There’s no getting around it — weddings are expensive. But when you sit down to do a budget, keep in mind these 19 things that you can easily cut without sacrificing an ounce of elegance or style on your special day.

1. Save the dates

Unless you’re getting married during a holiday weekend or hosting a destination wedding, guests don’t typically need a heads up months in advance. Sending the wedding invitation six to eight weeks in advance is enough time.

2. Engraved invitations

“People look at an invitation for three minutes to get the necessary information and then not again,” says Tionna Van Gundy, owner of Wedicity, a Chicago-based event planning company. So rather than opt for engraving, which is pricey, get your invites thermography printed. It’s a much more affordable option that has the same look as engraving but without the raised lettering.

3. Ceremony décor

Big floral displays, elaborate pew ribbons and door wreaths are pretty – but also pretty unnecessary. When you calculate how much time you and your guests actually spend at the ceremony site, elaborate décor is not worth the expense if money is tight.

4. A professional officiant

Ask someone close to you and the groom to get deputized to marry you if you’re planning a nonreligious ceremony. Not only will you save a little money, but it can also be much more personal and intimate to let a friend or family member officiate.

5. Reply cards

Instead of including reply or RVSP cards, which require an envelop and postage to send back, allow guests to reply to invitations on your wedding website.

6. Aisle runner

All eyes will be on you as you walk down the aisle. But everyone will be looking at what you’re wearing, not what you’re walking on, so you can afford to skip the runner.

7. Book-length wedding programs

Cut down on printing and paper by limiting the program details. A list of readings and music, names of the bridal party and their affiliation to you, and the officiant’s name should do it if you’re in a pinch.

8. Wedding favors

Unless they’re edible, most guests leave their favors behind. So why spend the extra cash on customized glasses or other trinkets that guests won’t keep?

9. Guest book

Instead of sweet notes of love and thoughtfulness, many people end up writing something generic (“Lots of happiness,” “Congratulations!”) or just signing their name. Focus instead on greeting each guest and hearing their heartfelt best wishes firsthand.

10. Individually printed menus

Rather than having a menu card at each place setting, put one near the centerpiece on each table.

11. Monogrammed cocktail napkins

Guests will be just as happy with plain white ones and wouldn’t even notice custom napkins. Plus, you’ll probably end up having a ton leftover.

12. Bride and groom chair décor

It’s better to put your decorating dollars where they’ll have the biggest impact and the most views, like the centerpieces. “Most of the time you’ll be standing, greeting guests or dancing,” says Van Gundy. “You’ll only be sitting in the chairs for three or four minutes.”

13. Toasting goblets

You’ll use them at the reception and maybe, if you remember, for your one-year anniversary, then they’ll languish in the back of a cabinet.

14. Monogrammed cake knife and server

Like toasting goblets, these pieces have a limited use beyond the wedding day and don’t add much to the celebration.

15. Groom’s cake

If your guy has a true hobby or you really want to surprise him, go for it, says Van Gundy. But if not, you can skip this extra sweet treat.

16. Ladies’ room amenities

Most women carry any necessary toiletries with them, like tampons and hand lotion, so there’s no reason to run up a drugstore bill.

17. Fresh flower throwaway bouquet

If you’re tossing a bouquet to the single ladies, go with artificial flowers — Van Gundy estimates they’re a quarter of the price of real blooms.

18. Dessert

As long as the wedding cake is fabulous, you don’t necessarily need to serve additional treats

19. Welcome bags

While it’s a nice idea to think of out of towners, they’ll be fine without a bottle of water, local printed map and lip balm that often end up in these bags. Instead of printing a list of local restaurants, put it on your wedding website.

©CTW Features