A wedding is a joyous event. A very, expensive yet joyous event. The average cost for a wedding in the United States is around $30,000, yet some people far exceed that amount.

A nice, fancy wedding is fine for those who have cash to burn, but for those who are tighter on the finances, it can be harder to swing. And you should never go into debt for a wedding- that is no way to start off your new life together.

Some people think that a budgeted wedding means a tacky wedding, but that could not be further from the truth. What brides (and often mother of the bride) tend to fret and obsess over small details that no one will remember.

The first step is to create a wedding budget. Know what you are able to spend on the entire wedding, including any help from mom and dad. With that budget in mind, determine what is the most important thing to you, whether it is food, the dress or entertainment. Then start assigning dollar amounts to each category. Always remember to overestimate the cost for each category, as most people severely under budget and find they spend more than originally planned.

If after that, you still find you are still over budget, here are some tips to help you trim the fat.

  • Get rid of insane decor. Nothing says tacky like an ice sculpture in the shape of the couple or the couple’s name spelled out in rose petals. It is cheesy, outdated and a cost that is better left toward something else. Trust me, no one will care if you ditch the ice sculpture. And if any one is talking about it, it probably is not kind.
  • Swap pricey favors for cheap ones. For some reason, couples feel like every one needs a keepsake from their wedding in the form of engraved champagne glasses to monogrammed towels. The bride and groom are really the only ones who will want that sort of keepsake (and in a few years, even they won’t care!), so don’t eat up your budget with these giveaways. Think of a cute little bag a candies that coordinate with the wedding colors (for example: for a red wedding fill with licorice, Swedish Fish and red M&Ms) or a package of flower seeds. It is a usable favor that won’t live on a dusty shelf for years to come.
  • Be smart with your flowers. Live flowers can be very expensive, so choose wisely how you want them used. If you have an outdoor location for your wedding, you will need fewer flowers to decorate. Think small, sweet centerpieces instead of ostentatious bouquets. Also think about who really needs a corsage. Does your great-aunt Millie need one? Also, slash costs by using flowers that are in season.
  • Don’t go overboard with invitations. Know that your invitation will soon be in the trash. However, many people will keep your picture. And stick with one envelope- it is ostentatious to have many.
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