How to plan a lovely day that doesn't bust your budget

STCU offers blissful money saving tips

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So you've found someone to spend your life with. Congrats! Now all you have to do is make it official and throw a party.

As you plan a wedding, it's not unusual to watch the cost skyrocket. But weddings can be both memorable and affordable.

Location, location, libation

†Venues, food and drink typically represent the biggest chunk of couples' wedding budgets.

With popular or premium venues, you'll likely pay thousands of dollars and you might be required to choose from their preferred caterers.

Maddie DeGeest, a former stylist at Spokane-area bridal boutique who works in marketing at†STCU, recommends looking for a reception spot that lets you choose your own caterer or bring in your own home-cooked food. †

#TheDress

A wedding dress will easily run you $1,500 or more (or much more). Consider buying one off the rack rather than a ordering a custom-made gown, DeGeest says: “You can still make it your own with alterations.”

Otherwise, watch for trunk shows at boutiques ― typically, those are the only events where retailers can sell designer gowns at discounted prices.†

Keep an eye on quality

DeGeest warns against skimping in some areas.

Photography, for example. Hire an experienced professional. While your amateur photographer uncle might be delighted to snap some pictures at your wedding, owning a nice camera is not the same as knowing how to direct groups of people, stick to a timeline, or use proper lighting.

For more wedding-planning tips and financial education, go to†stcumoney.org.

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