There’s no way around it: the cost of a wedding continues to increase. The most recent American Wedding Survey from Brides magazine, released in 2016, pegged the average at $26,522. That doesn’t even include the cost of a reception – $11,380, according to the same survey.

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans (86 percent) think those costs are way too high according to a survey conducted by financial services firm Country Financial.

So if the prospective bride and groom aren’t planning on going into debt to get married – something that 77 percent of people think is a bad idea, according to the same survey – what they to do? Here are a few strategies:

Keep a tight rein on your budget

A Consumer Reports survey found that nearly two-thirds of those who went over budget overspent by 20 percent or more. To cover the costs, 41 percent used savings, 11 percent took out a loan and 9 percent withdrew from a retirement account.

Try to negotiate

Consumer Reports suggests that you can get a lower price for everything from flowers to your transportation by asking. Worst case scenario, you’ll get a no.

Change the date

Friday or Sunday weddings will cost less than those on Saturday nights. According to Brides magazine, this option is growing in popularity. Friday accounted for 15 percent of weddings and Sunday for 13 percent in 2016.

Don’t forget DIY

In a Consumer Reports survey, 22 percent of respondents saved money by making their own wedding favors.

There many other ways to pinch pennies when it comes to wedding plans, so do your research and know your priorities before you get started.

©CTW Features