FOOD

Decide on an overall theme-formal or casual-before you buy a dress. Location dictates many other details.
-- Tarah Bender, CEO and managing broker of The Bendora Wedding Gallery

Value quality over quantity. "It's better to invite less guests and treat them to a nice evening, than to invite everyone you know and make it mediocre."
-- Tarah Bender, CEO and managing broker of The Bendora Wedding Gallery

Serve a signature drink or wine at a cocktail hour, instead of having an open bar. You can trim alcohol costs without sacrificing elegance.
-- Jo Panarello, Owner of Panarello Consulting

Vary your menu. Avoid duplicating items served at your rehearsal dinner.
-- Kamal Boulos, Owner of The Refectory Restaurant & Bistro



CAKE

Serve the cake as an immediate dessert. If you wait too long, many guests will leave before enjoying it.
-- Jan Kish, Owner of La Petite Fleur

Sample the cake. Taste is just as important as presentation.
-- Tarah Bender, CEO and managing broker of The Bendora Wedding Gallery

Use the cake as the reception centerpiece. "If you're buying an edible artform, you don't want it to be hidden in a corner."
-- Jan Kish, Owner of La Petite Fleur

Want something nontraditional? Consider a small cake with tiers of cupcakes.
-- Jan Kish, Maker of this beauty