Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting events in a lifetime- and remember, everyone has a budget. My philosophy has always been that working with a budget is about making your money go further and work harder. Evaluating the elements that matter most to you as a couple and making a few creative decisions can make a big difference when it comes to planning your big day. I've compiled a few of my favorite tips from over the years and will be sharing them in a two-part series (so be sure to check back tomorrow). Here we go...

Choose your venue wisely: Hosting an outdoor event that uses the beauty of nature as a backdrop can help you save on floral and decor. One of my favorite garden spots at Walt Disney World is the Wedding Gazebo at Disney's Yacht Club, which has fresh floral year-round. There’s also a huge opportunity to use the pre-existing decor of a reception venue. Ariel’s at Walt Disney World and the Disney Animation Building at Disneyland both have great themes built in that you can really run with. Finally, don’t forget about the gorgeous locations at Epcot. Whether you say I do in an Italian Plaza or against the backdrop of a quaint town in the Germany Courtyard, each location has a stunning presence that speaks for itself. As an added bonus, some of the locations boast extra decor around the holidays – I'm a big fan of the festive garland at the American Adventure Rotunda!

Be flexible: While many couples automatically assume a wedding needs an evening reception with a plated dinner, considering a brunch (Mickey Waffles, anyone?) or luncheon will help cut down on costs and leave more money for other elements. Also, whether planning a wedding at Walt Disney WorldDisneyland or Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa an event on a day other than Saturday will typically have a lower minimum expenditure. It’s always a "weekend" when you're on vacation, so consider using a destination wedding to your advantage and planning your events at an alternative time and/or date.