Shorten the wedding-planning timeline. Don’t wait a year to get married and it will be easier to simplify the wedding. “A recent trend I’ve seen is that couples are saving money by planning a more last-minute wedding, rather than the traditional 11-month runup,” says Alan Fields, coauthor of Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget. “The shorter time horizon will force you to streamline and keep you, by necessity, from getting sucked into the vortex of elaborate weddings.”
Or give yourself even more time. That way, you can take advantage of seasonal sales. “For example, you may be able to stock up on silver decorations at 75 percent off before the Christmas holidays, or pick up your ring bearer or flower girl’s outfit on sale at Easter,” says Sharon Naylor, author of 1001Ways to Save Money . . . and Still Have a Dazzling Wedding ($17, amazon.com).
Schedule the wedding in off-peak times. When there’s less competition for dates, you can have more negotiating power. “You can shave 20 to 30 percent off the cost of a wedding by planning it for November, or January through March―except for Valentine’s Day,” says Fields.
Choose any day other than Saturday. "That’s the most popular day to marry," says Anna Post, author of Do I Have to Wear White? Emily Post Answers America’s Top Wedding Questions ($15, amazon.com). Ask about rates for Friday- and Sunday-night weddings. They’re becoming more common, so you won’t have to deal with quite as many guest grumbles.