Find a wholesaler that will let you return unopened bottles for a cash refund.
Cut the rental middleman.
Unless your caterer gives you a good “door” price, negotiate furniture and silverware rentals on your own to get the best deal.
Spring for a server.
You may think you’re saving money by offering a buffet, but when Uncle Jack piles on too much pork loin, that food could go to waste. Ask your caterer to provide buffet servers, to keep those serving sizes sensible.
Trim down the guest list.
Invite only those people who really mean something to you. Don’t invite your whole office just to win some points at the water cooler.
Have it at home.
Instead of an expensive banquet hall, find a friend or a relative with a great back yard or access to a community center.
Plan a picnic.
Throw a casual reception under a tent, with food served on disposable plates. Your guests will love the change of place and you won’t break the bank on china rentals.
Spend more on the meal.
Keep your guests from filling up on expensive hors d’oeuvres. Provide fun, inexpensive finger foods instead.
Rise and shine.
Caterers can offer you solid savings on less-in-demand morning and early afternoon receptions.
Find your own apprentices.
Scout your local colleges for ambitious photography students who can shoot your reception for the cost of materials and a meal. Find a disc jockey that uses iPods instead of crates and turntables. You’ll save the money you would have spent on their assistant.
Put your guests to work.
Leave inexpensive, disposable cameras throughout the reception area. Your guests can document your special day from their own points of view.