Your big day doesn't have to be the most expensive one you've ever had!

When planning your wedding there will be prices and costs that you will come across that you didn't anticipate. In order to reduce your budget, you'll have to get creative and think of different ways to save. Many brides are intimated by the haggling process, and when spending big bucks things can get a little scary if you're not used to spending money like that.

Here are a few secrets you might not know about, and could potentially help you save quite a bit of money. Don't hesitate to try out a few of your own ideas as well! There are no set rules on the wedding industry, it's really all a matter of working with people who you like and will help you maintain a budget without causing too much stress.

Photographer

Finding the perfect photographer to capture your most important day of your life can be a tricky, and expensive ordeal. One thing most brides don't realize though is that you can work with your photographer to create a custom package that will better suit what you want, and how much you're willing to pay. Let's say that your photographer includes 5 prints and a custom photo book with all of their packages, but those things aren't important to you.

Instead of getting those items you could ask to trade them out for something that is more meaningful to you. If you need an extra hour, and your photographer only includes 4 hours with their packages, instead of paying additional fees for more hours, consider asking them if they could trade out the photo prints, and/or wedding album instead.

Of course, there are many different ways you can change this, so really take some time to sit down with your significant other and decide what you truly want for your big day. This will help you to barter, and trade with vendors who might be providing services or items that don't mean as much to you.

Caterer

The food is a primary thing revolving around your evening, and if not done right, guests will be left hungry and unsatisfied for the rest of the night. Unfortunately, the food is also one of the most expensive vendors for your wedding and most brides aren't prepared for the hefty costs! Most catering vendors will have pre-made packages ready for brides and grooms, such as one appetizer, two entrees, two sides, and one dessert. This helps to get an idea of the different types of food to serve, but not all the packages work with what the bride and groom necessarily need.

For example: if your catering package comes with two passed hors-d'oeuvres, but you're not planning on having a traditional cocktail hour after the ceremony, then this might be an item you don't need to pay for. Another thing to keep a look out for is the added costs for table linens, napkins, china, and flatware. Some caterers automatically put in glassware, but if you're ok with a more casual setting and want disposable dishes and flatware, then this is something you should bring up. Mixing and matching to customize your catering menu could really save you some big bucks and will help to create a meal that works better with your wedding plans.

Wedding Dress Stores

Once you start trying on dresses at different boutiques you might come across an in-store sale, or "first-day offer", in which they'll offer you a discount if you buy your dress on the first day that you try it on there. Once you've found the dress of your dreams, try calling stores near your area, and ask if they have the same dress. If other locations do have your dress, you can ask if they offer a first-day sale. Some stores will give you steep discounts of 20% your purchase if you buy it during your first appointment with them.

So, if you already have tried on the dress, and want to buy it, this is a neat last-minute trick to try to get the SAME dress at a different store for a lower price. If you really like the original store, you could ask them to honor the other store's sale, so that you don't take your business elsewhere. Chances are the dress shop will honor the same discount, so it's a win-win situation for all!

Buy In Bulk

Buying in bulk isn't necessarily something that you're used to doing every day, but when it comes to your wedding you'll find that you're going to need things in excess. This will reduce the overall price of things. The more you buy, the cheaper the cost. This is because most people usually don't need so much of one thing, so manufacturers are able to reduce prices when one shopper is needing more of their inventory at one time.

Whether it's food or decor, you can find online shops that will allow you to buy items in bulk for weddings. Party favors, candy, tablecloths, and even floral decor are all things that most people don't think to shop or look for on their own, and often source these products to their wedding coordinator, or designer. Instead of paying them to find items for you, you could ask if they would reduce the price of their services if you went ahead and orders the products and they just put it together the day of.

Design Your Own Invitations

You don't have to be a graphic artist in order to create delightful, and beautiful custom wedding invitations. Whether it's for your engagement party, save the dates or the actual wedding invitations, there are several resources you can use to design your invitations exactly how you want them, without paying ridiculous prices. Most brides don't think to use online photo sites, such as Walgreens, CVS, or Shutterfly, but these sites have heavily discounted prints, and offer premade designs! If you sign up for emails, they will send you coupons, such as 40% off your total photo order.

The best part about printing your own invites is the fact that you don't have to adhere to a specific type of paper. Printing your save the dates as a "matte" photo could potentially be cheaper than using the cardstock that they provide when choosing a design that's specifically labeled as a "Save The Date".

If you use sites like Ebates you can often find a way to get cash back through their site instead of going to something like Walgreens direct. Not only will you be saving with a coupon, but you will get money back just for using a site like Ebates. Once you reach about $10 they'll pay you out by check, or sometimes PayPal. You can easily put this money right back towards any other wedding items you need to buy!

Your wedding doesn't have to cost you a million bucks in order for it to look like a million bucks. It just takes a little time and research to find the hidden deals and secrets that most brides don't know, or think about. Never take your first offer as your final one! It's always good to discuss your budget with your vendors so that you won't go over. Always ask to reduce prices when you can, you never know how low they will go, and they most likely are throwing out a higher price than what they're willing to make a contract for on their first talk with you.