(NewsUSA) - Between the thrilling proposal and the pre-wedding whirlwind -; setting the date, finding the perfect wedding dress, planning the honeymoon -; weddings should feel joyous and romantic.
But after the wedding, couples should enjoy their newly wedded bliss -; not panic about digging themselves out of debt.
According to the Association for Wedding Professionals International, the average wedding costs between $18,000 and $21,000.
In these difficult economic times, couples might need to minimize the cost of their wedding. But brides on budgets do not need to whittle their guest list from 200 to 10.
Here are some affordable -; and tasteful -; measures couples can take to stay within their budget.
What eats up wedding cash? Wedding receptions usually account for half of a wedding's cost. Dinner and drinks add up, especially if couples pay for a full or open bar.
To save money on the bubbly, couples should nix the mixed drinks. Soon-to-be-marrieds can serve champagne during the toast, then offer beer and wine for the rest of the evening. Give clumsier guests white wine, not red, and the evening should progress with fewer mishaps at a lower cost.
For dinner, couples should think outside the catering-company box. Local restaurants might make better deals. Classy catering can come from unexpected places.
Boston Market restaurants provide full-service catering options with elegant entrées like roasted sirloin, turkey or rotisserie chicken, and a selection of gourmet sides. The cost? From $14.99 to $21.99 a head.
After the reception, photography and videography are the second largest budget-breakers. Couples can hire a photographer and videographer for the ceremony, then leave reception photographs to friends, family and digital cameras.
To avoid the cost of a live band, brides and grooms can opt for MP3 playlists, customized CDs and speaker rentals over pricey bands.
Finally, hiring a wedding coordinator can save time, manage stress and get better deals.
So, here's a toast to tweaking old traditions to make a dream wedding financially attainable -; and to save enough money for a long, relaxing honeymoon. Cheers!