Are you panicking about the cost of your big day? Do you have a vision in mind but don’t want to break the bank doing it? While the average American wedding costs more than $20,000 you don’t have to fall into this money trap as well! Here are 8 tips to help you lower the cost of your dream day.

Cut the Planning Timeline

     The longer you have the more you rethink, reconsider, change and redo your event. These changes cost money over a span of time. Some vendors charge for changes outside of their percentage rate, sometimes spending and not liking something causes you to spend more, friends may come and go resulting in higher food costs with less people. While you should have ample time to plan, realistically you don’t need more than 6 months to plan a wedding. That is the bare minimum to feel content and not rushed while building the event you want.

Consider the Time

     Many venues have off seasons during the year when many couples don’t get married. Because of this venues offer lower prices trying to bring in more clients. This same rule applies to the week. Saturday is usually the busiest for weddings so try aiming for a Friday night or Sunday reception. These off dates and times also allow you more negotiation and helps your attendance since guests won’t be trying to figure out who’s wedding to attend and who’s they will be missing.

Saving on Your Dress

     Look for store, designer and sample sales in your area. If you are of an average build and even if you’re not trying to find these money saving opportunities that can save you big in the long run. Even if you have to travel a bit to find one of these special sales and your choices may not be as broad you can always have your amazing finds altered to fit and still come out cheaper than paying full price for a designer gown in your area.

Avoid Food Traditions

     Many opt for a buffet meal believing this will be cheaper than a plated meal but this is not always the case. Buffets allow for guests to help themselves and in doing so there is no portion control and thus you have to order more to compensate. Instead of going with a buffet or sit down meal try hosting a cocktail reception with heavy appetizers, alcoholic and nonalcoholic drink options and of course the cake. If you are looking for something less formal try a potluck reception. If choosing a pot luck be sure to allow more time between ceremony and reception for guests to grab food or portions of their meal they may not have had a chance to bring with them because of the length of the ceremony.

Reuse Your Floral

     Choosing in season floral can help save on floral costs but a lot of couples double their floral cost by decorating the ceremony and the reception location. Instead of decorating both choose someone or a few people (not in your bridal party) to be responsible for floral transport to the reception hall. This will save a bundle on the cost of flowers by reusing what you already have. Don’t forget once the bridal party arrives at the reception location they will also have bouquets to add to the décor if needed.

     While weddings and over the top events can be pretty pricy there are many areas you can save money if you think ahead, using the resources around you and asking friends and family for help. A wedding is a union of two people’s lives and those lives are better off not starting in debt.

James Novotny is the administrative asssitant at The I Do Company and director Always the Bridesman