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Don’t start writing checks for your wedding without reading this advice

When it’s all on you to dig deep into your wallet and front the bill for the wedding of your dreams, you may start to feel an extra layer of stress. You may even start to feel like a penny pincher throughout every single decision, to-do list item and Pinterest-discovered decoration that you want to purchase along the way.

More: How to get through wedding planning without killing your family or your fiancé

But instead of draining your savings account to afford one night of your life or making an appointment at your local bank to beg them for a loan so you can afford flower-heavy centerpieces that are high enough to touch the ballroom’s ceilings, you can still find ways to plan the wedding of your dreams without scrounging around for money. To help shake off your money headaches, here are 10 tips for any and all brides paying for their own wedding.

1. Think about your bank account after the wedding

Be real with yourself. You’ll be even more stressed, post-wedding, if you put yourself in a deeper debt hole. So be smart about the price tag you put on your big day.

2. For the sake of your honeymoon phase, don’t cheat on your budget

Before you pick your wedding dress, date and destination, you need to pick out how you’re going to set up your wedding budget. Look at how much moolah you’re able to spend on the night and then split that number up into categories: food, entertainment, decorations, and of course, your dress.

3. Rethink your dream wedding

You may have grown up drinking the Kool-Aid that your fairy tale wedding needs to have a list of things that you saw they had in all of the movies or books you consumed back in the day. But you’re getting married now, and not then, so trim off the traditions that don’t mean much to you anymore and you’ll find yourself saving a lot of cash.

4. Call in the something borrowed lifeline — a lot

There’s nothing wrong with knocking on the doors of your freshly married gal pals and asking to borrow some of their old wedding decorations or craft projects that they designed and used at their wedding. What is now their post-wedding trash will 100 percent be your free wedding treasures.

More: 7 traditions I’m not making my bridesmaids do

5. Your friends are your wedding planners

I’m not telling you that you should ask your friends to throw some bucks into your wedding day, but you can ask them to get involved. If you can’t afford a wedding planner or day-of coordinator, ask a trustworthy and sober friend to take charge and be your go-to vendors person.

6. Pay yourself back

If you’re stretching your funds to pay for the big day, factor in how much money you predict you’ll get back from your wedding guests in gifts. Then promise yourself that you’ll deposit those checks back into your retirement savings account so that you fill that account back to where it should be.

7. Move your honeymoon back

Planning your post-wedding getaway to take place right after your wedding day feels like something everyone in the universe tells you that you should do. The problem is, how are you going to pay for the trip of your dreams when you’re trying to pay for the wedding of your dreams? Push your honeymoon plans back and save up after the wedding so you can afford to go where you want to go.

8. Cut back on nice-to-haves and put that money toward the honeymoon instead

Make a list of things that are non-negotiable, like a good photographer and a head-banging band. Then make and prioritize a list of nice-to-haves, like a french fry bar and handcrafted party favors. Go down that list and see what you can afford after you’ve already paid for the must-have items. Or think: Would you rather put that money toward a hut in Bora Bora?

More: Why you don’t need a wedding photographer — sorry, not sorry

9. Make friends with a DIY queen, fast

Even if you’re not the craftiest human being and you don’t own a hot glue gun, team up with people that are and create as much as you can for your wedding. You’ll save some cash this way. Actually, just pinky promise yourself you’ll avoid going on Etsy and you’ll be just fine.

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