Extreme couponing is big news these days, and it is no secret that people everywhere are looking for ways to get more for less. That leads to the question: how can the frugal bride apply this same principle to her wedding, while still designing a beautiful celebration? These are some tips on how to successfully plan a wedding using coupons and discounts.

First let it be said that you can’t get something for nothing. What this means is that if you want to get discounts on as many of your wedding essentials as possible, you must be willing to invest time to save money. After all, those extreme couponers on television spend a lot of time preparing for their big score, and so must a bride who hopes to get promo code the best deals possible. So instead of picking up a lot of your wedding decorations in one big trip, be prepared to space out your trips to coincide with when you can get the best coupons or deals on the items you need. You might have to visit several bridal shop sales to find the perfect gown when seeking the deepest discount, instead of buying at the first place you visit. Of course, sometimes it also makes sense to buy in bulk. If you can get free shipping by ordering all of your bridesmaid gifts at once, why would you ever purchase the bridesmaid gifts one at a time and pay all that shipping?

Wedding decorations are one of the best things to get using a coupon. Sign up for emails from the big craft stores like AC Moore and Michaels to get their weekly coupons in your in-box. Sometimes they may offer big discounts at odd times, like 40% off your order Wednesday night only, so be ready to jump on these offers. You can easily gather many of your wedding necessities like candles, favor boxes, ribbon, photo albums, invitation stock, and other decorations this way. Also be there when the store opens for their seasonal sales, to stock up on discontinued floral and other wedding supplies.

Another great way to get a discount on your wedding is to plan it on an off day, like a Thursday night. You have more negotiating power when you are booking a photographer or venue for a day on which they otherwise would have been idle. It is considered acceptable to politely ask for a discount when booking on a non-weekend, as long as you are not pushy about it. If they say no to a straight discount, you may still be able to get them to throw in a few extras, like more prints or waiving the corkage fee.

Take advantage of free customer loyalty programs at stores whenever you can. This is a great way to get coupons in the mail or sent to your email. 40% off one item at your favorite department store could mean a fabulous pair of bridal shoes or a dress for the mother of the bride. Scoop up wedding planning books or thank you notecards for half off using a bookstore coupon. Keep your eye on sales at your grocery store, too. They might offer a 20% discount on cases of wine one weekend, which is great if you are buying your own wine (which in and of itself is going to be a discount over the caterer’s price). And consider special ordering your flowers through the grocery store florist for a discount over the standard flower shop rate.

There are many other ways in which you can suss out the best discounts for your wedding. Sign up for Groupon deals (a local group coupon) and score a deal on beauty services at a local spa for you or your bridesmaids. If you are disciplined about paying off credit cards every month, use a cash-back rewards card for your wedding purchases whenever possible. And while you are at it, sign up for a free service like Upromise that will put money into an account to pay off student loans (yours or those of your future children) when you make online purchases through them. For instance, you could book your honeymoon through one of the participating companies and get cash back from your credit card and money in your college savings account. Now that is smart shopping and a great way to plan for your future after the wedding!