BOSTON (CBS) – Should you elope and throw a great party after the fact? But what if your mom has had her heart on seeing you walk down the aisle, what can you do then to cut costs?

Let’s start at the very beginning with an engagement ring. Do you need one? Average cost is over $5,000. That’s a lot of money for something that sparkles and needs to be taken off when you make meat loaf! Makes a great future anniversary gift! And if you get one make sure it is insured properly.

The most expensive item for a wedding is the venue and reception. What can you do to keep food, alcohol and the venue costs down? A wedding at home? In your parent’s garden? The beach at sunset? An afternoon wedding and serve finger foods. Serve only wine and beer or just a wine punch.

Wedding gowns; average cost $1,100. Consider a cocktail dress. There is David’s Bridal where you can get a very nice dress for under $300. Buy a used wedding gown at a yard sale, consignment shop, or Goodwill. Try Craig’s List or eBay.

Photos of the big day: $4,000. Is there an amateur photographer among your friends or family? Someone that you would entrust with the day? Then go to Snapfish and create your own wedding album.

Average cost of a wedding cake is close to $600. They are priced by the slice, some as high $10 a slice. Go for a small cake, a 9-inch size, so you can do the traditional cutting of the cake together and then serve slices from a sheet cake or fancy cupcakes. You can get a great cupcake for $1 or $2 or have your Aunt Mary make the cupcakes.

The band; average cost $3,000. Hire a DJ for a lot less. Flowers; average cost $2,000. Buy the bouquets but get a friend to do the centerpieces for the reception.