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If you're engaged, there's a good chance you've been spending your lunch hours perusing Pinterest. It's easy to get so swept up in the grandeur and thrill of the wedding world that you lose track of what's actually important to you – versus what the wedding industry wants you to feel you need.

When planning a wedding on a budget, it's important to start off right. So when you sit down to write that first checklist of things that need to be borrowed and bought, knock off a few items you may not need at all. Below is a list of wedding costs that can be lowered or cut to help you stay on budget.

1. Expensive Wedding Rings

Gold wedding rings may be right for some, but you and your soon-to-be spouse may prefer an alternative option that's both more personal and less costly. For example, you could plant a commemorative tree, select rings made from a more affordable material or even get matching tattoos.

2. Alcohol at the Reception

Depending on the size of your guest list, having an open bar at the reception can cost you thousands of dollars. There is nothing wrong with having an alcohol-free reception, particularly if it's during the day.

If alcohol is something you still want to incorporate, try having a single champagne toast, which will cost you in the hundreds instead of the thousands. Then, have a cash bar available for your guests who want to drink after that.

3. A Full-Meal Reception

Receptions have changed with the times. It's now completely acceptable to have any of the following in lieu of a sit-down, three-course meal:

  • Hors d'oeuvre-only reception
  • Breakfast or brunch reception
  • Potluck reception
  • Champagne and cake reception

4. A Second or Groom's Cake

Groom's cakes are sliced up and sent home with guests as a wedding favor. Originating in Victorian England, single ladies were told to sleep with the piece of cake under their pillows to have sweet dreams of their future husbands.

You can see how a second cake means a big expense, and chances are your guests aren't dying to stuff a cake slice under their pillow. Feel free to skip this one.

5. A DJ for Your Reception

If you can find a reception site that will play preselected music for you, then you don't need a DJ. While DJs can add a lot of fun to a ceremony, you can still have music by creating your own playlists and giving staff at the reception site instructions for what playlists to play when. This is a great option for music lovers with eclectic tastes.

6. Printed Wedding Programs

Why spend beaucoup bucks on something your guests will likely throw away the same day? A website can be a more cost-efficient way to let your guests know what's happening where and at what time.

7. A Separate Reception Dress or Suit

Your wedding day will go by in a flash. And if you just spent a small fortune to purchase a wedding gown or tuxedo, why waste precious time and money just to change into another outfit for the reception? Make sure that whatever you wear to your ceremony, you can dance in comfortably at the reception, and you’ll be good to go. To save money on a wedding dress and maybe even have a reception dress, too, many brides thrift dresses online, in area shops and from other brides who won’t be wearing their dress again. Also, like people in tuxedos figured out years ago, renting a dress is a great cost saving option, too.

8. Summer Wedding

Summer weddings may be the most common, and that makes them more expensive. You’re competing with other couples for venues, caterers, even flowers and photographers. Depending on where you’re getting hitched, there can be tons of options or only a few. Either way, competition drives up costs. Think about a date that works for your families or that’s special to you that falls outside of the wedding high season. And, once you settle on a month, ask about prices for various days of the week. Friday night weddings are growing in popularity, and can be less expensive than a Saturday affair.

9. Decorations

From flowers to separate chair covers, and matching colorful linens, there are extras that make a difference to the night and some that just make a dent in your wallet. Ask about classic white linens and skip the chair covers. Huge table centerpieces make conversation difficult. Opt for shorter, less expensive centerpieces or potted plants that can save you money and still be beautiful.

Saying "no" to these nine items on your wedding day means saying "yes" to your budget. You and your new spouse will be thankful the next day, when you wake up with money left in the bank to spend on building your new life together.

The memorable and debt-free wedding of your dreams is possible, especially when you have a budget and clear plan of how to stick to it.

If you are looking for further assistance on budgeting for your wedding, check in on your money with a free financial wellness review with one of our experts. This session can help create a personalized plan based on your finances and wedding goals.

Check in On Your Money

Spend 30 minutes with us. We’ll talk about your money realities and goals to give you personalized advice and ideas you can start using right away.

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