Weddings are expensive, everyone knows that. We want you to be able to cut down your spending where possible. Here are some tips and tricks on saving money while still being able to have that perfect day you’ve always dreamed of.

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1. Keep your guest list simple. Try to stay between 125-175 guests. Forgo inviting coworkers and children to the reception. Include your friend’s significant others but don’t allow casual dates or plus one’s. You can also webcast your wedding over the internet for those that couldn’t invite to the wedding so that they feel they are still a part of your special day.

2. Make your own invitations. You can purchase supplies at a craft store and have your wedding party come over to help assemble them. Another trendy option is going paperless. Send online “evites” to your guests or use social media. You can set up a Facebook Page and Twitter account to invite guests and keep them updated about the wedding.

3. Book a local area as your reception venue. It could be a park near your house, rooftop garden or even a pumpkin patch. You also can consider getting married on a weekday or during the off-season November to March, since venues charge less during those days.

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4. Limit alcoholic drink choices. Consider choosing only wine or domestic beer for your alcoholic drink choices. Hire a caterer that supplies everything you need , includes plates, glassware, table cloths, etc. Also, consider having a late evening or night reception and only serve drinks and cake.

5. Find a family member or friend who bakes. Try and find a family member or friend that owns a bakery or makes wedding cakes that would be willing to create one for you for a low cost or to give as a wedding gift. You can even buy a plain wedding cake and decorate it yourself. There are other options available including cupcakes or cake pops that are less expensive.

6. Widen your search for a wedding dress. Check out your local thrift store or other second hand wedding gown shop. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how many options they actually have available for an amazing low cost. Then check out eBay or other online sites for accessories to add to the dress to make it your own.

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7. Keep it simple with Bridesmaid’s dresses. Choose a simple dress from a local department store and let the bridesmaids add their own flair to it. Try shopping for these dresses during prom season (March to May), after New Year’s or during November to January when winter is in full force for a discount.

These are just a few of my top secret tips on how to plan a wedding on a budget. In Part 2, I will reveal the rest of my tips including how to save money on your ceremony music, transportation, photography décor and the overall day!

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Sandra Fraser, an intern with The Wedding Planner Magazine, has a love and passion for the bridal industry, bringing her creative eye into everything she does. She completed her degree in Tourism Management/Business Development at Niagara College and a post graduate program in Public Relations. She is WPIC (Wedding Planner Institute of Canada) certified and has experience setting up wedding rooms, choosing/setting up/tearing down decor, bartending, serving, and being in constant contact with brides throughout their process.

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