My father passed away during a time when my niece was planning a wedding. She had 10K saved for the wedding she was planning.
At my father's celebration of life party, we hosted 85 people. We hired a bar tender, bought the alcohol and beverages ourselves, rented glasses and small appetizer plates and bought colored napkins at the dollar store. My sister was a member of Costco and she bought box after box of prepared appetizers and she premixed all sorts of dips herself. She bought a wheel of cheese, lots of crackers, grapes, olives, celery& carrot sticks for an awesome cheese platter. She bought pounds of shrimp for a shrimp cocktail platter and also ordered two hot dishes in large trays from a local restaurant (who provided the chaffing fuel and dishes for a $20 deposit). We hired a teenager to time and plate the food hot out of the oven to be placed outside. Her Pandora music played through the outdoor speakers. She borrowed some lawn furniture and rented a few tables with chairs. The cost? $1,500.
In the middle of our father's celebration of life party, my niece realized she loved the casual cocktail party atmosphere before her and decided to do that for her wedding. She ended up using the rest of her $10K wedding budget as a deposit on a bigger house.
In your mind, plan a great party and call it a wedding reception. Right there, you will save thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Please, please, do not do a lot of the work yourself beforehand or the day of your wedding because for one, you will be totally exhausted and secondly, if you are playing hostess, you will not spend time with your guests because you are too busy slaving over the food. THINK.