You do not have to buy all the things that the wedding industry says you need. Your wedding day is probably the only day where you will stand in a room full of people who absolutely and unconditionally love you. You do not have to impress them; they're already sold on you. Here are some ways you can save money without sacrificing quality:
- Pay for the wedding yourself, or at least pay for part of it. Insist on doing so. You are an adult and you must learn to budget and spend reasonably. Don't think that you can splurge on this one day and then wake up married the next day and magically be financially responsible. When it's your money, your decisions suddenly become smarter.
- Cut your guest list. Anyone who has planned a wedding knows how expensive it is. You don't want to pay for your cousin's boyfriend. You don't want strangers at your wedding. Are you on the fence about a guest? Ask yourself, "Have I been to his house? Do I know her phone number? Do I know his brother's name?" If you don't know them that well, those people can sit out your wedding.
- Try to have the ceremony in the same place as the reception. Your guests don't want to get in a car and drive anywhere when they're dressed so nicely. Tell your florist that you have a set budget, and ask what's possible for that amount. I didn't have a big budget for our baker, so she made me a small cake (which still looked good in pictures) and then an array of miniature desserts. There was something for everyone.
- Keep things simple, because if you buy fifteen metal lanterns for decoration, you will be stuck with fifteen metal lanterns when the day is over. How many times have you seen an ad on Craigslist that reads, "Twenty-four white parasols; used once for our wedding. Free if you pick them up!" Everything you throw away will end up in a landfill, so look on Etsy for decorations made out of paper. Make things work double duty. Lanterns with fake tea lights double as table numbers. Seating charts eliminate place cards. You don't need menus. If you must have favors, don't spend a lot because everyone leaves them on the tables.
- You don't need a videographer. You will never watch a video of this day. Videographers are pretty expensive, and there are so many more worthwhile things you can spend that money on.
- Don't spend a ton on your wedding dress.You will wear it once. Do not spend a crazy amount of money on it. There are so many affordable and beautiful dresses available. Splurge on the good stuff, like the bar and the photographer.
- Don't sweat the small stuff. The day will be about love and connecting with people, not customized cookies.
This question originally appeared on Quora. - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.