One of  my colleagues just got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, and they’ve planned their wedding in record time, in my mind: a November 2014 date.

They’re trying to pay for as much of the wedding themselves, instead of asking parents to pay for it, without going into any debt.

They’ve booked a great Jersey Shore location on the beach, chosen menus, flowers. My colleague still has to talk to DJs for music and pricing; apparently DJs have a price menu for every extra beyond playing music (first dance request, bride/father dance request). They are trying to do this in the most cost-efficient way possible and still have a wonderful, memorable wedding.

The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. in 2012, according to The Knot and The Wedding Channel, was more than $28,000! That’s insane! That’s a down payment on the median-price home in most cities! The median-price home in the U.S. in September, according to the National Association of Realtors, was $199,200.

Yes, a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event (except that 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, according to the Census Bureau — but we don’t think about that stat when we get married). And  we know the usual saver advice for couples planning a wedding — having a wedding in a non-peak (May, June, October) month at a non-peak time (Saturday afternoon/evening) are huge savers. But what hidden secrets will save couples money when they are planning their wedding?

Can you help my colleague out with some budgeting advice for a wedding? What wedding planning tips do you have for engaged couples? How can they maximize their dollars when planning their wedding? (And yes, destination weddings that cost their guests hundreds of dollars are not an option. I just did one of those.)

And as a little bit of a throwback, for several years we hosted a video contest – a lot of work, but some great submissions. Our 2010 winner of the Success Stories category was Jessica, who described how she has No Regrets for delaying her honeymoon until she and her husband could pay cash for it. This particular option is not for everyone, but in a nutshell is what the Get Rich Slowly philosophy is all about: Making short-term sacrifices for long-term happiness.

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