If you're anything like me, discovering a wedding's price tag may make you consider eloping. (Seriously.)
The average cost is $27,021, not including the honeymoon, according to TheKnot.com & WeddingChannel.com 2011 Real Weddings Study. And about 11 percent of couples spend more than $40,000.
Planning a wedding is a full-time job, and staying within a budget can definitely add to the stress. It's the reason the bratty-bride cliche was born.
"There's a little bit of Bridezilla in us all," says Jodi Furman, owner of the LiveFabuLESS blog. "But as long as you can keep that in check, you can absolutely do fantastic things" with your wedding and your budget.
As you've learned in this blog, there are dozens of ways to trim the budget for your reception, the ceremony and the myriad little details. Now for some overall budget tips that'll help keep your budget on track and your mind as ease.
Be smart; use a smartphone
According to TheKnot's study, 3 in 5 brides use their smartphones for wedding planning. It's a free way brides -- and grooms -- can track their budgets with finance apps, maintain to-do checklists, store contact information for vendors, create Google docs that organize the plans, browse the Internet for ideas and more.
Use a credit card
Take those items such as the deposit for the flowers, and put 'em on plastic.
Your card likely has protection for things such as refunds not covered by the seller and extended warranties. Read the fine print of your agreement to see what's covered. And if you own a rewards card, you'll also bank on the points you accrue. But use funds from your wedding savings account to pay off the card balance each month.
"Don’t use it to give yourself more budget than you originally had," Furman warns. "You want to do it for the convenience and for the security."
Cull free ideas from the experts
Instead of hiring a wedding planner, use free resources to get the job done. You can use social media sites such as Pinterest.com to find just what you need in your style. Create a free profile at TheKnot.com; in it, you can give your guests information about details such as the venue, directions, the rehearsal dinner and the registry. Don't stop at the big day, though. Bankrate offers budget calculators and financial advice to newlyweds.
Ask your future hubby to get involved
You never hired that wedding planner, and your friends will soon get tired of sitting in the middle of a pile of do-it-yourself wedding favors while inhaling too much glue. Your fiance should get involved in the planning, Furman says. Ask him to help with finite tasks: Choose flower arrangements, weigh in on the cake decision, stamp the invitations, and pick a reception band.
"Men are getting involved more than ever," Furman says. "They respond even more to a challenge. They look at is as: 'How much wedding can we have on a budget that we have?'"
What are some ways you have saved on wedding costs -- or ways you plan to save? Tell me in the comments section!
Follow me on Twitter: @KimSavesMoney.