Congratulations on your engagement! Here are a few other suggestions:
Find a non-traditional venue (local park, halls run by Elks Club, VFW, or American Legion, for example; park district or community center, etc.). Be sure you can bring in your own caterer.
Contact your local college or university photography class for the name of a talented professor or student to do your photos.
Check out Costco or Sam's Club for your cake and/or flowers. You can also have a smaller cake for "show" and the cake-cutting ceremony, with matching sheet cakes in the kitchen for slicing for your guests.
Use an iPod and speaker system for your music (put a reliable family member in charge and set up your playlists in advance).
Oriental Trading Company (http://www.orientaltrading.com
) has all sorts of wedding items for pretty much anything you want to DIY. Check out Hobby Lobby and/or Michaels for other creative ideas.
Hold your wedding at a time of day where your guests won't expect a full meal. You can have hors d'ouevres at 2 PM or a brunch at 10 AM, High Tea at 4 PM, or a 7 PM ceremony followed by a dessert reception. (Be sure to mention the type of reception you'll be having on the invitations; i.e.
"High Tea to follow" or "Dessert reception to follow", for example, so your guests know to eat before they come.)
You can have all the elements you want for your wedding -- just scale them down a little to fit your budget. (For example, carry a sweet single rose with babies' breath or a dramatic spray of a few calla lilies instead of a full bouquet that may cost several hundred dollars. Or choose seasonal flowers that are cheaper than ones that are out of season and have to be flown in.)
Best advice: visit your local bookstore and find a book on putting together a wedding on a budget. You'll find a wealth of information that will help you have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank!
Marti Barton, Officiant