If you're busy planning a wedding and are freaking out over how much it's going to cost, here are a few tips on how you can save a few dollars.

No. 1 idea: Elope! If you save pretty much the entire cost of the wedding, you can spend more on a nice honeymoon and still have some money left over for retirement savings or that first house.

What? You don't want to elope? Well, then here are a few other ideas.

  • Have your reception in a non-traditional place. Some public grounds, such as parks, can work -- just contact your local recreation departments.

  • Don't shoot for the fanciest of wedding dresses. You're only going to wear it once, after all, so why spend thousands on it? Consider buying a less-expensive one, borrowing one, or even renting one. Consider having bridesmaids wear inexpensive dresses, too.

  • Have a morning wedding. Expenses for food, transportation, and hall rentals tend to be lower in the morning. In addition, guests might imbibe less at an earlier wedding, thereby reducing your liquor tab (and liability!).

  • Think twice before getting married on a Saturday or in June. These are popular times, and they tend to be when couples are charged the most.

  • Consider having an expensive wedding and inexpensive honeymoon, or vice versa. By not splurging on both, you'll save a lot of money.

  • Make the most of gift registries. Instead of registering for expensive luxuries, register for necessities such as everyday dishes and a bathroom scale. If you receive them as gifts, you won't have to buy them later.

For you parents of the affianced, consider this suggestion sent in by Fool reader Orv Wright: "Here's a technique I have used twice as a father of the bride, to save costs. Give your daughter a set amount of money to fund the wedding. Tell her that she can keep any money she has left over. Once she has a financial interest in the effort, you will be shocked at how efficient she can be in controlling costs. I am two-for-two, and both daughters put on impressive weddings and cut out all unnecessary expenses."

For more tips, drop by our Wedding Chapel discussion board, where folks who are or have been embroiled in wedding planning are sharing advice and experiences. For guidance on how to deal with money as a couple, check out Dayana Yochim's book, Couples and Cash. And finally, here are a couple of Fool articles: My Big Fat Cheap Wedding and Cutting Wedding Costs.