There are a million ways to save money while you are planning your Wedding. These are my favorite, and will potentially save you the most.
1. Have your ceremony and your reception at the same site. This saves you on site rental fees and transportation costs for family and the bridal party.
2. Limit the Bar. I am a firm believer in an open bar for Weddings. Where you save money is limiting the alcohol that you serve. Wine and beer should always be included, but think about limiting the other alcohol a signature drink, this will limit the amount you will go through and save top shelf prices.
3. Serve Cake. Most venue caters literally throw the cake in for free. Sure if you want an upgrade (trust me - skip the fondant) there might be an upcharge, but it is a good (and free) starting point.
4. Skip the Second Meal. I know that it really, really trendy to serve your guests a 'snack' towards the end of the reception - I feel like this completely unnecessary. If you insist, think about a lighter snack like a chips and salsa bar or cheese and fruit plate.
5. Rent a Car. Instead of hiring a limo, what about renting (or borrowing) a convertible to use when you make your get away from the reception?
6. Assemble and Address the Invitations. Do not hire someone else to do this. If you are considered about your handwriting, ask a bridesmaids/friend to help.
7. Let the Music Flow. Is there a local music school in town? Check with them and see if they let students play for events. Use them for both the ceremony and the cocktail hour, this will save on the hours you pay a DJ.
8. Pick one Hotel. If you have alot of out of town guests, give them one option (please make it a responsible one) depending on the # of nights in your stay, and your guests stay, you will gain lots of bonuses, like free transportation (to and from) the wedding site, and free nights for the bridal party.
9. Have a Vegetarian option. These dishes have come along way and will be a hit even with your non-vegetarian guests. It helps with the budget because these meals are typically cheaper, so offering one meat dish (chicken is typically the safest) and a veggie will help with the catering budget.
10. Research. Do your homework before you sign on the dotted line. If you are set on one vendor that doesn't offer something you want, tell them. Most Wedding vendors are flexible especially when it comes to making a sale.