Warning: These methods are not for everyone. Only those more concerned with pinching as many pennies as possible, rather than having a Pinterest-perfect wedding day may consider these options viable. If you don't give a rat's butt about the criticism you may receive from 'wedding purists' (i.e. bitter bridemaids or conservative in-laws), then this post is for you!
1. Weekday wedding
Most, if not all, wedding venues and event centers offer a significantly discounted package for events held Monday-Friday. Sure, it may discourage some people from coming, but you only want the best of the best to attend anyway.
(Same applies for an off-season wedding! Late fall to early spring, you can typically get reduced rates for anything from catering to venue rental!)
2. Go for a non-traditional dress
If you're not keen on the idea of spending $1000-$2000 on a dress you will only wear once, skip the bridal shops and check out places like Nordstrom, Dillard's, Macy's, or even Amazon for a formal dress you'll look fabulous in. You can even be extra gutsy and go for a non-white number, like pink, black, or gold!
3. Have a daytime reception
In my personal opinion, there are very few solid excuses for not feeding your wedding guests at all, so this is not a recommendation to skip the catering. Only to replace an expensive dinner with a lighter lunch. Also, daytime wedding photos tend to come out a lot better than nighttime shots.
4. Trim down the guest list
Your parents might have a long list of relatives you've only met once (or never) that they believe are entitled to an invitation. But remember, this is ultimately your day and unless your parents are also prepared to foot the bill for an extra 100 people, feel free to be as frugal with your guest list as you like.
5. Honeymoon locally
If the all-inclusive resort in Cancun isn't an option right now, start googling attractions and cozy bed-and-breakfasts in your state or region. You're bound to find some hidden gems that are within your budget and plenty romantic. Airbnb is one fantastic source for finding unique places to stay in any price range, anywhere in the world! (Word to the wise: if what you really want is time to relax, especially following the hectic wedding week, do not attempt a road trip honeymoon. Not relaxing.)
6. Hold your wedding in a park or a backyard
Maybe not the Hilton, but the perfect setting for a low-key wedding. See 6 Reasons to Have Your Wedding at a Park, and most of those apply to backyards as well. There's just something special and intimate about being invited to someone's home, instead of a banquet hall.
7. Nix the Wedding Party
Check out Pros and Cons to NOT Having a Wedding Party for more details. Though even if you chose to simply invite one maid of honor and one best man for a 2-person party, you'll find you avoid a lot of the fuss and drama (and cost) that comes with a big wedding party.