Serve a Signature Drink
Serve a custom-made cocktail, such as punch or a classic libation, instead of providing a full bar
Limit Alcoholic Beverages
Limit alcoholic beverages to wine and beer, choices that will satisfy most of your guests. Join mailing lists at wine shops, then, when wines you want for your wedding go on sale, buy in bulk and in magnum sizes to save.
When you’re ready to buy wine, go with wholesale. You’ll pay your venue a corkage fee, but wine purchased through them can cost twice as much.
Consider a Breakfast or Brunch
Breakfasts, brunches, and afternoon teas are usually more affordable than evening parties: They’re shorter, the fare is lighter, and guests tend to consume less liquor early in the day.
Avoid Pricey Main Courses
Use expensive ingredients, such as lobster, in hors d’oeuvres rather than in a main course.
Forgo Full Dinner Service
How dinner is served affects the price. More economical is family-style, where diners help themselves from serving dishes brought to the table, or a buffet.
Make Cake the Dessert Course
Dispense with a separate dessert course, and just present the celebration cake as dessert, with coffee and tea to end the meal.
A punch-and-cake reception held in the late morning or afternoon is the least expensive type of party. To make it special, serve several cakes of different designs and flavors, or make punch in colors that match your palette.
Top Off a Simple Celebration Cake
Order a moderately priced, plainly decorated cake, and make the focal point the cake topper.
Ask for Help
Ask talented friends or relatives to help with your event. An artistic friend, for instance, might design your invites, or a baking enthusiast could make cupcakes or cookie favors.