Instead of having beef, serve chicken. Also, if you serve simpler vegetables such as broccoli instead of asparagus, this will cut down your cost.
Don't have so many courses of food. You really don't need both soup and salad!
Have a breakfast or brunch instead of a big, elaborate dinner. You'll save on the cost of food and labor. Also, most people will drink less liquor at this time of day so you will save on the cost of alcohol.
Instead of buying hors d'oeuvres by the platter, buy them by the piece.
Instead of having hors d'oeuvres served by a waitstaff, have stationary appetizers (cheese and crackers, olives, cruditïe.You'll save on the cost of having to hire people to serve the hors d'oeuvres.
Limit open bar service to one hour of cocktails in order to save on liquor. Serve wine or champagne with dinner.
If you're getting married during a major holiday season, check with the reception site to see what decorations they may already have in place.
If you're having your reception at a hotel, ask them about complimentary bridal suites and discounted room rates for your guests.
Be sure to check the "escalation clause" when booking in advance. Most places will reserve the right to raise their quoted price. Try to negotiate a final price with them before booking!