5 Ways to Save on Your Wedding

The average cost of a wedding is between $19,833 and $33,055. When you consider $30,000 is a 20 percent down payment for a $150,000 house, that price tag seems pretty outrageous. You don't want to skimp on your big day, but you and your fiancé have already been house hunting and you found one you love. Even better, you both love it.

Can you really create a magical night and still have money left over for a home? Absolutely. 

1. Use your network

Come on. Everyone knows a guy (or a girl), that can give you a great deal on something you need for your wedding. Maybe your coworker is a former makeup artist, a long-time friend is a professional photographer or your cousin dreams of being a famous baker (and has the skills to go all the way).

Once you find the person with just the right skills, don't assume they'll work for free (although they might make it your wedding present, so keep your thrifty little fingers crossed!). Try to negotiate a fair price with a friends and family discount. 

2. Flowers

It's true that wedding flowers are gorgeous. A beautiful bouquet can put a smile on your face and really add elegance to your ceremony. Saving on flowers doesn't mean you have to forgo them all together (although, if you aren't as in love with flowers as we are, skipping them is a completely legitimate option).

First of all, minimize the number of flowers you'll have at your wedding. Every corner doesn't need to be its own display. You can also consider buying them from a wholesaler and putting them together yourself. Choose in-season, less expensive flowers for your masterpiece.

If you're not really the artsy type, look into buying bouquets from your local grocery store. Almost every town has a secret weapon -- that one flower person who for some reason still works at the grocery store. How to find out who that is? Go to the rich old lady hair salon and eavesdrop. Somebody will drop the name. 

Besides..."What a great wedding last night. The flowers were stunning," said no one ever.

3. Favors

Do your friends and family really need another heart-shaped measuring spoon set? No, they won't even fit into spice jars. Will your guests who are flying home be able to carry on that mini bottle of wine or that adorable succulent in a teacup? Probably not. If they're traveling to another country, they might even get flagged for bringing in agriculture.

Why not try to go the simple route and get a small favor that your guests can use that night. Baking cookies or buying simple chocolates for everyone is always a crowdpleaser (and it's budget-friendly). People love having something to eat on the ride home.

4. Your dress

Yes, you might want to feel like a princess on your big day. But that doesn't mean you need to spend a king's ransom on your dress.

Try shopping sales, buying used, or even renting from somewhere like Rent the Runway. If you find something secondhand, remember that a good tailor can work magic with a few alterations, though it'll cost you.

Want to know the best tailor in town? Go back to the old lady hair salon. If you don't get the information, follow them to lunch and wait until they get into the chardonnay. They'll spill. Make friends. Those ladies know their stuff. 

5. Decorations

Go the less is more route with the decorations. There's so much pressure to have all the fun things you've seen at all the other weddings. But will your day be ruined without a professional photo booth, custom paper lanterns, or whimsical signs in every corner? Bonus tip: try to pick decorations you could potentially reuse in your new home. 

Bonus: Pay it forward. 

Add your favorite charity to your registry and encourage your guests to donate. No, it won't actually save you money, but starting your new life with some good karma is never a bad idea. And your sparse decor will be praised, "Mandy and Rick are so great, so generous. Did you see that they registered for donations instead of gifts? Brilliant!"

Now that you've gotten your wedding budget down to a more reasonable price, make sure you start putting the extra money away for a down payment. Use our calculator to figure out how much house you can afford before you start your home search. If you want to save even more, check out our ideas for cheap dates. That's like money in the bank!