The first time I got married I was old, over 30. The second time I got married I was older still. Definitely not a situation where I could count on dear Daddy to foot the bill for the blushing bride. So guess what, both times I got married my mate and I paid for it ourselves. No we did NOT get married at the county courthouse either time. We had nice weddings and you can to - if you stay focused on the main points.

Point One: You are not "done" because you found the right mate. You are just beginning your lives together. Don't begin your life in massive debt. Set the tone for a respectful, long lasting relationship with an emotionally authentic wedding.

Point Two: Girls have more invested in the big day than boys. So men, be a little indulgent. And girls, don't forget it's HIS day too!

Things You Will Need

A calculator
A sheet of paper
A credit card or cash

Step 1

Sit down with your spouse to be for a brain storming session. If there is anything that is a must have for either party, establish what that is. For example, many tourist destinations such as Hawaii or Las Vegas have all inclusive wedding packages for reasonable rates. But having the wedding at such a destination may be an undue financial burden to your guests. What's more important, having all family members present, or the Hawaiian vacation? It's worth asking yourself and then setting the focus.

Step 2

Once you've agreed on your main focus the name of the game is where can we cut costs? Get donations where ever you can. If your friends are happy for you, they will be flattered to be involved in your wedding. A friend of mine saved a ton of money on catering by having a friend who was a professional caterer "gift" her with his services as his wedding gift. Another way to save money on food, yet have really good food, is to go pot latch.

Even if you don't know a caterer, you maybe know some musicians who want to "gift" you with music? Perhaps a member of the family who would "gift" you as a DJ. Save money on a wedding dress by borrowing one. Fancy tuxedo stores often rent formal gowns. "Worn only once" duh, is often a subheading on Ebay for wedding dresses.

The money you save on the dress you can spend on having it tailored to fit you. Another way to save money if you are getting married older, is consider buying a nice, simple formal gown that might be worn at another occasion. Or have a day time wedding a wear a suit.

Step 3

Consider the size of your wedding. If you don't want to cut costs by having pot latch, cut the guest list down to family members only. You can have a reception/party later to celebrate the occasion with out having everyone present for the vows exchange. If it's a Vegas package wedding, consider having just your two best friends along. If it's located on a cruise ship, your wedding guest list will pare itself.

Consider the location of your wedding. If you have it at the church where you worship, they may let you have the premise for free or for a nominal cost. If you have a friend with a large house better still. Even if you don't know anyone with a big house, what you could rent a weekend getaway for - complete with kitchen and parking, will be less than renting a ballroom in a hotel. Consider renting a beach house, or a cabin in the woods.

Step 4

One of my friends saved a lot of money on her wedding by having a friend make the cake. Unfortunately, our friend, not a professional baker, made a very odd looking cake. When I got married the first time I asked my friend to decorate the cake with fresh flowers. That way I didn't have to worry about if she had professional icing technique. The cake was very pretty. It was an ice cream cake, so it was also a big hit with the kids.

Even if you don't have a friend who can bake the cake, you can get an inexpensive sheet cake and dress it up with fresh flowers for a nicer look than the average bakery thick icing cake. The flowers can match your bouquet or your dress. I wasn't going to have a bouquet myself because I got married so late in life, but a well meaning friend of mine handed me one made of artificial flowers at the last minute. Now there's a way to save money! Plus it was a keepsake.

Step 5

Pass out throw away digital cameras as wedding favors. They can email you their best shots, and voile! Wedding album is complete. Other inexpensive wedding favors are Hershey's kisses wrapped in mesh, or sprinkled at the table, rose petals, bouquets of wildflowers. One of my friends who didn't want rice thrown at her wedding got bubbles at the 99 cent store for wedding favors and had everyone blow bubbles for her as they left the church. It was a very pretty effect.
You can have the wedding of your dreams, if you have found the perfect mate. A word to the wise, you will be so overwhelmed that day that you will barely remember what happened. Have your good friend, the best man or maid of honor assigned to making sure you get some food.

Tips & Warnings

La la la!