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As a bride-to-be with my April wedding fast approaching, I am all too familiar with the stress of planning a wedding this year. The costs of weddings are increasing at an exponential rate, and it can be difficult to find ways to make your dream wedding a budget-friendly one. Here are a few tips and ideas I’ve uncovered in my own wedding research as a financial advisor:

Venue: Admittedly, I have a lack of creativity and patience. For me, it made sense to go for an all-inclusive venue to cut down on stress. However, if you are a much better bride than I, look for a venue that will let you express your creative side, make your own decorations and allow you to shop around prices for catering and DJ services.  

Economical floral options: Fresh flowers are a preference for many brides on their wedding day; however, you can save by using silk flowers or even making your own bridesmaid bouquets with fresh flowers you buy yourself, rather than going through a florist. Choosing flowers that are in season will also keep your costs down if you are set on a fresh flower look.

Food and beverage: Do you have a family member or friend that can cater your wedding? Steak dinners aren’t always necessary. Three cute ideas I’ve seen in my wedding search have included barbecue, pizza and food trucks for guests. For the bar, sticking with beer and wine instead of a full bar will save you money up front and might save your friends from having a little too much fun and not remembering their night.

Paper: Invitations are important, but using sites like Minted, Snapfish and Etsy can lower your overall paper costs by including invitations, thank you cards and table numbers all in one location.

Keep your expectations realistic: In this day and age, it can be very hard to plan a party for 200-plus people while staying within a four-figure budget. In the beginning of your planning, be realistic as to what kind of wedding you want in relation to how much money you are able to spend.  

Above all, make a budget and stick to it. My fiancé and I set a budget first when we started our wedding planning, and have worked to stay within our pre-determined numbers for each category. Congratulations to all my fellow soon-to-be newlyweds!

Allison Nye, Wealth plan design specialist at oXYGen Financial. Co-host of “They Don’t Teach You This” podcast. Connect with her at anye@oxygenfinancial.net.

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