4. Location, location, location.
The world is truly your oyster. There are many options for low-cost or no-cost locations, including local and national parks, forest preserves, your own back yard or that of a friend or relative. Or you can make it easy on yourself and find an all-inclusive package in which the wedding, reception and even the honeymoon are all included in the deal.
A great way to celebrate your wedding at a special spot without the high cost is to plan your wedding during an off-season. Remember too, a wedding on any day but Saturday will reduce the expenses.
5. Wedding attire
Here's where you have many options for stretching your bridal dollars. You don't have to buy at a traditional bridal salon. You could purchase a gown at an outlet or from a department store in the special occasions off-the-rack area. Other cost-conscious options include buying a vintage or once-worn gown, wear a designer suit, purchase a traditional gown through a discount gown retailer, rent a gown or check out an online auction to find your dress. Or go for the "something borrowed" by redoing your mom's or mother-in-law's bridal gown.
6. Set the mood with flowers and decorations.
If you choose to wed in a location that is already decorated, you'll see big savings. To set a stylish mood without much work, plan the wedding to take place in a garden, art museum or a beautifully furnished home.
Or consider doing the flowers and decorations yourself.
"One bride I interviewed for the book planted 200 bulbs months before their wedding, and then married right in the middle of the fully-blooming cheerful yellow tulips. Another bought 13 dozen roses at a great price from a warehouse store, " Kennedy says.