Get smart about your wedding budget with these tips.

Everyone is trying to make a dollar stretch these days. I completely understand, I was bitten by the layoff bug myself last fall. Perhaps you still want to have the wedding of your dreams but realize that dream is going to need some tweaking in order for the mortgage and car note to get paid. Take a look at my seven savvy suggestions to get the most bang for your bridal buck. You’re welcome!

Redefine the Honeymoon – Who says you must take your honeymoon immediately following the wedding? Feel free to schedule your dream getaway with hubby well after the big day when you’ve saved some cash for the trip you’ll both truly enjoy. Consider a staycation (they’re so underrated!) or a quick weekend jaunt in a neighboring city that you guys can drive or take a train to in the meantime.

There are Seven Days in a Week – Venues typically charge top dollar to host events on Saturday afternoons and evenings. Avoid this money trap by opting to hold your wedding and reception on a Friday evening or Sunday afternoon. Trust me, the folks that really love you will find a way to attend.

Take the Bespoke Route – One of the most memorable weddings I have attended took place in New Orleans where it can get pretty humid and muggy. The bride loathed traditional wedding favors and decided to have her program — which was also a fan — double as a practical take-away for her guests. What a chic yet cost-conscious solution, huh?

Get Your Buffet Brunch On! – Think outside the box when it is time to feed your guests. A buffet is considerably less pricey than a seated meal and I happen to prefer them for wedding receptions because it forces guests to get up, mingle and socialize more. Brunches are less predictable than dinner but also frugal friendly. It’s a win-win.

If I Only Had One Dress… – There has been a trend in the bridal world involving brides changing dresses between the wedding ceremony and the reception. Point blank, if you are saving your pennies, stick to one fabulous gown. There are so many great styles available with detachable trains and/or bustles. Avoid adding the unnecessary expense of two frocks to your wedding tab.

Become a Barter Babe – Can your cousin Maggie bring people to tears with her angelic voice? Does your sister-in-law Pam make jewelry that would be ideal for your bridesmaids? Use the talent of your loved ones to help keep your costs down. Chances are they will offer to provide their goods or services as a wedding gift to you. (Or at least they will after a little nudge.)

Seasons Change – Consider tying the knot during the  fall/winter months since prime wedding season is typically spring/summer. The exact same wedding will cost considerably less in January than June.

Do you have more fab and frugal secrets to share about wedding planning? Spill the beans in the comments section.