It’s no surprise that weddings are expensive. In fact, the average cost has climbed to more than $30,000. So while a couple’s wedding day should be the happiest celebration of their lives, the “cha-ching” of money spent can begin to drown out those wedding bells.

If you’re like most couples getting ready to say “I do,” you probably don’t have a spare $30,000 to cover the costs associated with your wedding. (Who knew floral arrangements were so expensive?!) However, with some forward planning and strategic saving tips like the ones provided below, you can make sure your big day doesn’t result in big debt.

  • Set a Budget: Like most big events, weddings require a detailed and structured budget. Before you begin planning, it’s important to set a budget that you and partner are comfortable with. One way to keep your budget on track is by opening a separate bank account for your wedding expenses. Alternatively, create a detailed spreadsheet and itemize each of your wedding expenses down to the last detail. Doing so will help ensure you’re not blowing your budget.
  • Develop a Timeline: After agreeing on a budget with your soon-to-be spouse, consider building a timeline and setting financial goals and target dates. As you approach each date, check in with your better half to make sure you’re sticking to your budget and to make sure you’re both well aware of how the costs are adding up. Managing your progress throughout the planning stage will make the process less overwhelming.
  • Cut Costs Where You Can: To help cut costs, take advantage of deals offered by venues during the off-peak wedding season. Couples can also save money on the venue if the wedding occurs during the week rather than the weekend. If you’ll be charging your wedding expenses to a credit card, be sure to use one that offers cash back benefits or special incentives. These bonuses can be used toward your wedding or honeymoon expenses. If you can’t find places in your spending to cut back on, consider taking on a side job or selling some of your gently used belongings like clothes and jewelry. Having some extra cash will provide a financial cushion should you experience unexpected expenses when planning your wedding.
  • Enjoy Your Big Day: No matter your budget, getting married is an exciting time in your life. Remember that despite the total costs, your wedding is all about you and your spouse!

Websites such as The Knot and Wedding Wire – as well as my book “The Money Queen’s Guide: For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear” (Morgan James, 2015) – provide tips, tricks and other resources for all aspects of your wedding. Do your research and plan to meet with a CERTIFIED FINANICAL PLANNER™ professional to help you organize your finances so you can focus on celebrating your big day.