I suppose the thing that they don't tell you when you're planning your dream wedding (usually before you have met the man of your dreams) is how much your dream wedding is going to cost. I have a bit of a different story...ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a wedding planner. Not a bride, (although I wouldn't have complained) but the person who plans the bride's special day. I collected bridal magazines from the age of 8 and cut and pasted scrapbooks of what I would do for other people's lives.
I guess in some way, my tiny little kid brain realized that a dream wedding is best planned when using other people's money, because now that we're attempting to plan our own wedding, things have gotten a lot tighter.
I guess you have to choose the most important aspects of a wedding to you--the ones you want to make most memorable, and go ahead and live out your dream. Then, cut corners off the edges of other, less important areas. My focus is on printed materials. I am a graphic design nut, and have pretty much the greatest one there is on my side.
Christian and I had a portrait of ourselves drawn and painted by Ashley of Ashley G and Drew, which debuted on our Save the Dates.. She is an absolute delight to work with and captured our likenesses, creating a beautiful, quirky logo of our big day. PLUS, we get to hang the portrait (and preliminary pencil sketches) in our new home together.
As for other aspects of your dream wedding, pick and choose from the ideas below to help cut costs so that your most important ideas can come to fruition:
Affordable DIY Centerpieces from Martha Stewart
A list of tips from Loyalty Wedding
Young House Love's Backyard Budget Wedding (this reminds me of the barbecue wedding Steve Martin dreamed up in Father of the Bride, which ironically, I liked better than the actual one).
A very sweet video of a DIY wedding from 100 Layer Cake.
Got any more? Let me know!