist locales can be up to 30 percent less expensive. Choosing a Thursday or Friday rather than a weekend may find you big savings too.

Stick with small towns

Head out of the big cities (Chicago, New York, San Francisco) and into smaller towns and you can save some cash. Everything costs more in major metropolitan areas.

Consider a destination wedding

Hotel or resort packages that include everything from wedding cake to a coordinator are often offered at popular destination-wedding locales like Hawaii or the Virgin Islands. You might find that it's more affordable to head for the tropics than to stay at home.

Day or evening?

Consider the time of day of your celebration. In general, a brunch reception will be far less expensive than a dinner, and guests will drink less, which saves big on your bar tab.

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