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Your wedding is right up there with the pricey milestones - it's likely one of the biggest expenses you'll come across in your lifetime. However, unlike paying for your education or investing in your home, your wedding day will come and go - without the acquired equity. RATESDOTCA's Cost of Love study found that the average wedding will ring in at around $26,961 - ouch!

While you'll always have the memories, you could also end up with a whole lot of debt thanks to an expensive day. Looking to cut down on your costs? Consider some creative ways to save and have an amazingly fabulous wedding for cheap.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Freebies

If you have a friend who does flowers or photography or is a talented seamstress, hit your pal up early on to donate their services in lieu of a wedding gift. Add to that your own personal talents; making your own wedding invitations if you’re crafty, for instance, will save you a pile. On the organizational side, paying for a wedding planner is probably out of your range, but using your sister-in-law or best friend to help with planning is economical and smart.

Be Clever When Getting Quotes

Companies offering products and services often rack up their prices when they find out it’s a wedding. Get quotes for your flowers, pictures and other services by saying you’re hosting “an event.” The wedding prices may come out later, but then you’ll know the true price of the service and can negotiate.

Scrimp On The Dress

One of the priciest items of the day is easily the wedding dress - and that's not including services like pricey alterations; while it costs about $20 to get pants hemmed at the local dry cleaners, wedding retailers will charge you hundreds to take in a seam - yikes!

One way to reduce your dress budget is to go used. Check out the plethora of web sites offering secondhand dresses. Sites such as Still White, Smartbride Boutique, and the classifieds of all offer an array of deals on pre-worn dresses.

Looking ahead, you can also sell your new dress or even your used one on these sites after the big day and recoup some of your investment. (While many of us like to keep things for posterity, the number of women posting dresses on these sites tells you the wedding dress is no longer a beloved keepsake.)

Get Out of Town

Everything is more expensive in the city. Venue rentals, caterers, flowers, limo drivers: prices are always racked up within city limits,  and can be found for a great deal less in smaller towns. Consider basing your wedding near family members who live in a smaller city or town — you may end up being closer to many of your guests anyway.

Change the Date

Getting married in the off season or on any other day rather than a Saturday could dramatically lower the price for both the venue and the catering. As for food, consider making it a cocktail reception only or a daytime wedding with a lunch instead of a pricey dinner.

Question Your Expectations

Lots of big, fresh flower bouquets, staged photographs, party favours for the guests: all of these are wedding traditions that you don’t have to follow. Define for yourself what is worth spending money on and just invest in those items.


Creating your wedding guest list is tough on the best of days, but consider the benefits of going very small. Not only will you save money, but you'll be able to offer a more upscale experience to the guests you do invite. If you opt for an intimate crowd, you can get away with hosting your wedding at a nice restaurant and getting perks like really amazing food (which is hard to get in a big hall), lots of attentive service and more time with your guests.

Revamp Your Destination

If your heart is set on a wedding on the beach, consider going just yourself. Wedding packages for just the bride and groom — complete with photographs — are not terribly expensive. Then you can return home with your tan and your photos for an inexpensive cocktail reception or a party at one of your parents’ homes.

When you try to save money on your wedding, always look ahead to what your memories will be. Invest in the things that will last for you and your guest. And if you are opting for a thrifty wedding, make sure your gift registry is affordable but thoughtful too: your guests will appreciate your economical way of thinking all around.

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