A DIY wedding centerpiece involving a wine bottle, flowers, and a personal note on a table.

Planning a wedding can be expensive.

In fact, planning a wedding can be downright overwhelmingly expensive. The wedding industry certainly has it down: the cost of venues, food, photographers (not to mention dresses, florists and the bar tab!) can be terrifyingly high.

I remember, when we were first looking at caterers for our wedding, getting a quote that literally sent me straight into tears, convinced that there was no way my then-fiancé and I could afford to have at wedding at all, let alone feed the people that showed up. Well, we could maybe offer them carrot sticks and glasses of water. Maybe.

But along the way I learned that it (thank goodness) doesn't have to be stressful or overwhelming and that (thank goodness x2) there are ways to cut corners without looking or feeling like you're losing any part of your dream wedding. Unfortunately I don't have any magical suggestions up my sleeve (like where to find designer gowns for under five hundred dollars or how to convince your caterer to just throw in the cake for free) but I do have some general tips that might make looking at your budget and putting together the perfect day a little less intimidating.

1. Get creative. You probably know what you want when it comes to your wedding - but do you know how you're going to get there? Big-picture creativity can save you time and heartache. For example, working on a tight budget and wanting to invite everyone you know to the celebration doesn't have to mean spending all your money on food to feed the throng. A cocktail hour styled reception is one option for cutting costs - as well as a fun change of pace!

2. DIY. When it comes to weddings, do it yourself projects almost always cut the cost. For our wedding, Shayne and I designed our own invitations and had them printed at Staples, ultimately buying our invitations, envelopes and postage for about twenty percent of what it would have cost us to order them online or have someone design them for us.

3. Put your friends to work. Admittedly, there's a fine line on this one. But odds are that your friends and family are not only thrilled that you're getting married, they're also thrilled that they might get to be involved and help out. Whether that means helping set up and run errands or that your cousin makes the best cupcakes you've ever had and would be thrilled to put together your dessert table as a wedding gift, your loved ones want to make your wedding work.

There is absolutely no reason that your budget - large or small - should make you feel restricted from having your wedding look just the way you want it to. In fact, the only thing your budget should do is help you really and truly make your day your own. Which, along with your vows, is definitely something to celebrate!