Weddings can be one of the most expensive things that you will ever experience. You want to justify spending every dollar because this is your dream day but that could leave "starting your lives together" pretty far behind! There's the dress, and the reception hall, and the food, and the band, and the photographer, the florist, the cake, the party favors. The list goes on and on and on.

You end up spending $5,000 on a dress you only where once, $8,000 on food you never get to eat, $1,500 on flowers that will just shrivel up and die, and $2,000 on a photographer that doesn't take the pictures that you want him to take.

This sounds terrible, but we justify it by saying that we only get married once (hopefully). For some, myself included, they just can't afford to spend that kind of money. Well, there is hope. You can plan your dream wedding without spending an outrageous amount of money. I have done it and I will tell you how to too.

There are lots of places that you can cut corners and your guests will never know. Follow the tips that I have listed below and you will be planning the wedding of your dreams without burning a humongous hole in your pocket!

Tip #1: The Dress

There are a lot of ways that you can save money on your dress and your bridesmaid's dresses. First of all, if you have a close friend or relative, you could ask to borrow their dress. This can be very meaningful to you, and can be quite a compliment to the owner of the dress.

You can also save money by shopping for a used dress at a consignment shop or online. If you are absolutely determined to have your own dress, shop at wedding shows or during sale times. A lot of wedding stores will run dress sales in the spring. Be a savvy shopper and you can save a bundle!

You can also save a lot of money on your bridesmaid's dresses by shopping at after prom sales. I have gotten beautiful dresses for less than $10 a piece! If you shop at a large department store it is usually no problem to find sizes and even if you find a dress that is slightly too large for one of your ladies, you can usually have a dress altered for around $25 and you have still only spent $35. If you really want to make things easy on yourself, just pick a color palette for your dresses and not a specific dress style. This way you have a lot more variety.

You can also save on jewelry by making it yourself. You can find easy jewelry making kits at local craft stores. If you are short on time, or are just not crafty you can borrow jewelry as well. In my wedding, my sister wore some of my grandmother's jewelry. This was very meaningful for both of us, and it didn't cost a dime!

Tip #2: The Flowers

A lot of people spend $1,000's of dollars on their floral arrangements. They look beautiful for a couple of hours, but then there is nothing to remember them by. Most florists have very high quality silk flowers that are less expensive, and will last forever.

You can also save even more money by making your centerpieces yourself with silk flowers from a craft store. My local craft store runs ½ sales at least four times a year. Purchase silk flowers on sale and you will have huge savings!

Tip #3: The Food

It used to be standard that at wedding receptions there was always be a sit down meal. However, many people these days are not sticking to that tradition. You can save a lot of money by having a buffet of hot hoer derves and finger foods. This is much less expensive and then food is not wasted because the guests will determine their serving size.

You can save even more money by having a desert only reception. The cake, of course, is your main course and just have some cookies, small deserts, and a fruit tray on the side. You can make the cookies and deserts yourself and save a lot of money!

Some people even just have cake and punch receptions. This is very simple and elegant, and can save you a tremendous amount of money.

Tip #4: The Cake

Many bakeries will charge outrages amounts of money to make your cake. I have heard of people spending over $500 for a cake! You can save a lot of money on your cake if you shop around. A great idea is to check your local grocery store. Many grocery store bakeries will make a cake for ½ the price of a stand alone bakery.

If you are dead set on a fancy cake, get a small cake and then purchase plain sheet cakes to serve as well. This can also save you a lot of money, and no one will ever know the difference!

Tip #5: The Favors

There is absolutely no need to purchase expensive favors for your guests. There are lots of very nice favors that you can buy or make that will not cost you loads of money. One of my favorites, and what I used at my wedding, is a cookie cutter.

You can purchase metal cookie cutters in almost any shape imaginable. Pick out one that will match the theme of your wedding. Print up little cards that have a message from you on one side, and a cookie recipe on the other and tie it to the cookie cutter with a pretty ribbon.

I was married on St. Patrick's Day, so I found clover cookie cutters and used green and white paper and green ribbon. A friend of mine didn't have a specific theme, so she picked out heart cookie cutters and attached cards that were in the colors of her wedding.