The average cost of a wedding in America these days is $26,000. In my hometown, Chaska, Minn. people spend anywhere from $17,000 up to $30,000. According to www.costofwedding.com. To me that seems pretty normal, but also pretty high. I truly believe you can have an amazing wedding by spending less than $15,000. But, that also means you have to be willing to sacrifice in certain areas and it also has to do a lot with the connections you have... the more people you know, the cheaper things will be.
My number one tip to saving money is STICK TO YOUR BUDGET. Literally sit down and set a limit, and DON'T exceed that limit, you'll only hurt yourself in the long run. Figure out who is paying for your wedding, is it just you and your groom? Are mom and dad helping? Will this all be going on credit cards? Sit down and literally crunch the numbers. Also, the longer you have to plan your wedding, the better off you'll be financially in the end. You won't be putting as much on credit cards to get things done, instead you'll pay for things as they come along.
Ask yourself, "what can I absolutely not live without on my wedding day?" Most brides say their wedding dress and refuse not to splurge on the dress. Some say the venue, others say the cake. But pick just ONE thing and then try to save on the other things. If you absolutely need the huge mansion with amazing mountain views for your venue, then you better be willing to cut in other areas. Try a trunk show to get your dress, have your aunt Sue make your wedding cupcakes and don't have an open bar. If you want the most amazing wedding, the biggest way to save money is to only invite your closest friends and family. A wedding with 350+ costs WAY more than just 100.
Always remember that there are hidden costs, things you don't think about. Things will come up and items will need to be purchased. Save as much as you can while you're engaged and invest in a credit card or two. Remember it's not about how much you spend or what people think, it's about you and your groom spending the rest of your lives together. So in the end if you can't have a chocolate fountain or extravagant table linens it really won't matter.
Check out theknot.com for more information on hidden wedding costs.