If you are planning a wedding you might be realizing that the costs are adding up fast. Here are 40 ways to reduce your costs so that you do not go into your new marriage in debt from your big day.

  1. Keep your guest list small.
  2. Consider a different time of day for your wedding, such as morning or afternoon.
  3. Consider a buffet or family-style meal rather than a plated meal.
  4. Opt for lap length linens rather than floor length linens.
  5. Add pops of color through sashes or linen napkins as opposed to full linen overlays
  6. Stick with flowers that are in season.
  7. Consider getting married during off-peak wedding season. June tends to be the most popular month for weddings.
  8. Instead of buying something, consider renting it, with things such as a tuxedo or linens and vases.
  9. Buy your own alcohol for the reception.
  10. Consider a cocktail reception with only appetizers to cut down on food costs.
  11. Although the up-front costs of a wedding planner may seem high, they are often great at scoring deals and working with vendors.
  12. If you’re paying for things for the wedding on a credit card, make sure you’re getting something back in return with a cash-back rebates or loyalty points.
  13. Fill your centerpieces and bouquets with more greenery and filler. Or use
  14. Skip the champagne and opt for white wine or sparkling wine instead.
  15. Go for a single-flower bouquet or a less expensive flower (peonies come with a price) for your bouquet.
  16. Your guests still need to be fed, but don’t overdo it on the food. More than three courses for a sit down meal might be excessive for some people.
  17. Have a small display cake as your wedding cake and a larger sheet cake in the back that can be switched out when the cake is cut. No one will know the difference!
  18. Plan things like the cake cutting and first dance earlier in the night, so you can limit the hours of photography needed.
  19. The same thing goes for DJ services. Have an iPod hooked up for the ceremony and cocktail hour and have the DJ work the reception only to cut back on hours.
  20. Consider emailing save-the-dates instead of mailing them.
  21. DIY your own wedding items!
  22. Only invite people to your wedding you are close to, you know well or who you have seen in the last five years.
  23. Have the servers serve the wine instead of leaving it on the table, so the wine consumption is staggered throughout the night.
  24. Factor additional costs, such as shipping, taxes, fees and tips when you create your budget, so you make sure to stay in budget.
  25. Once you are done with your wedding items, sell them to make some extra cash.
  26. When deciding whether to allow kids or not, remember that kids meals are often cheaper. Or you can choose a no-children wedding.
  27. Borrow wedding items from a friend or family member or use family heirlooms in your accessories instead of buying.
  28. Less is more, so cut out things you don’t think you necessarily need. Try a wedding venue that already has decorative elements or doesn’t need many decorations.
  29. Create an easy wedding website and online RSVPs instead of traditional paper invitations.
  30. Cut down the passed appetizers to 1-2 a person per hour instead of 3-4. Or set out a few nibbles on the tables instead. Keep in mind, caterers may try to up-sell you.
  31. Research other budget weddings and see what other couples did to reduce costs.
  32. Carefully evaluate wedding trends. Popular items may cost more because everyone else wants them.
  33. It is important to thank your wedding party, however an expensive gift for each person adds up. A hand written note or personal thank you may be enough.
  34. Most florists charge more for the labor of putting flowers together than the flowers themselves. Buy the flowers in bulk or wholesale and create your own bouquets.
  35. Keep receipts of everything you buy for the wedding and track each item, so you know how much you are spending.
  36. Have a signature drink or a “his favorite & her favorite”. Having a signature cocktail passed around to guests during the cocktail hour is a nice way to personalize your wedding and save on alcohol costs. Guests will appreciate the gesture, you’ll be able to stick to your booze budget, and you’ll be on trend.
  37. Instead of response cards with your invitations, ask guests to email or phone you with their RSVP.
  38. Take your honeymoon at a time when you can get a better vacation deal instead of right after the wedding.
  39. Leave an empty vase on the head table or cake table and use your bridal bouquet as a centerpiece.
  40. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to the wedding budget. The last thing you want is for him to go and splurge on something he wanted while you promised to make cutbacks on things you wanted. Marriage is all about compromise!