There is a thread somewhere called Top 10 Tips for the Frugal Bride or something like that, which is great for ideas.
Here are my top tips; we are pretty broke too!
Just buy a white dress; it does not need to be a bridal one (a lot of bm dresses come in white and are gorgeous); believe me, with the veil and everything, you will look like a bride.
Shop around. Compare prices on everything. Do not buy anything regular price. I just bought 4 bags for the moms and b,s gifts for the price that one originally was a month ago.
Do you DIY? I would suggest doing AS MUCH DIY as possible; invites, STDs, even simple jewlery and a veil.... there are some fabulous threads on here to help you! I am going to pay only approximately $50 for my message in a bottle invites! My FMIL knows a woman who owns a U-Brew who is giving us a fabulous deal on bottles and corks; I am using regular scrapbook paper I already have, and sand from the dollar store. We are hand-delivering them at a time when we are already in the different towns; we only have to ship one! (Which is responsible for a large chunk of that $50)
That brings me too.... call on your friends (and family). Do they have any talents? I scrapbook, and my friend has an eye for design. My FMIL knows people (apparently, from our bottles!), and used to be a photographer, so she is taking our engagement shots. I have a teenage sister who will be doing my makeup. Use it all! Bonus - are they enthusiastic without talent? I bet they can pick up some skills! Use them anyway! Hahaha! Just be nice, work with them, and supply the wine Plus, you wiill be left with all this fabulous bonding time, and great memories!
My number one tip? If you can, travel off-season. We always travel off-season because of my work (I get summers off). Last time we were in Mexico in July, we paid close to half of what a week in peak season would have cost; and we stayed two weeks!
The downside? It is hot. And I mean, HOT. Also, depending where you are, it is hurricane season; keep that in mind, and get your insurance for the trip. Do not skimp on that.
Okay, my OTHER number one tip.... Prioritize. We knew we wanted GORGEOUS pictures, and lots of them, and a video.... We do not care about decor, since we are travelling to a gorgeous place and nature has already taken care of it. So we are not buying/bringing down tons of stuff. And at the AHR, I am DIYing - saving glass bottles to cover in paper, put in wholesale blooms, surround with tealights, make hanging curtains.... all very thrifty. Buying wooden packs of frames, checking out dollar stores and thrift shops....
And because of that, we can have the photos and video we want. All that little stuff really adds up! Our budget focuses: pictures, gifts for the bridal party.
Everything else comes second, and since we knew that from the get-go, it is easier.
Okay, one more tip, then I am done. Be organized! Know where every cent is going; keep track of everything, $-wise and not. Then you won't be surprised to see $20 gone here, $50 there.... even $200 before you know it. Like I said, that litle stuff seems to get forgotten about, and it all adds up so fast.
Hope all this rambling helps. Just check out the forum lots and lots for different ideas - I am saving so much just by looking at what everyone else is doing!