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With most couples marrying later in life and shouldering more of the cost of the wedding themselves, they are increasingly looking for ways to strike a balance between their romantic dream wedding and a wedding that is affordable. In most cases, a couple can find simple ways to trim their normal budget and deposit the extra into their wedding account. If you begin thinking about ways to save money one year before your scheduled wedding date, those small lifestyle changes can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars in a single year.

Most couples spend much more on entertainment while dating than they realize. For instance, when you rent a movie and order take-out pizza rather than going out for a fancy dinner and the theater, you can save $25 or more each time. By putting this savings into your wedding account, you will be amazed at how quickly it grows. The same holds true for outings with friends. Instead of choosing the expensive mixed drinks, choose domestic beer or house wine. The key to this is putting all the money saved right into your wedding account and then leaving it untouched.

If you choose to eat out for lunch at work every day, start packing sandwiches and put aside your lunch money in the same way. Those $5 lunches may not seem like much but when you start comparing them to the $2.50 that it would cost you for a bagged lunch brought from home, you will quickly find that in just a years time, you can save over $1,500 to be put toward your wedding budget.

Travel is another expense that can easily be trimmed. If you frequently take cabs, try the subway or bus instead. If you drive to work alone, consider car-pooling with a co-worker. Rather than make many trips over several days to run errands, make a list and run all your errands at once, visiting stores that sell the majority of the items on your list.

The holidays will always put a bite in your budget, especially if you and your fiancÚ are in the habit of giving each other extravagant gifts. The year before your wedding, make a pact to buy each other only one inexpensive, sentimental gift and put the rest of the Christmas budget into your wedding account. If this seems too pared down, throw in stocking stuffers that you can unwrap together. You can apply this same principle to birthdays and anniversaries as well.

Remind yourself that these changes are only for one year and if you like, you can go back to your original ways after that time. However, you may find that the new cost-cutting ways are not so bad. After being married, you will want furniture, perhaps a new car, or even want to start saving to buy a house. You can acquire these things as well by continuing to save and change your spending habits.

By making these minor, temporary changes, when your big day rolls around, you will look back and thank each other for the fairytale wedding and reception that would otherwise never have been enjoyed. Careful planning brings you one-step closer to having the wedding and reception of your dreams. When you consider what you will get in return, the small sacrifices are not really sacrifices at all.

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