Some of my greatest joys come from pulling off the spectacular with very little resources. The thrill is intoxicating to be quite honest. In no particular order, here are a few ideas to help you keep costs down for your wedding: 1. VENUE. With the right venue you can avoid the cost of "transforming the space" into your particular theme. A recent wedding I went to was at an art museum, which had a Pop Art exhibition. The venue was so bright and vibrant, there was no need to "decorate." 2. FLOWERS. Do your homework, but you can save oodles by simply hiring a florist for labor-only duties--not floral design. Florists generally add about 17% to the cost of flowers for their "design fee." Avoid this altogether by partnering with a florist to simply serve as labor to put the flowers together. The designing can be done by you. Negotiate a fair fee for services only--not design. Also, maybe let the bride carry flowers and the bridesmaids carry non-flowers. Save a ton that way. 3. COCKTAILS. "Less choices, less agony," I heard at some point at a design firm. And it's true. By offering an open bar with restricted options, you can shrink the bar tab significantly. This also enables couples to create a few signature cocktails tailored for their event. Mocktails are done the same way for dry events. 4. FOOD. One of the most expensive line-items is the menu. This doesn't have to be the case. I went to a very sophisticated twilight wedding on Whidbey Island a few years ago and the bride had opted for a dessert reception. It was so elegantly put together. Gorgeous sweets, from delicate maccarons to decadent truffles, the food was masterfully put together. By nixing standard protocol like opting for a dessert reception, you can save over half your food budget. 5. FAVORS. Forget about 'em. You don't need them. Save yourself the time of crafting favors and money from buying tchotchkes. Modern couples nowadays are gifting to their favorite charity on behalf of each guest. A simple and beautiful card highlighting the charitable donation is a classy way of acknowledging both the organization and each guest. Hope this gives you hope that weddings can be done with class while saving a ton of dough. Thoughts? Questions? Other ideas that you want to share and add to the list?