Today’s hottest wedding trend — the micro wedding — allows you to throw a tasteful, totally on-trend affair with a pared-down guest list that’ll keep your wedding right on budget.

If you’ve been planning your wedding for more than a day, you already know that the budget gets out of hand pretty fast. The Knot’s most recent annual wedding survey says couples are spending an average of $33,900 on their special day, and WeddingWire puts that number at $38,700. Yikes!

In the past, if you didn’t want to shell out a house down payment on your wedding, your options were slim: you’d either head over to the courthouse to tie the knot, elope, or plan a mediocre traditional wedding with tasteless chicken and your dad’s best friend as the DJ.

Well, not anymore. So what is a micro wedding? To put it simply, it’s a small wedding. Though a micro wedding can be a destination wedding, they’re not exactly the same thing. Most couples invite a small number of guests to a destination wedding, but that’s mostly because they only expect close relatives and friends will spend significant money to travel for their wedding. A micro wedding keeps the guest list intentionally small, no matter where the wedding is located.

Many couples who decide to have a micro wedding try to keep the guest list at 25 people or less, often opting for as few as a dozen guests. You’re probably wondering how you could possibly trim your guest list by that much, but think about it — do your accountant and your second-grade teacher really need to witness your ceremony? It’s difficult to trim your wedding guest list, but possible if you’re honest with family and friends from the start. Explain that you’ve both decided to have an intimate wedding, give the reasons why, and acknowledge potential hurt feelings with compassion and understanding.

Couple getting married on a micro wedding

How to plan a wedding on a budget: Saving with a micro wedding

So you’ve decided a micro wedding is the way to go. How can having this type of wedding save you money? The options are pretty much endless. Whether you decide to have your dream wedding with an extremely small guest list, or a tasteful but intimate affair with a slightly larger group of your closest friends and family members, here are a few ways to save money with a micro wedding:

Pare down florals

The Knot estimates that average couples spend an average of $2,411 on flowers and decor alone. When you opt for a micro wedding, you might only have one or two tables for your guests instead of 10 to 15. That’s far fewer table arrangements to pay for! Instead, choose one or two highly impactful arrangements for a fraction of the price. Bonus: Big arrangements double as photo backdrops for you and your guests.

Skip pricey extras

Two hundred matchbooks with your names and wedding dates? A several-hundred-dollar bill just for fancy linen rental? No thanks! Most micro weddings are small enough that the reception can be held in a nice restaurant, saving you bundles over traditional wedding venues with a rented reception hall, overpriced caterer, and hired DJ. A spacious backyard can be a sweet and comfortable setting as well, and the small space means you can completely transform it for far less money.

Don’t serve a traditional wedding cake

A multi-tiered confection tower would certainly look a bit out of place when served to a group of just twelve people, right? So skip the textbook wedding cake and opt for something different. Serve your favorite dessert, a sampler of pies or cheesecakes, or you could simply allow each guest to choose their own dessert if you’ll be at a restaurant.

Ditch the dancing

This one only works if you’re ambivalent about the dancing part of the reception. But there’s no doubt that cutting this part out will save you some serious dough! You can still have music and even a first dance without having a traditional dance floor.

The bottom line on micro weddings

As you can see, having a tiny wedding is a great way to celebrate with a small group of people you truly care about. Not only that, you can have all the elements of your dream wedding on a smaller scale, which brings the cost down considerably. And we call that a true win-win situation. So if you’re looking for ways to save money but still have a stunning wedding, a micro party may just be the solution you’ve been looking for.