For many people, weddings are one of the most important events of your lifetime. Friends and families gather around to celebrate you and your partner’s commitment to one another. From decorations to food, the day is filled with excitement and a celebratory atmosphere. When you’re trying to manage your financial wellness, however, planning a wedding can add extra stress to your special day.

There are plenty of ways to make your wedding both enjoyable and a big production without sacrificing your budget. While notoriously expensive, wedding expenses can be kept to a minimum, keeping you from falling into the trap of charging costs on credit cards.

Consider Your Priorities
Identify you and your partner’s priorities for the wedding. Are you dead set on having every member of your family and friend group present but willing to sacrifice on food expenses? Or do you plan to have an intimate wedding with a smaller number of people but must have a beautiful dance floor and a live band?
Knowing your priorities ahead of time will make it much easier to decide what sacrifices you are willing to make to keep your costs down.

Learn to Say “No”
Families often have the best intentions, and when planning a wedding, it’s not unusual to have suggestions flooding in from both sides. While the ideas are likely great, keep in mind that is impossible to incorporate every person’s suggestion. Learn to say “no” to people when their ideas deviate from your own plans.

It can be difficult to turn down advice from in-laws or your own family members, but giving into every idea (like serving your great-aunt’s favorite expensive wine or using the trendiest caterer in town) will quickly eat through your finances faster than you thought possible.

Be Smart About Your Purchases
Wedding-focused items are often marketed at higher prices than similar items. For example, if you’re decorating with strings of clear lights, don’t focus on buying only ones labelled “wedding lights.” Instead, think creatively and consider cheaper, traditional Christmas or patio lights.

Likewise, reuse whenever possible. Places like Facebook Marketplace are great for finding used wedding items. You can even search by color to find available items in your color scheme. Things like tablecloths, artificial flowers, and wedding arches were likely used for only a few hours. You’ll save money and support the environment by reusing virtually brand-new items.

Share the Expenses
Do you have a set of friends that are getting married within the same timeframe? Consider saving money by splitting the costs of wedding decorations. Decorate stones, centerpieces, chair sashes, table runners, cookware, etc. can likely be used multiple times. Split the cost with the other couple and pay half of what you would otherwise.

Keep in mind that the perfect marriage is just as likely to start with a simple ceremony at the local courthouse as it is with an extravagant wedding. Ask couples who have been married for decades whether they remember if they chose the higher end napkin rings or not. They won’t. Focus more on the excitement of the day and less about the material items, and you’ll find it easier to stick to your budget.