I have two people currently in my life who are planning their own weddings. It seems like a daunting task however it can be easily accomplished on your own with the help of your friends and family. So, here are just a few tidbits that I found helpful from planning my own wedding.

Step 1.

Decide where you want your or your parent’s hard-earned money to go! The groom and bride to be should both sit down and list the top 10 things they find to be the most important about their special day. You can do this together or separately either way by doing this exercise it lets you see where most of your budget should be focused. Your list could include but is not limited to any of the following: venue, transportation, photographer/videographer, food, the cake, liquor/beer, decorations, dress/suit, bridal/groom gifts, wedding favors, etc.

Step 2.

Set out a time line. Again, for some planning a wedding is overwhelming. Spread out the tasks so that way you focus on different areas each month rather than all at once. This will include everything from introducing the parents to one another, selecting a venue,  ordering favors etc. If you want a more in-depth guide there are a ton of websites that offer free wedding calendar checklists.

Step 3.

Get creative and think outside of the box. The best way to save money is to do a lot of the  work and research yourself. I planned my wedding in roughly 2 weeks 3 months before the actual date. I am a planner so this definitely kept me on my toes- it was the only date that everyone was available to fly cross country…Keep in mind- I was stressed out and in hyper-drive…so I do not reccommend people going this route! Give yourself plenty of time and enlist plenty of help!

Step 4.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions or explore other options. I was able to book my venue at a discounted price because my husband was active military. I know that not all of my readers have this advantage, so another way to receive a discount for the venue is schedule the wedding on a slower day. You can always ask the venue what days are usually their slowest- generally this will be the middle of the week or in the morning. (Keep in mind this might cause issues for your guests.) Weekends and nights are the most pricey because that is what is in high demand.

Step 5.

Buy a used dress. I saved 44% on my wedding dress because I didn’t buy new.  I purchased a floor sample at a local boutique and then took it to a tailor to be altered and cleaned. When I got the dress back it looked brand new- the beading that was loose had all been sown back into place, the stains at the bottom of the dress from being brushed against the floor- gone, the tiny rip- vanished. If you have a thing with wearing something that was once used you can still save. There are tons of people on ebay that offer custom dresses. Most of these vendors are based in China (where most of the dresses we buy are made to begin with) and will require your measurements and color selection. Generally, the pricing is around $200 per dress. The one draw back to this is that you have to wait anywhere from 1-4 months to receive your dress. I prefer to see and touch what the material before I buy something, but if this is a better option for you then happy hunting!

Step 6.

A little well-known fact that is surprisingly obvious, (oxymoronic statement yet it’s true) the business of getting married is just that— a business. Unfortunately, marketing and sales teams are quite well aware of the psychology behind this special day. They know that you have spent your whole life waiting for the day to become Mrs. and wear the most beautiful dress on earth that makes you look amazing! Don’t be fooled that you have to spend an arm and potentially a portion of your left leg in order to have the wedding of your dreams. Be realistic about your budget and if you over spend somewhere that means another area will have to be adjusted to accomodate. And remember- it’s just one day, important and special, but one day.