Linda Morado, Le Dress Boutique:
•Don't buy the gown first. Pick your venue and price the catering before dress shopping. You'll know better how much you have to spend and what kind of gown suits the reception so you're not suffocating in satin on the beach.
•Don't try on gowns outside your budget. Ever. No matter what your mom, your best friend or the wedding planner say.
•Don't bring the whole wedding party on the gown hunt. The more people, the more pressure to go home with a dress they love and you don't.
•Don't keep shopping after you've bought THE dress. "You don't get engaged and keep looking for a fiancée. So why would you buy a dress and keep on looking? If you loved it enough to lay down the cash, quit looking!"
Anne Fulenwider, editor in chief of Brides magazine and Brides.com:
•Bride and groom should list their top five priorities and compare notes. "You want the wedding to be an expression of who you are as a couple, so spend where it matters most to you. If you're foodies, cut back on décor or do-it-yourself invites."
•Do not cut back on photography or video, "the language of this generation." You'll want these images long after the favors and flowers are forgotten.
Anja Winikka, site director, TheKnot.com:
•Economize with pride. A cocktail reception doesn't say, " 'We cheaped out on buying you dinner.' It says, 'We're fun, we're different and this is how we socialize.' "
•Do a surprise wedding. It worked for Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and his bride, Priscilla Chan, and actor Matthew McConaughey and wife Camila Alves.
•Have a small ceremony, then hold parties in different cities where friends and family live.
Sheryl Evertson, Saratoga Event Group:
•Invite only people you love who love you: That's how you pare the guest list.
•Break away from the Saturday-night-seated-dinner. Her Atlanta venues offer discounts for Friday nights and Sundays, for example.
Matt Mendelsohn, photographer:
•"Don't read the blogs that show the bridal party riding in on tractors holding vintage mason jars. You'll just get fakey, posed pictures. You don't need a theme or invitations modeled after the last dinner on the Titanic. Keep your eyes on the prize — love and joy and family."