Rising costs of weddingsGetting married can be expensive. In fact, according to The Wedding Report, the average wedding cost in the United States is $25,200. It is not unusual for couples to spend between $18,900 and $31,500, but a majority of couples spend less than $10,000. Of course, this is not including the cost for a honeymoon.

But you can keep the cost of your wedding down and still have a chic ceremony on the cheap.

Location. Think about a destination wedding. You can combine the wedding and honeymoon in one location. “Choose an all-inclusive resort to minimize the cost for your guests. Also, chose your date in the off-season to further reduce costs,” Shannelle Armstrong Fowler, chief stylist at Haute & Co. Bridal Boutique, suggests.

A venue that’s ready made.
 “Look for a venue that is already decorative – you may save money by spending a little more on a glamorous venue but be able to cut more costs on reducing your flower budget and decorative accents,” says Isadora Martin-Dye, the owner of Rixey Manor, a popular wedding location.

Different day.
Most weddings happen on a Saturday, but by choosing an off day you can save money. “Have your wedding on a Friday or Sunday. It reduces the cost of your reception,” notes Fowler.

Invite only. Everyone wants to be invited to a wedding. But too many guests can break your budget. “Lower the amount of people on the guest list,” advises Joseph Coston, principal designer & planner at Joseph Coston Weddings & Events. “The difference between having a $20,000 wedding with a guest list of 80 and a guest list of 150 is a chic and personalized outcome versus what will appear to be a cookie cutter get-together.”

Cut the charge cards. It might be tempting to charge everything for your wedding, but by paying cash you will stay on budget.

Skip dinner. The average cost per plate at a wedding reception ranges from $26 to $100. So to drastically cut this cost, have a chic cocktail reception instead, says Coston.

Seek discounts.
If there is any time to use your bargaining skills, it is in preparing your wedding. “Simply ask for discounts. Companies that are new, local or simply helpful will often offer you a deal if you are straightforward and honest about your financial constraints. If they can’t help you they may be able to point you in the direction of someone who can,” says Martin-Dye. “One way you could look to cover some of your wedding costs is asking for discounts from vendors in exchange for allowing them to use your photos in promotional shots, on their website or printed materials. This won’t work for photographers – as it’s normally built into their contract – but it might work for flowers, cakes, etc.”

Get professional help.
Having someone plan your wedding can not only save you time, but also money. “It may sound counterproductive but hiring a wedding planner can actually save you money. They have relationships with vendors and vendors are much more likely to give them a good deal,” explains Martin-Dye.

Frugal floral tips. “Buy Seasonal. Buy Local,” says Stephanie Elhayani, owner of Seed Floral Couture and florist on BloomNation .com. “Using seasonal flowers is the most cost efficient way to save. Contact your local florist to see what can be found native to your region and what’s not imported. Getting married this fall? Dahlias, anemones and maple berries are great seasonal finds that are sure to beautify your wedding day.”

One flower, two uses. “Repurpose. Repurpose. Repurpose,” advises Elhayani. “One of the easiest ways to cut back on cost is to repurpose your bridal party bouquets as reception centerpieces. Simply collect all bouquets, place them in a vase and voila — your reception centerpieces are done.”

Avoid holiday weddings.  Not only will the venue cost more during a holiday, but so will the flowers.  “There is no question about it – flowers are marked up at least five percent during a holiday season. A budget-friendly bride should not be getting married on Valentine’s Day,” notes Elhayani.