According to the aptly named website, the average cost of a wedding in the US is $25,656, and this doesn’t even include the honeymoon! Once you begin the tedious planning process, you’ll quickly realize just how much of a financial burden tying the knot is. From renting a venue to hiring a professional photographer and florist, the costs will continue to rise. In this post, we’re going to cover some tips and tricks for creating a more affordable wedding.

Avoid Overpriced Dresses

Contrary to what some soon-to-be brides may believe, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to find the perfect wedding dress. If you are willing to invest some of your time into comparison shopping, you’ll likely find a wonderful dress for just a couple hundred dollars. Check both locally and online. Once you’ve found the perfect dress, go ahead and order it — assuming the wedding is less than 6 months away. If the wedding is further away, you’ll want to hold off to ensure it still fits properly.

“Peak” Season

Try to avoid having your wedding during the “peak” season, as this will instantly bump up the price of practically everything. Some people assume peak season prices only affect the venue, but they actually affect just about every service in a wedding. Therefore, it’s a good idea to wait until the peak season has passed. So, when exactly is the “peak” season? Depending on your specific location, it’s usually between May and August.

Ask a Friend

Do you have a friend who’s an exceptional photographer, florist, or musician? If so, you should ask them to help out with your wedding. A true friend would be more than happy to give you a hand on the most important day of your life. This alone could end up saving you thousands of dollars on your wedding. And besides, it’s more meaningful to have a friend perform some of the services in your wedding rather than a stranger you’ve never met.

DIY Catering

Food and beverages is something that most people can do without the need for a professional caterer. See if there’s a family member willing to handle the food and beverages for your wedding. You don’t have to provide a full dinner for all of your guests, as some basic hors d’oeuvres is perfect for most occasions.