Financial stress is one of the main reasons a solid relationship breaks down. However, you and your beloved don’t have to start your married life in debt. By using common sense and some frugal tips, you can avoid spending your combined life savings, thus proving an emergency fund and nest egg to bring peace and security during the often-tumultuous first years of married life.

1. Buying the engagement ring

A thrifty way to save potentially thousands of dollars is to purchase the engagement ring at a pawnshop or on a discount website like Amazon. Whether your betrothed loves classic styles or something eclectic, you are sure to find the ideal ring at reputable pawn shops. Check back two or three times each week as they obtain more merchandise each day.

2. Planning the wedding

Couples who want a church wedding can also have the reception in the dining hall. If you are members of the church, the fees are typically much less than at a venue you rent. You don’t have to treat your guests to a sit-down buffet; cake and punch is simple yet effective for budget-minded couples.

An inexpensive wedding can also be held in a friend or loved one’s home or backyard. Vows in front of a crackling fire, in a formal living room, or at a backyard barbecue or potluck can be just as special as renting an expensive venue. You can even have themed weddings where everyone dresses in medieval costume, fashions of the ’50s or another fun decade.

Shop for the dress of your dreams at online auction sites or thrift stores. Another idea is to hire a family member or close friend who is an excellent seamstress to make a simple yet elegant wedding gown.

3. Low-cost honeymoons

These days it is more acceptable to ask wedding guests to contribute to a honeymoon registry. Guests can purchase pre-selected items, such as first-class airline flights, theater tickets or a complimentary dinner in the destination city. They can also contribute a cash amount toward the overall cost of the honeymoon. This registry is particularly beneficial to older couples combining two households with enough towels, blenders, linens and other furnishings for their new home.

For outdoor enthusiasts, camp at a nearby state park, or rent a cabin in the mountains. You could also spend the first night at a luxury hotel and then relocate to a lower-cost space with a mini-kitchen. Cook your own romantic meals together, thus saving your funds for excursions, tours and other amusements.

4. Furnishing your first home

A few months before your wedding, start shopping at thrift shops, garage sales or your favorite deal sites for inexpensive furniture. Many people advertise their used — but still good — furnishings on these sites. Some people even offer the items free of charge if you are able to pick them up.

Don’t let financial debt overwhelm you and your beloved as you begin this new journey. It is more important to invest time into your relationship than by accruing so much debt you both have to work second jobs to survive.

Here are some more tips on combining your finances after you get married.