- Get liquor wholesale. Buy liquor from a wholesaler who will let you return unopened bottles.
2. Keep beverage cost down. Serve punch, wine only, or non-alcoholic drinks, like sparkling cider or grape juice.
3. Handle rentals yourself. Get rentals directly from a rental company rather than through your caterer. You can avoid the middle man.
4. Decide on a morning or an afternoon reception. A breakfast or brunch is less expensive than a dinner. For an afternoon reception, serve cake and hors d’oeuvres, rather than a full meal. Also, people tend to drink less earlier in the day.
5. Limit cocktail hour. To save money, if having an open bar, limit the cocktail hour, and then serve only wine after that allotted time. Consider having someone pass drinks on a tray-this can help avoid people setting drinks down, then going to the bar to order another one.
7. Avoid selecting the most expensive menu items. Items such as shrimp, lobster, crab and beef are more expensive than chicken or pasta.
8. Serve less expensive hors d’oeuvres. Avoid serving hors d’oeuvres that are labor intensive or use expensive ingredients.
9. Serve food. Have buffet food served by the caterer’s staff, rather than have guests pile food, much of which will remain uneaten, on their plates themselves. This will help also avoid the embarrassment of running out of food-the nightmare of every hostess.
10. Cut guest list. Reduce the size of your guest list, consider eliminating dates and children of friends, business associates and casual acquaintances.
11. Check hotel reception packages. Some hotels have special reception packages, which include a discount on a bridal suite when the reception is held there, or when you book a block of rooms for out-of-town guests.
12. Home Wedding. Have your reception in your or a friend’s home or garden.
13. Use disposable plates. Using paper plates, along with plastic cups and utensils, may be less expensive than renting china, glasses and silverware. Check rental prices in your area; don’t forget to allow for breakage.