5 Easy Ways To Cut Thousands Off The Cost Of Your Wedding

by Jenn Ryan

Love can be expensive.

The average cost of a wedding in the United States is $26,444. Yikes!

My fiancé and I aren't cheap people (well, OK, we are a little cheap), but we are semi-recent college grads, and we are trying to purchase a house this summer and we do have like seven rescued animals living with us. When you think about all the things your budget needs to go to, celebrating your love isn't necessarily one of them.

But this is the day you've dreamed of since you were a kid, and you finally found THAT person, the one who understands you, takes care of you and who wants to be your saucy love mate forever. If that's not worth celebrating, I don't know what is.

So let's save some big bucks on your wedding with these five strategies:

Book Early

Planning is your friend. Organization just makes life easier. This is never truer than it is during that wedding planning period in your life. When you book vendors like photographers and florists early, you save money, get locked-in rates and you avoid the last-minute scramble that comes with hiring whoever you can find quickly.

Booking everything early can save you some serious cash. Always keep your eye out for deals. This is where having a longer engagement can be beneficial; you have lots of time to plan and choose your perfect vendors.

Research Everything

By taking the time to research everything you need for your wedding, you can save money. You might have had a fancy, expensive venue in mind. Keep looking for different places because there will be something very similar yet cheaper out there for you. There's only one way to find out: research. Take the time to really understand your venue options and weigh in on what really matters to you with your significant other. Want a private gathering? A huge bash? You'll still save money by doing the research to find the perfect fit for your wants and your budget.

Pick Unconventional Times

So yeah … Saturday. Don't get married on a Saturday. You could save yourself thousands by choosing a different day to get married. You may even want to choose days close to holidays, such as Christmas or Independence Day when people tend to have off. Why are Saturdays more expensive? Because everyone wants to get married on a Saturday, that's why.

You can also save money by choosing a different time of year to get married besides the prime May through October wedding season. Caterers, venues and photographers are extremely busy during these times, therefore they'll need to charge you more for their services and staff. Choose to get married during the off-season and save cash.

Dress for Less

Your wedding dress could cost as little as $50 at a vintage shop, or it could cost you thousands. You want the dress of your dreams, but the price? Keep it down by keeping all your options open. Search on eBay.

Find a white dress that's not technically a “wedding” dress, and spend a little extra making it custom for you. You should be in love with your wedding dress, but you should also be in love with the price. Get creative and help your bridesmaids or groomsmen out by letting them wear whatever they want.

Ditch Stress with a Courthouse Wedding

Have a courthouse wedding and save lots of cash and your sanity. You can still bring your family and friends and wear your perfect dress. This way, you can focus your time and energy on the reception and have the gathering of your dreams for your perfect day.

It doesn't even have to be an expensive reception — even a nice restaurant can be cheaper than renting out a venue or having to cater to all of your guests. When you want an intimate wedding and reception that saves cash, consider the courthouse; it's relatively stress-free.

You can save thousands on your wedding just by incorporating these five simple strategies into your wedding planning. As for me and my fiancé, we'll be doing a courthouse wedding sometime next spring. There's time to save, plan and get everything for cheap.