The average American wedding cost has eclipsed $35,000. That’s more than half the yearly median income! Most of this growth in cost comes from the guest list. Couples are inviting more people and doing more for them.

If you’re tying the knot this year, read on for five ways to save on the cost of your big day!

1.) Schedule smart

Saturday is the most common date for weddings, since everyone has the day off and most churches aren’t available on Sundays. Consequently, venues are often more expensive on Saturdays.

Instead, pick another date that offers those benefits. Your special day can be the day before a holiday, or on the Sunday of a long weekend, like Labor Day. Your guests will still have time to enjoy themselves, and you’ll save as much as 15% on the cost of your venue.

2.) Untether yourself

When picking a venue, look for a place (or negotiate with your selected venue) that allows outside vendors to handle food, music and photography. Places that host weddings often may have existing relationships with businesses who can charge more because they’re not competing with anyone else.

If you can get this kind of flexibility, shop around for better prices on catering, music and flowers. You’ll also be able to get exactly what you want from these services, such as a signature cocktail instead of a full bar.

3.) Keep the “W” word to yourself

Every vendor has a “special” wedding price. Often, this means they charge more for any wedding-related service. You can save as much as 30% by keeping the occasion to yourself.

For example, when shopping for a dress, buying a formal gown that’s not labeled as a “wedding dress” can translate to savings. Getting a custom-decorated sheet cake can save a few hundred dollars, too.

4.) Put your guests to work

The biggest cost in most wedding-related items is the cost of labor. When you pay for flower arrangements, you’re paying about 10% for the flowers and 90% for the florist’s time. Instead of hiring professionals, consider putting your guests to work.

Many wedding guests would love to contribute to your special day. They’ll be happy to participate in making your wedding beautiful, and you’ll be happy to save a few bucks!

5.) Spread out the cost with a club account

A tremendous challenge for newlyweds is coming up with all that money, because all the wedding bills come due at the same time. For many couples, that means using consumer debt to finance the whole cost of their wedding. The ensuing interest and financing charges can make your wedding even more unaffordable.

Instead, consider opening a club account: Set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking account into an interest-bearing savings account. When the wedding bills come in, you’ll have money set aside to defray the costs and you’ll be able to borrow less.

Your Turn: What are your best cost-saving wedding hacks? Share your wisdom in the comments!

SOURCES:

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/5-clever-ways-to-save-on-your-wedding-2.aspx

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/top-10-ways-to-save-money-on-your-wedding-3.aspx

http://www.realsimple.com/weddings/budget/save-money-wedding/venue

https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelwmiller/insanely-smart-ways-to-save-money-on-your-wedding?utm_term=.nh9zY22pG#.ulOdbrrz8

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