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10 ways you can save over $27,000 on your wedding

Weddings are infamous for the price tag that is attached to them. A lot of the cost is dependent on what the wedding industry sprinkles into your mind with magazines and advertising to make you think you need all of these things to have the perfect day. But if you take a step back and break down what you really want, you can easily find ways to plan the party of a lifetime without spending thousands of dollars that you, or your family, don’t really have.

More: The anti-bride’s guide to planning a non-traditional wedding

1. Abbreviate your cocktail hour

Instead of splurging on passed apps, cut cocktail hour down from an hour to 30 minutes and only offer one or two things for guests to munch on. You can even cut down on the alcohol options here so that you’re not paying for an extra hour of open bar.

Approximate savings: $2,500

2. Skip the pre-wedding parties

It may not seem like an obvious, but paying for an engagement party and even sometimes your own bridal shower is something you’ll need to add to your wedding budget. These parties alone can be a few thousand bucks, so skip them and pour that extra cash into your big night.

Approximate savings: $3,200

3. Don’t use wedding vendors

Vendors always seem to charge more when they know they are providing a service for a wedding. So instead of searching for wedding DJ’s or photographers, just look up vendors in generals who work all different kinds of parties.

Approximate savings: $1,500

4. Browse the clearance racks

It may seem like a dream to spot your wedding dress on the rack of some tiny designer boutique store in a fancy city like Paris or New York. But you can save a ton of cash if you buy your dress from a wedding dress sample sale or even buy it used. You’ll be wearing the thing for only eight hours, so it’s OK to get something that’s second-hand.

Approximate savings: $2,500

5. Go digital

Paper will cost you a lot of paper! So shake your head at doing traditional wedding save-the-dates and invitations that you stick in the mail and instead go digital. Create your invites online and send them via email. You’ll save your guests paper cuts and you’ll save your money so you can use it on more important things, like a weeklong honeymoon to Thailand.

Approximate savings: $2,000

6. Never say “yes” right away

Even if you find yourself sitting in front of a vendor who promises you they’ll help make your wedding one for the record books, never sign on the dotted line until you negotiate. Look over the contract and make sure everything you want is included in the price and then bargain with them to get them to shave off a couple of hundred or even a thousand bucks if you can.

Approximate savings: $1,500

7. Skip the frills

Trust me, nobody remembers what you had custom-printed on your napkins or whether or how many different kinds of flowers you used for your centerpieces. So skip the expensive frills and small details and splurge on what matters the most — good food and music.

Approximate savings: $450

8. Swap the flowers for something else

Flowers are a waste, and an expensive one at that. Instead of using them for bouquets and centerpieces, go with something more creative or homemade that you can pull off with a trip or two to the craft store — and of course, a step-by-step manual from Pinterest.

Approximate savings: $4,200

9. Close your open bar

Not for the whole night. No way! Keep it open for most of the night. But don’t pay for an open bar for the last few hours of your reception. By then, most people will have had enough to drink and if they want more, they can shell out their own cash to pay for it. Limit the number of hours the bar is open, and you’ll save big.

Approximate savings: $1,150

10. Pick an off-season date

Get married on a Friday or Sunday or during an off-season month at your venue or in your city. Picking a popular date to get married will up your costs for not only your venue, but also every single vendor you try to book.

Approximate savings: $8,000

Numbers are based on average costs in wedding contracts I’ve seen and dealt with.

More: People are hashtagging the hell out of their weddings

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