It’s easy to spend too much on a wedding. With the multi-billion dollar wedding industry urging couples and families to spend more to make the day extra special, it can be hard to not get caught up in the hype.

But remember that you are getting married to legally (and often religiously) join your beloved for the rest of your life; the wedding is merely the ceremony making your union official and then to celebrate this union with family and friends. Keeping your focus in the right place will help you to keep all the material items in perspective.

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1.The Dress

Every bride wants to feel like a princess on her wedding day, but lacks the funds associated with royalty.

When choosing a dress, steer clear of the expensive bridal designs. If you never see that all-too-perfect-but-completely-out-of-the-budget dress, you will never be tempted to buy it. If you are looking at dresses at a bridal shop, inform the associate helping you as to your exact budget.

If she is disrespectful of your budget, leave the shop. There are plenty of other dress shops that will be happy to work with you and your budget. Remember, this is huge industry, so the competition for business is fierce. They should cater to you.

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You may want to consider alternative options for your wedding dress. Wearing an heirloom dress from a relative is a lovely way to honor your family while saving money. If you’re feeling ultra thrifty, you may give thrift shops or eBay a try.

If you definitely want a brand new dress, but you’d like to save hundreds of dollars, buy a white prom dress. Seriously, you can find surprisingly elegant white dresses for one or two hundred dollars by looking through the formal gown section at bridal shops, dress shops, or even department stores at the mall. And best of all, if you shop during clearance season (the summer) you could find a fantastic dress for less than one hundred dollars!

2.Location

A church wedding is usually the most affordable option, especially if it is the church you or a family member attends. If the church has not only a chapel, but also a gym or court yard, you can most likely hold your reception there as well. And better yet, if the church is well supplied with chairs and tables, you can save money by not needing to rent these items. Depending on the church and their policies, you may be required to pay a reasonable fee, a requested donation, or even nothing at all (though you usually need to be an active member of their congregation to be able to get the location for free).

Location

Another affordable wedding location is a friend’s or relative’s house. If you know someone with a lovely house and back yard, you may have found yourself the perfect outdoor wedding location. Another way a friend’s or relative’s home may save you money is by having the wedding at your desired location, but holding the reception at their house. You will need to either rent or borrow chairs, tables, and perhaps a tent.

This does add up, but when you consider that you are avoiding a hotel ballroom fee, you have saved plenty. Additional locations to consider are a local park or beach. These can usually be rented for a modest fee.

3.Food

Why spend a fortune on catering when you have family and friends? A buffet-style wedding dinner is perfectly acceptable, especially considering that it is often used even at formal weddings.

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No need to have people RSVP for chicken or beef when they can just choose from the buffet what appeals to their taste buds. Plus, there’s no need for a wait staff when guests serve themselves. And having your family and friends cook up their best dishes to share with your many guests will give a more personal feel to the dinner.

4.Decorations

If you have a year to plan your wedding, then you have plenty of time to shop the clearance seasons rather than paying full price. Spring and summer are the prime wedding seasons, so you will often find wedding decorations on clearance in the fall and winter.

Stock up on the off seasons. White lights can be found on sale after Christmas, heart shaped items are cheap after Valentine’s Day, and faux flower arrangements end up on clearance as each new season approaches. Check dollar stores and party stores for cute ways to affordably complete your wedding décor.

Decorations

When it comes to decorations, you can also save money by thinking outside the box. If you are looking for white fabric to drape along the walls, you don’t have to buy full-priced bolts of toile. Discounted white draperies can be substantially cheaper. If you want fresh flowers for your centerpieces, consider using the petals in bowls of water surrounded by candles in order to use fewer full flowers.

Affordable dollar store frames with photos of the couple throughout their dating days make great sentimental centerpieces. Thinking beyond the typical you can save money, and can make your wedding much more special by making everything personal and meaningful, instead of just expensive.

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