Wedding costs have skyrocketed. Some weddings can cost as much as $37,827, enough to put a substantial down payment on a house.

In part, this has happened because expectations have risen for couples and guests alike. Yet there are ways to adjust expectations, create a beautiful wedding, and make a wedding less expensive.

Be Intentional about Your Guest List

Do you really need to invite every person you and your spouse know to your wedding? While it would be lovely to include everyone, the truth is that there are people in your life who would probably rather not be invited. A wedding invitation requires travel costs, gifts, and sometimes new clothes.

Everyone you know would probably breathe a collective sigh of relief if you stuck to inviting your closest family members and friends. Meanwhile, your closest family members and friends are the ones who want to be there.

If you take your guest list from 200 down to 20 you’ll have to feed fewer people, your venue can be smaller, and your drink tab will shrink. These are the top costs for most weddings, which means this is the single most powerful step you can take if you’d like to slash expenses.

Host the Ceremony Outside

Indoor venues are far more expensive than outdoor venues. There are even some outdoor venues which are free. Your backyard for one, but if that’s not large enough your local park or botanical garden might offer free or cheap wedding accommodations. So might local farms or ranches.

Be creative and don’t be afraid to ask around. Someone you know might have a nice rental cabin you don’t know about, one with a pretty good expanse of land.

Rent Clothes

Men usually rent tuxes, but women are often pressured into buying dresses. Yet there are dress rental companies too, and they offer both wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses.

While the fit might not be quite as perfect, there’s a good chance nobody will notice. You’ll save a bundle on something that you’re only going to wear once anyway.

DIY It

Can you cook well enough to handle your own food? Do you sew well enough to make your own dress or tux?

Identify anything you can do yourself, and do it.

Related: many people suggest that you can ask people for services instead of gifts. If one of your parents is a much better cook than you are you might ask them to handle creating some epic wedding dishes in lieu of a gift. If your cousin is a photographer than you can save a lot by let them gift their skills instead of a crockpot.

Prioritize

What are the most important elements of your big day? Is it to have an epic reception dance floor that keeps rocking for hours? A location? Food that people really love? Whatever it is, invest more of your celebration money there. Opt for fewer flowers, a simpler venue, or whatever else it takes to maintain your priorities for your ideal celebration.

Every dollar saved adds up, and it’s money you can eventually put elsewhere. With a little planning, you can make a wedding less expensive also a rip roaring successful wedding at a fraction of the price.