Weddings can be EX-PEN-SIVE. Although the more extravagant ones are certainly beautiful to witness, we’re not a huge advocate of trying to top the prettiest and most expensive wedding you’ve ever seen—only to be in months (if not years) worth of debt following your wedding day.

Being realistic about the amount of money you have to work with is wise. So is speaking with a wedding planner who may be able to cut you a deal on some things thanks to their relationships with vendors.

But if money is SUPER TIGHT and you know that you and yours really don’t have more than $5,000 to work with, no worries. Here are some things that you can do to keep your wedding day (and reception) under budget.

Limited Your Guest List

Unique guest book idea for wedding. Bucket list for bride and groom. Wedding photography by @2girls20cameras

Image via 2girls20cameras

The more people that you invite, the bigger venue you’ll need and the more food you’ll have to get in order to feed them. Only you know how many individuals definitely need to be there to witness your special day. All we’re saying is that one of the quickest ways to reduce your budget is to cut down your guest list.

Get Married During The Week

Black Couples ! — beautifulblackcouplesus:   Black love❤️...

Image via loveblackcouples.tumblr.

It’s probably not a shocker that venues are going to charge the most for weekend events. If you want to save as much as 30-50 percent, consider getting married on any days other than Saturday or Sunday (yep, sometimes even Fridays will work!).

Hire Some College Musicians

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Image via Suburban Men

Have you always fantasized about having live music at your wedding? One way you can make that happen without spending a mint is by contacting a local college (or even high school) and ask how much they charge. Whatever it is, it’s going to be much cheaper than adult musicians. Plus, they will probably know some songs that the grown folks don’t; ones that will be sure to liven up the joint!

Play Around On Etsy

Romantic find your seat seating chart for a whimsical wedding by Unica Forma

Image via weddingideas.pro

If personalized items are what you’re after, you can never go wrong with Etsy. Plus, being that you’re working with individual vendors, sometimes they will offer you an unexpected discount or cut you a deal of some sort. (It never hurts to ask!)

Get Creative With Paper Flowers

10 DIY paper flowers tutorials that will add the WOW to your wedding by Lia Griffith

Image via paperandlace

We REALLY want you to carry a bouquet of fresh flowers. But for your bridesmaids, the throwaway bouquet and even some of the centerpieces for your reception tables, paper flowers can be quite beautiful and really unique. And, you can get some of your bridal party and family members to help you make them, free of charge! (Click here for a little inspiration!)

“Barter” Talents For Gifts

Blush, berry and ivory boutonnieres: Photography: Rowa Lee of Judy Pak Photography - judypak.com   Read More on SMP: http://www.stylemepretty.com/2017/01/31/rainy-day-romance-in-new-york-city/

Image via Style Me Pretty

Rather than going for an all-out gift registry, ask some of the people coming to your wedding if they’d be willing to offer up some of their skills rather than giving you a pair of towels. It’s a cool way to get your programs done (if you know a calligrapher or printer), your boutonnieres for the groomsmen taken care of (if you know someone who is super handy with arts and crafts) and a myriad of other random thing that cost but usually someone you know can do.

Host A Free Reception At A Park

great way to display cake at outside wedding without worrying about bugs!

Image via Chica and Jo

Here’s a cool idea. If you don’t mind your reception being casual, why not hold it at a local park? Not the one that is super-crowded, but the one that a lot of people don’t frequent or the one where individuals hike more than anything else. You can do everything picnic-style with no stress, drama or a leftover bill.

Make The Most Of Your MP3 Player

Great idea! My feet hurt so much after dancing at my aunt's wedding. The mother of the groom was smart enough to bring flip flops to dance in. xD (Check link on this pin later)

Image via procrastinista.hubpages

While there’s nothing quite like the stylings of a DJ, if money is super-tight, opt for a venue that has its own sound system and then either connect your MP3 player to it or program your laptop with all of your favorite music.

Nix The Wedding Cake

Donut cakes are becoming more and more popular for weddings! Match them to your theme with colored frosting. #purpleweddings

Image via Emmaline Bride

Remember the calling in favors suggestion that we made? Ask someone to make a smaller wedding cake for you and your sweetheart. For everyone else, get a tier-holder so that you can “layer” cupcakes or donuts instead. If you’re worried that it will look cheap, don’t. Going with a dessert other than a traditional wedding cake is one of the biggest trends going right now.

Photography: Paper Antler - paperantler.com  Read More: http://www.stylemepretty.com/midwest-weddings/2014/04/10/new-york-glamour-in-a-wisconsin-barn-wedding/

Image via Style Me Pretty

Open bars are cool. But you can still have a really fabulous wedding without one. Pull on everyone’s heart strings by creating a special signature drink that is named after the two of you, includes a significant date that you share or even a phrase from a favorite movie or song. People will enjoy the idea so much that they won’t even think about where the beer is! A delicious and memorable way to keep your wedding under the $5,000 cap, wouldn’t you say?