Let’s face it, weddings are expensive. The average American wedding clocks in at just over $26,000, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to throw a gorgeous wedding! While there are certain areas where to save money when planning your wedding, there are some things you should splurge on too. Read on to learn where to save and where to splurge.

How to Save Money on the Wedding

Hi Miss Puff

7 Ways to Save Money

1. Keep the guest list small.

Every person you add to the guest list inflates the cost of your wedding. In fact, each guest costs anywhere between $100 and $300. As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t spoken to them in over a year, cut them from your list. It’s just not worth it once the bill comes.

2. Be choosy.

You’ve likely had your dream wedding planned out for years. But, unless you have an unlimited budget, it’s time to start weeding out your list of must-haves. Come up with five to ten things you absolutely must include in your wedding budget, like an open bar or an intricate wedding arch, and ditch the stuff that doesn’t make the list.

3. Consider all your food options.

You aren’t stuck with a sit-down dinner with staffed with servers for the reception. After all, that’s incredibly expensive. Instead, look into cheaper options like drop-off catering, buffets or smaller dessert-only events.

4. Get creative with wedding attire.

If your budget is exceptionally small and you don’t mind going away from the traditional elaborate white wedding gown, you can save money by getting your wedding attire from a different source. If you’re the sentimental type, your dress look into wearing the gown your mom or grandmother wore on her wedding day.

5. Keep flowers in-season.

Unless you have a big budget, don’t use a spring flower, like hydrangeas, for a fall wedding. The price is much steeper out of season.

6. Decorate with nature.

You want the aisles and reception tables to look nice, but you also don’t need to spend a lot of money here. Be resourceful and collect wildflowers, leaves or branches for rustic and inexpensive wedding decor.

7. Enlist the help of your friends.

You likely know some very crafty and talented people. If you know a chef, decorator, DJ or photographer, hire them for your wedding. You might just get a discount or even the entire fee waived in lieu of a gift. You could even ask the bridesmaids and groomsmen to help put together wedding favors.

3 Things You Shouldn’t Cut Corners On

1. A quality photographer.

Everyone has a camera in their pocket–it’s called a cell phone. But that doesn’t mean just anyone can take a good picture. If you hire a photographer with loads of experience, you’ll have wedding pictures that you’ll cherish for decades. Trust us, it’s worth it.

2. The wedding cake.

If your heart’s set on an ornate, traditional wedding cake, go for it. After all, crafting that cake takes a lot of skill. While the price tag may seem like a lot, think of it this way: Wedding cakes average only $3.90 per slice. Not bad.

3. The music.

Weddings are remembered for two things: The food and the music. After all, this is one big party. If you skimp on the music, guests will start going home before you’ve even had the first dance. Pick a high quality DJ or band with a great reputation in order to make the night memorable…in a good way.