Weddings are expensive affairs as newly engaged couples quickly find out. Searching for ways to cut costs is a high priority for those on a small or fixed budget. Here are a few suggestions on how you can reduce your wedding expenses and stay on top of things as you work out your wedding plans.

1. The farther away you set your wedding date the more chances you have of spotting some really good deals and taking advantage of sales. A wedding that needs to be planned in less than 3 or 4 months will be rushed… and rushed often equates to more money being spent.

2. Choose a month, day, and time of day that will take advantage of lower service fees. The wedding season is from roughly from May until October. This is when wedding related services not only cost the most, but you will have a harder time booking the services you need. Weekends are the most popular choice, so consider having your wedding on a weekday instead. Evening weddings are more expensive than ones held in the morning or early afternoon.

3. Put a set amount of money aside every paycheck into a "wedding fund". It's easier to save a little bit at a time to cover expenses than to try to come up with large lump sums to pay your wedding vendors at the last moment.

4. Always get at least 3 quotes per service that you are inquiring about. Prices can fluctuate wildly between vendors, so it pays to shop around.

5. Negotiate for lower prices or to have the vendor add extras at no additional cost. You may be pleasantly surprised at some of the unexpected bargains that you could come across. Besides, if you don't ask you'll never know what you could have had for free.

6. Be well prepared with a list of questions for each wedding professional that you speak with. By doing so, you will show the person that you are well aware of how the industry works and that you will not be easily taken advantage of. It also gives you a good basis to compare services of different companies to find one that will provide you with everything you require and charge a fare price.

7. After you have made a decision on each of your vendors and have signed contracts with them, be sure to call and confirm your reservation and service. Keep in touch as your wedding date draws nearer to be sure they are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. It's unfortunate, but occasionally a business may suddenly close down and the owner disappears. Not only will you loose your deposit, but you'll need to scramble to find a replacement quickly. If you keep in touch, you may get some warning signs that this person may not be in business much longer, so you can at least try to retrieve your deposit.

8. Keep records of all conversations, appointments, phone calls, contracts discussed and signed, and receipts. This is your proof in case the vendor doesn't provide you with all the services you both agreed upon. In this case, you would be well within your rights to demand a partial refund. By the same token, some vendors may try to scam extra money out of you by insisting that you owe more than agreed upon. With a copy of your signed contract on hand, plus receipts for any deposits you've made to them, you'll have proof of the balance that you really owe.

9. Never sign a contract until all of your questions have been answered to your satisfaction. If you are having trouble getting answers out of a vendor, move on. You don't need that hassle. If they're being difficult now, imagine what they'll be like as your wedding date draws closer! Be sure to keep notes on everything discussed and make sure that it is all covered in writing on the contract.

10. Do not sign a contract if you feel the vendor is pressuring you. Take the time to sit back and very carefully read through the document. Compare it to the notes that you made during the initial interview with them. Remember, this is a legally binding document that you will be signing, so make sure it's right before add your signature.