With people live-Tweeting their wedding vows and just about everyone being ordained as an online officiant capable of marrying their friends, you’d think someone would come up with a way to make weddings more affordable.

Instead, they’re getting more expensive every year, and some people are blaming Pinterest for encouraging stressful, fairy-tale weddings. Try to remember that the actual act of getting married is itself very cheap: It requires only an officiant, a little paperwork, and a permit.

That’s a marriage. A wedding can be just as affordable or expensive as you choose. If you want to have a party but aren’t keen on a backyard barbecue style, you’re going to need a stunning venue that holds all your guests and for a fair price.

Start looking beyond the ballrooms of the nearby hotels, because not only are they often overpriced, but they don’t make it very easy for you to customize the event. A one-of-a-kind romance deserves a one-of-a-kind venue.

Let those creative juices flow

If possible, have your own catering and bartending done. As long as it’s legal (with liquor licenses and such) you can save some serious cash by hand-picking your menu and/or having a more affordable caterer step in.

Check whether the venues charge for cake cutting and other add-ons, and make sure you tally up the final bill. There’s nothing wrong with a dry wedding, or only beer and wine; or having just an hour or two of open bar.

Decorating a venue can be just as costly as the rental fee. The best way to get around this is to choose a gorgeous venue that needs no further decoration.

This might include an outdoor wedding reception, a historic or rustic building, or one that already boasts a décor that you like. Don’t forget that someone’s going to have to stick around to clean up, so the less decorating and party mess, the better.

’Tis the season

If you want to get married in June, you might have to pony up some extra cash because you’ll have plenty of competition. Rather like traveling to a tropical location in the off season, you might be able to get a better deal if you get hitched during a less busy time of the year.

As an added bonus, more of your friends and family are apt to make it, because they won’t have other weddings to attend. However, keep the most important thing in mind: It’s not where you get married, but to whom. (Once that’s settled, where can be pretty important.)


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