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Easy ways to trim costs on your wedding reception

Weddings can be expensive, and the reception can account for a substantial percentage of a couple's expenses. Unlike the days of yesteryear when the bride's parents were responsible for financing the wedding, nowadays many couples pay for their own weddings, and some find themselves cash-strapped and looking for ways to save.

Trimming reception costs is one of the best ways couples can save money, and there are many ways to do just that and still ensure guests have a great time into the night.

* Limit the guest list. Receptions are more expensive the more guests a couple invites, so limiting the guest list is perhaps the best way to avoid breaking the bank to pay for the reception. Caterers and banquet halls typically charge per-person, so trimming the guest list by as few as 20 people can lead to substantial savings. Before sending out your save-the-date cards, peruse the guest list to determine if any guests can be removed. It might be nice to invite professional acquaintances, but if they aren't people you know socially then they aren't likely to be offended if they're not invited to the wedding.

* Choose a buffet instead of a sit-down meal. Choosing a buffet-style reception is another way to save money on the reception. Sit-down meals in which guests are brought their own plates can be significantly more expensive than buffet style. In addition, a buffet might have more options for guests, which benefits larger receptions with guests of various palates.

* Consider a package deal. Couples open to all-inclusive package deals, which typically include the cost of the wedding, reception and possibly even the honeymoon, can save money that way as well. These are most common for destination weddings, but couples might be able to find a package deal in their hometowns as well.

* Host the reception at a private residence. Another way to reduce reception costs is to avoid banquet halls entirely and host the reception at a private residence, whether it's your own home or that of a parent or other relative. This option will save you the cost of renting the banquet hall, but it might only be doable for couples having a smaller, more intimate wedding with relatively few guests.

* Hire a DJ instead of a band. Music presents another opportunity for cost-conscious couples to trim some of their reception costs. Some couples insist on live music, while others are fine hiring a DJ. If you're among the latter, go with the DJ, as disc jockeys tends to be far less expensive than live bands. If you simply must go with a live band, look for a local band who might be more willing to give a hometown discount.

Cost-conscious couples about to tie the knot can save substantial amounts of money by making a few adjustments with regard to their wedding reception.