Wedding deals and discounts

You can have a beautiful wedding on an affordable budget without the savings showing.

Not one of your guests will be able to tell that you got your lovely designer wedding gown for, say, half-price, and they certainly won't know that the delectable hors d'oeuvres they're enjoying came at a steep discount.

So just how do you pull off this particular wedding miracle? How do you get an opulent wedding for less?

1. Scale it down. Rather than having 300 guests, cut down your list to include only close relatives and friends.

2. Choose your level of formality carefully. An 8 p.m. formal reception is going to be far more expensive than an equally beautiful one held at 3 p.m.

3. Keep it simple.

4. Analyze your personal resources. Do you know someone who owns or works at a banquet hall? Does your sister play the harp? Is your aunt skilled at flower arranging? Call upon your friends and relatives and accept offers of help. Make these their wedding gifts to you.

5. Allow plenty of time to plan. You won't be rushed into making impulsive, unwise money choices just because the clock is ticking.

6. Bargain. Haggle with wedding vendors.

7. Stay organized. Get clear contracts, write down what you've done, record the payments you've made and have an exact head count of your guests .