If you don’t care about having the perfect assortment of Peruvian orchids or blush-pink tea roses, the best alternative to spending thousands on precious blooms is not to collect and arrange your own fresh flowers. Think about it—on the morning of your wedding, do you want to be stalking like a crazy person through a hot, crowded flower market (or, God forbid, traipsing through an actual garden) and then spending hours arranging and tying bouquets? No. Get a florist to arrange some simple bouquets using local, seasonal flowers, or if you want the DIY look, give the traipsing-and-tying task to your cousin who’s been begging you to let her help. To save even more, DIY some pretty non-floral centerpieces before the wedding and only use fresh blooms for bouquets and boutonnieres.
Unless you are planning on wearing your hair the exact same way you do every day, don’t risk it. Styling hair well takes lots of practice, and the most-photographed day of your life is not the time to attempt a complicated updo for the first time. If your wedding-hair vision involves the words “blowout,” “flowers,” “chignon” “backcombed” or “old Hollywood,” let your stylist do it—a pro can do your ’do twice as well as you could, and in half the time. Keep costs down by visiting the salon (instead of requesting an on-site appointment) or requesting an appointment with a junior stylist.
If your venue staff won’t help with decorations, call in favors from everyone you know before you resort to hanging your own balloons and bunting. Again, it’s all about time—you want to spend yours relaxing and getting pampered a bit, not getting sweaty with your toolbelt.
Photo credit: BitBoy 
What is it about weddings that makes otherwise-sane women think they can singlehandedly cater a meal for 50 or more people? Preparing massive amounts of food is hard. Either you try it the day of the wedding and end up exhausted and flustered, or you prepare it in advance and doom your guests to eating glorified leftovers—either way, not the makings of a fun celebration. Paying caterers will be worth every penny.
The idea of saving money on a DJ by making an iPod playlist is quite popular these days, but hear me out: DJs do a lot more than just press play. They intuit the mood of the crowd, they take requests, they keep the energy up, they prevent breaks in dancing by playing only the best and most slammin’ parts of each song. Your iPod can’t do that. A DJ can also make announcements and accommodate last-minute requests. If you’re dead-set on eliminating the actual human, consider compromising by asking a professional to make a dance mix for you to play. It won’t allow for variation, but it’ll be much more danceable.
Not every bride dreams of riding off into the sunset in a horse-drawn carriage. And it's totally fine if you don’t even like limos. But if you and your new husband plan on driving yourselves home after the reception in your 2001 Corolla, it’ll put a harsh, utilitarian cap on what should be a very special event. Not to mention the fact that it puts a serious damper on the festivities, beverage-wise. At the very least, find someone to drive you. If you don’t spring for a limo or car service, check craigslist for low-cost options. Many classic car owners have a small side business of doing easy pickups and drop-offs for a small fee.