OK, these aren't all my tips; most of them are from this month's issue of Bride magazine. They broke it down into three sections - Save up to $250, $500, and $1,000. I'm not going to list them all out but some some that I thought would really help and interesting ones.
Save up to $250
1. Invitations - list the ceremony and reception details on a single invitation instead of separate cards. Also, make your reply card into post cards which will save on printing as well as postage.
2. Having a relative or friend get ordained to serve as an officiant. This sounds like a decent idea if you're not getting married in a church. If you do this, make sure s/he is a good public speaker because you don't want someone to freeze up or start stuttering.
3. Wedding Favors - They suggested making custom candy favors or making a donation to charity in lieu. I'm a bit luke warm on these ideas because who's got time to make custom candy favors and the gift to charity is nice but not that memorable. Besides, I can't help but think of that Seinfeld episode where George makes a donation to The Human Fund.
My wife wanted to do the labeled champagne bottle but I got her to let me give away a CD with some chosen music as well as concert t-shirts with our names done like ACDC - so it's KN/HN with the dates of when we met, got engaged, etc on the back like a concert tour. The t-shirts made it pricey but the CDs were less than a hundred bucks; you just have to choose your music, burn them, and even label them.
Save up to $500
1. Select a venue that's already decorated. They listed places like a garden, museum, acquarium, and the like. I think they missed the mark on this because it can be pretty expensive as well as the additional cost of insurance and you still have to get all the tables, chairs, etc. Hotels make more sense but can be pricey as well.
If you're Asian, what you usually end up doing is having your reception at a Chinese restaurant. You get the banquet room with no site charge or anything. You just pay for the dinner itself which many offer a number of choices. They also let you supply your own soft drinks, wine, etc so you can avoid the restaurant mark-up. I'm not necessarily suggesting this but it's an option.
2. Skip the unnecessary food and drinks. You can certainly skip the champagne toast if you want and just have everyone toast with what they've got. Even if you wanted to have the toast, choose the cheapest champagne the restaurant offers because most people will only take a sip from it and frankly, few people know enough about wines and champagne/sparkling wines to matter. Another option is to go with either cava or proseco. Cava is sparkling wine from Spain and proseco is sparkling wine from Italy. I'll catch flack from my wine friends but they're basically the same thing, just from other countries and much cheaper.
Skip the dessert bar. It's nice but no one will notice if there isn't one. By the end of the meal, they'll be happy to have a slice of the wedding cake. And you can easily skip the groom's cake - most people don't even know a groom's cake exists.
3. Go simple on the centerpiece. There isn't a real need to go nuts on the centerpiece cause it's usually more of a distraction. Too big and people can't see to the other side of the table.
Save up to $1000
1. Choosing the right time. Choose the off-season (Nov and Jan-Mar) and you can save a significant amount of the venue. You can also choose Fridays or Sundays instead of the more popular and expensive Saturday nights.
2. Keep the wedding small. I know this is hard but you don't need to invite everyone at work or your second cousin.
3. Skip the DJ. With an iPod or a laptop and a speaker system, you can easily have music going all night long and with music you've chosen. If you need an MC, then ask a family member or close friend to take on those duties. Our band and MC ran us something like $1,500 or $1,800.
4. Drinks. First, if you can, find a BYOB venue where you can buy your own alcohol instead of the restaurant's huge mark-up. Second, skip the full bar and just go with a white wine and a red wine. It's cheaper and will limit your liability of drunk guests.
5. Skip the professional videographer. It's not as important as you think it is.
Hope some of these tips are helpful in relieving the stress of that day!