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Want to get married, but you’re faced with a crazy economy and don’t have the bucks to spare for a huge wedding? Wendy Atterberry from The Frisky has a few tips to keeping your wedding beautiful, yet budget-friendly.

[From The Frisky]

1. Quit “Shoulding” All Over Yourself

The biggest cost-cutting tactic in planning a wedding is to focus on what you want, not what you think you should do or have or wear. Just because every bridal magazine and your Great Aunt Sally say you have to have a $1,200 veil doesn’t mean you do! In fact, you don’t have to have a veil at all! You also don’t have to have Save The Date cards, a 3-tiered cake, or a poofy white gown if you don’t want them. These aren’t the things that make a wedding a wedding. YOU (and your betrothed) saying your vows, expressing your love, and making a commitment to each other is what makes a wedding a wedding. Everything else is just icing on the cake (or pie, if that’s what you prefer).

2. Choose A Free Or Cheap Location

Most banquet halls are ridiculously expensive, so before you drop a deposit that could pay for a home, think about places you could say your vows that won’t put you in debt. Backyards, parks, restaurants, your best friend’s parents’ enormo house, even a community rec room can all be wonderfully intimate spots for a wedding. After researching lots of places, my fiancé and I settled on a small garden in Central Park. It costs a fraction of what some of the raw spaces and reception halls in the city would cost and it comes with its own flowers! Afterward, we’re having our reception at a restaurant, where we’re paying about ¼ what a typical caterer would charge per person. Choosing a restaurant for a reception is a fantastic way to keep costs down, particularly if you find one that doesn’t charge a booking fee.

3. Avoid Wedding Rush Hour

Saturday night is the rush hour of weddings, so restaurants and wedding halls will cost much more then than, say, on a Friday afternoon. For religious reasons, my fiancé and I couldn’t have a wedding on a Saturday and since we wanted to celebrate with friends into the night, we decided a Sunday wouldn’t work either, so we’re going with a Friday morning ceremony, followed by a lunch reception and a party at our apartment later in the night and we’re saving hundreds of dollars in the process. Also keep in mind that spring and summer are the peak wedding seasons, so consider off-peak months to save even more bucks on your wedding.

4. Have A Potluck

Wanna really save a bundle on food? Invite everyone to bring a dish in lieu of a gift. You’ll have a great variety of eats, and you won’t be stuck returning a bunch of toasters you don’t need.

5. Keep The Wedding Small

Consider making the wedding family only, or immediate family and close friends. Resist the urge to invite everyone’s “plus 1” unless their plus 1 is someone you actually know well. Think about inviting one group of people to the reception – often the most expensive part of a wedding – and having a BYO party at your apartment for a more inclusive group of people. Who says you have to buy dinner for everyone you want to celebrate your special day with?

For 10 more helpful budget wedding tips, click here.

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