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While everyone wants their wedding to be unique and memorable, most people these days don't want to pay for a lavish event that will last only one day. While there are certain things you won't want to skimp on, for example the dress and the photographer, there are many ways to save money on your wedding, while still ensuring your day is beautiful and everything you want it to be. We've put together a few suggestions on how to make sure your Big Day doesn't turn into a big debt!

1. Consider a casual theme Not everyone wants a cathedral wedding. Large, elaborate weddings are falling out of favour with many people, with simpler and more intimate affairs becoming more desirable. More casual wedding themes such as beach or garden weddings are romantic, intimate and definitely kinder to your bank balance. Just make sure you have backup in case it rains; rustic old church or community halls can quickly and cheaply be decked out in a Tiki or Shabby-chic theme if it looks like the weather isn't playing fair.

2. Dabble in DIY Here's where you can bring your creative skills to the party. There are many things you can do yourself without hiring a professional. Make your own invitations, design and create your own reception decorations and table centrepieces. Put together the bonbonnieres yourself. You can even go so far as to make the bouqets yourself, especially if you've got a simpler theme like a cottage wedding. Flower markets have the same flowers the florist uses at a much cheaper price, and internet tutorials can show you how to create a bouqet, including how to prepare the flowers so they stay perfect all day. Perhaps you could get some help from your bridesmaids!!

3. Go online You can get everything online now! Especially if you're starting preparations with plenty of time to spare, you can now order everything from the bridesmaids dresses, to decorations and even the rings, online direct from the wholesalers. This can save you so much, and all it takes is a bit of time, being prepared to haggle, and ensuring you've got plenty of time to send things back if they aren't perfect.

4. Call in the troops! Everyone has someone talented in their family, and most people have lots of talent to draw on. Think about who in your family would be able to contribute to the wedding preparations. Perhaps you have a cousin who's a hairdresser, or your dad is great at making cakes. Call in the family and friends. As a courtesy, ask if they would like payment, or to give you the service or item/s as a wedding present. Make sure if they do that you write a thank you note as well, and ensure you're not asking for too much. It's one thing to ask Aunty Doris to do your hair, but it's another thing to expect your cousin to hand-bead 6m of silk train for free. If you handle it well, your whole day will become a celebration not just of your love for each other, but your family's love for you both, and it is a great way to bond your two different families.

5. Re-consider the reception Perhaps you could have a casual afternoon tea instead. Weddings come in all shapes and sizes now, and it's totally fine to have a relaxed and yummy afternoon tea instead of the three course dinner. Perhaps you could do both; have an afternoon tea for everyone at the church or wedding venue, then gather just your nearest and dearest for a more formal dinner to keep costs down, and ensure a very intimate gathering. 6. Ditch the limo Possibly think of another romantic yet less costly option. Perhaps you have a friend with a classic or vintage car. Maybe you'd rather your dad drive you in the family car? Even something cute and humorous like a Kombi van, or a parade of Mini Minors...think outside the box, ask your friends and family, and don't think you have to do the same thing everyone else is doing. Whatever you decide to do or not do, your wedding should be a lot of fun, not a lot of stress. Its no good having a giant debt hanging over your head, just because you wanted to keep up with the Joneses. Pick what's important to spend your money on, like wonderful photography to catch all your special moments, or a relaxing honeymoon somewhere special. As for the rest, negotiate based on what you both want, and don't let other people's opinions sway you from having the wedding you want. It's your wedding, remember! What's important is having all your loved ones together, helping cheer you on as you start this new part of your life together.

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