Spending on a wedding

Spending on a weddingPlanning a wedding can be time-consuming and put a strain on your wallet, so it’s important to stick to a budget. The average U.S. wedding costs over $26,000, but if you play your cards right, you can stay on track — and out of debt. Here are six tips to help you stick to your budget when wedding planning.

1. Create a Wedding Budget

Once Mr. (or Ms.) Right, pops the question, you’ll want to write up your wedding budget. Planning a wedding can be extremely time-consuming, so it’s better to have your budget ready before it begins.

Try to draft a budget that meets your means and will not affect future plans. You may want to cut costs while you plan your wedding so you have more room in your budget for last-minute expenses.

When creating your budget, remember to distinguish between something that’s “super-important” and what can wait (or be found at a cheaper price). For example, you may have a specific band you would like to play. If this is a large cost, you may have to cut prices on other items that aren’t as important. Perhaps you’ll create your own flower centerpiece instead of hiring a florist.

2. Reach Out to Married Friends

You may be a “rookie” at wedding planning or interested in what your married friends have done in the past. Asking friends and family for financial advice is completely normal and can help you save extra cash. Ask if they know any potential vendors, hair salons, photographers, etc. Some may even provide a discount with a referral.

3. Trim the Guest List

While everyone wants all their friends to be there to celebrate, that can come at a large cost. Consider cutting back some of the invites. If you have trouble removing some guests, consider making your wedding adults-only to eliminate the cost of children.

4. Plan Around Discount Dates

The venue is an important part of your wedding, and may indeed be the biggest expense in your wedding budget. However, there are ways to get the best bang for your buck on location. Consider booking your wedding on a Sunday, a weekday or during the off-season (November through March). These rates can be up to 50% cheaper than hosting on a Saturday or over the summer. If you are planning a smaller wedding, consider hosting your wedding at a park or on a local beach to save even more.

5. Hold the Ceremony & Reception in One Location

If you have the ceremony and reception at the same place, you not only eliminate one location expense but travel time and costs. Your guests will be pleased they get to stay in one place!

This article originally appeared on Credit.com and was written by Leslie Tayne, Esq.