"I always recommend a wedding planner," said [Daniel Briones]. "It costs up front, but it's amazing how much money you can save by going with a professional. You won't spend money unnecessarily, and planners offer a network of vendors that can guarantee the best price." If you're going it alone, he recommends buying a copy of The Wedding Book (Workman), by Mindy Weiss: "It's one of the most thorough I've ever seen, and I've looked at many."Be sure that the corners you cut deserve cutting. Sure, you can save on the price of a band or DJ by using your own iPod music mix- but be prepared or have a techie designated in case of technical difficulties. And sure, you can ask a friend to shoot your photos, or depend on guests to share their pictures after the fact- but that doesn't guarantee quality. "Personally, I don't think photography is the place to skimp," said [Leah Ingram]. "For a lot of couples, the images they will have forever are what's important. And as with many things in life, you get what you pay for. Why take a risk with your wedding memories? That's not to say you can't try to get the best deal, but I wouldn't go super cheap."Briones offers a final piece of advice: "Put your cards on the table. If I don't know what your cards look like, I can't get you to that place." And one thing needs to be crystal clear: you can't ask for more and pay less just because of the economy. "Our costs haven't changed," he said. "In most cases they've gone up. So while we want to work within your budget, be prepared to pay for what you're getting."