Whether you have $500 or more than $5,000 to spend on your wedding, there are ways to keep your wedding on budget.

When you “dream” about your wedding day, no one ever considers the price tag, do they? One day you’ll meet the perfect person and tie the knot in the most romantic venue, in the company of 500 of your closest family and friends. After all, this is your once-in-a-lifetime day and it should be everything you want it to be, regardless of whether or not you keep your wedding on budget.

Keeping your big day or wedding on budget will help start your relationships off on the right footThe reality is that one-third of couples will start their married lives in debt, simply to pay for their dream wedding. In fact, The Knot 2015 Real Weddings Survey reported “the average wedding cost has increased by more than $5,500 in the past five years with couples spending $32,641 in 2015.”

There is hope, though. We’re here to tell you that it is absolutely possible to have an amazing wedding without breaking the bank.

Determine your budget and stick to it

 Above all, creating and managing your budget – and your expectations – should be your top priorities. Regardless of whether it’s $5,000 or $50,000, each decision needs to be a careful one, which takes discipline and strong communication.

Will you and your spouse be paying for the wedding? Do your parents and in-laws want to help with the finances? Start the conversations early in the process and discuss expectations, obligations and non-negotiables with everyone involved with the financial responsibility. This is always a sensitive topic, so make a pact with your soon-to-be spouse and agree to be upfront, honest and respectful of all the decisions you make together.

Inevitably there will be unexpected expenses, so plan for them. Set aside a percentage of your budget as your “emergency” fund so that a surprise price increase or a detail that you didn’t account for doesn’t turn into a financial disaster.

Think outside the box

Traditional venues can be expensive, just as a Saturday evening reception is during the month of June. If you can be flexible, you can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Consider some scenic property for your reception … a romantic vineyard, a blooming botanical garden, or a rustic barn on the family farm. Choose a Sunday brunch or an afternoon cocktail party to celebrate, rather than a formal sit down dinner. Love the holidays? If you marry in the same month, chances are your venue will already be decked out with seasonal décor!

Involve your family and friendsCreating and sticking to your wedding budget can be a challenge

We all have our talents, and we bet you have friends and family that have their own specialties, too.

There’s no need to hire a professional wedding planner. Enlist your most organized and detail-oriented friend to help keep track of appointments, to-do lists, and final decision deadlines.

Ask your creative cousin and artistic best friend to design centerpieces and table arrangements. Re-purpose the flower arrangements from the wedding to the reception venue. Shop flea markets and thrift stores for vintage vases and other decorations and ask your Pinterest-loving aunt to help with the floral arrangements.

Does your grandmother make the most delicious homemade jam? Add a custom label and a ribbon to a mini Mason jar and add some southern charm to your tasty wedding favor.

If you’re planning to send formal wedding invitations, ask your calligrapher friend to address the envelopes, or invite your sister to take a calligraphy class with you. Then invite the bridal party over for an invitation stuffing party!

Cutting corners is not only savvy spending, it can also be lots of fun. By inviting your friends and family to help with your planning, you’re not only highlighting their talents, you’re asking them to share in your special day instead of simply being a guest at the event.

keeping your wedding on budget can be a challenge, and cutting costs can be difficult, but it's so worth itAt the end of the day …

There are tons of ways to keep your wedding on budget. Just remember, regardless of whether you arrive at the church in Cinderella’s horse-drawn carriage or your vintage Volkswagen bug, whether you’re wedding attire has a designer label or it’s on loan from your cousin, or whether your reception is at the Country Club or the Community Center, your wedding day will still be one of the most beautiful and memorable days of your lives. At the end of the day, you’ll still be wed, but by making some smart decisions, you’ll be able to begin your lives together on financially sound footing. Trust us– that’s the best wedding gift you’ll ever receive.