>TIPS FOR TRIMMING THE WEDDING COSTS

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1. Cut back on the elaborateness and the number of pieces included in the invitation.

2. Look beyond traditional banquet facilities for a venue. Park districts, nature centers and many restaurants can accommodate a wedding reception for less money.

3. Serve chicken instead of steak, or just wine and beer instead of a full bar.

4. Shop clearance and sale racks for dresses. Also, check out thrift stores and consignment shops.

5. Go with silk floral arrangements instead of fresh flowers.

6. Skip the favors.

7. Get a small fancy wedding cake for display and serve the guests sheet cake.

8. Shop eBay and other online venues for accessories.

9. Go off-season. Not only are reception halls more available in November or January, their costs are usually less as well.

10. Remember, come the big day, don’t sweat the imperfections. It will be over before you know it, so make those memories happy ones.

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