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Falling in love. Getting engaged. It can be a dream come true — until the bill comes! Whether you have help from relatives or you are paying for the wedding yourself, there are ways to keep the costs down. But it’s not easy; weddings have become big business and can be very expensive for everyone from the bride to the bridesmaid to the guests. Here are some ways to save money while planning your dream wedding.

Slow Down

It can be really easy to get caught up in all the details. And those details can be expensive! When you get engaged, everyone and anyone you know has an opinion on what your wedding should be like. Take a little time to reflect on what you and your soon-to-be spouse want out of this wedding. Before you order anything or put down any deposits, spend time thinking and talking about how you see the day.

Beware the Budget

Also spend some time thinking about the costs of that dream wedding. Make a budget. Break it down just like your regular daily and monthly budgets. Look at how much money you have to put toward the wedding (from whatever sources) and how this will break down into all the elements of the wedding celebration. Don’t forget the big-ticket items like the venue and catering to the small items like guest favors and bridesmaid gifts.

Pick Your Battles

Speaking of all the elements, determine whether you really need all of the extras. When creating the wedding budget, prioritize all of the items on there. You may find that neither you or your future spouse care about expensive rings, so skip them! Be prepared to spend on the items you really care about and to skimp on, or even skip, those you don’t.

Be Upfront

For many of the people you will be around during wedding planning, your wedding means they make money. So avoid pushy salespeople, as they don’t always have your best interests at heart. That said, there are some great people in the industry who want to help you have a great day. Be open and honest about your budget so you don’t fall in love with that wedding cake only to find out it costs twice what you have budgeted.

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