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

  • Here's the idea that will save you the most: elope! If you save pretty much the entire cost of the wedding, you can spend more on a nice honeymoon and still have some savings left over that can be applied to investments.

    What? You don't want to elope? Well, then, read on for 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 going to wear it just 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.
  • Think twice before getting married on a Saturday or in June. Since these are popular times, they tend to be when couples are charged the most.
  • Consider having an expensive wedding and an 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.
  • And one last idea, sent in by 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 lots of ideas on how to save money, visit our Living Below Your Means discussion board. For guidance on how to deal with money as a couple, check out Dayana Yochim's book Couples and Cash. And finally, here's a Fool article on wedding savings.

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