The most important thing you must consider when planning a wedding is your budget. With the following cost cutting tips you can have a beautiful wedding without going into debt.

1. Create your own invitations

With a little practice you can create professional looking invitations. Buy high quality blank invitation forms. Make sure to use a typeface that is formal, crisp and easy to read for professional-looking results.

2. Gowns

Save money on your Wedding gown and Bridesmaid dresses by shopping at a bridal discount outlets. If alterations are necessary, take the dresses to a local seamstress. If you need a bridal gown slip, rent it rather than buy it.

3. Limit your attendants to Maid/Matron of Honor and Best Man. You will save money on clothing, gifts, and food costs at the rehearsal dinner.

4. Get married in the morning: afternoon and evening weddings are more expensive.

5. For an indoor wedding consider having your reception at a restaurant. Most charge less than a hotel or country club. Plus restaurants do not charge room fees like many facilities.

6. Consider having your reception at a park or public garden rather than an expensive hall. Most public parks are free or charge a small fee.

7. Cut Reception Food Costs

Limit the number of guests to those you really want there. (Remember caterer's charge per person).

Forego the multi-course dinner in favor of a brunch, luncheon, a dessert reception, or even a cocktail party.

8. Cut Bar Reception Costs

Serve only beer, wine, and soft drinks. Do not offer mixed drinks. By eliminating mixed drinks you may be able to cut your bar bill in half.

Consider offering a full bar for the first hour or two and then switch to a cash bar. Do not have waiters/waitresses serve the guest drinks. If a people have to actually go get their own drinks, they will probably drink less, therefore saving you money.

9. Party Favors

You can save hundreds of dollars by eliminating the party favors. If you absolutely want favors, why not make your own? How about buying bags of Hershey kisses and wrapping a few into a small piece of organza cloth and tying it with a cute ribbon.

Forego the printed napkins and matches to save even more money. Also, do you really need a gold embossed guest book? Probably not! Why not purchase a nice guest book at your local stationery store.

10. Wedding Cake

Wedding cakes can be very expensive. To save money on your cake contact a nearby college that offers cooking classes for referrals. A recent Graduate can make you a gorgeous cake a lot cheaper than a professional baker.

To really save money on your cake you could consider using a display cake (A dummy Styrofoam cake) for the display table. A display cake will look exactly like a real cake and your guests would never know the difference. Since you do not have a real cake your caterer can serve guests slices of sheet cake which costs a fraction of the cost of wedding cake.

11. Music

Hire a DJ rather than a live band. If you want live music, visit the music department at your local college for referrals. There are many talented music students who would gladly play at your wedding.

12. Flowers

Why not make your own bouquet? Buy a pretty bouquet of flowers or pick wild flowers and tie them together with wire. Then wrap the wire with a pretty ribbon. (Hint: Roses are not good flowers for bouquets as they fall apart rather easily).

If you want to purchase a professional bouquet, remember to always use flowers in season to save money.

Rather than purchase expensive boutonnieres for the men, why not pin a single flower to the jacket lapel.

13. Table Displays

You do not need expensive flower table displays for your reception. Why not put pretty flowers in a small vase on each table. All the vases do not have to match. In fact, it can look striking if you use a different vase and flower on each table.

Rather than flowers, decorate each table with candles. Here are some tips:

  • Buy some candles and tie ribbons around them then slip a single flower inside the ribbon. Keep the ribbon long and let it cascade down to the table.
  • Put a couple of floating candles in a clear glass bowl along with a few fresh flower heads. You can buy a plant like a Chrysanthemum for a couple of dollars and cut the flowers off.
  • Votive candles on top of a mirror makes a romantic centerpiece for an evening reception.
14. Photographer Hiring a professional photographer/videographer is very expensive. Consider asking a photographer friend to do the honors (Perhaps as a wedding present).

If you want professional photos, consider hiring a photographer for the formal shots of your ceremony only. Then place disposable cameras on every table. Not only will your guests have fun, but you'll get dozens of photographs as momentos at very little cost