I've been to hundreds of weddings, but in all my years I've never witnessed anything like what I saw at my cousin's wedding over Labor Day weekend.

Nobody hates "wasting" money on a wedding more than I do. I'll often advise my brides to skip a champagne toast. No need to buy everyone a glass of champagne, when half of the guests don't like it and they can just as easily toast with whatever they have in hand.

I'll often tell them not to go crazy on a big, huge wedding cake that costs hundreds of dollars. I suggest that they buy a small cake to cut and have a big, supermarket sheet cake for the staff to cut in the kitchen.

"No one eats wedding cake," I'll say, "so don't waste your money."

There's a HUGE difference, however, between saving money on things that won't be noticed (like party favors), and saving money on high-profile items for your wedding that will greatly affect the level of enjoyment for your guests.

I've never seen this put on display more than this past weekend at my cousin's wedding in Southern New Hampshire. For this particular wedding, thankfully, I was simply a guest rather than the DJ. My cousin and his wife paid for their wedding on their own, and they were under some budget constraints.

One thing they cut back on was their catering bill. Instead of having the caterers stick around to serve dinner to their guests, the couple decided to save money and have the guests serve themselves in the buffet line.

The caterer dropped off the platters of food and immediately left the reception. The DJ called up the tables in order to have them go up to the buffet and get their food. One massive problem: by the time table no. 9 left the buffet line, the food was just about gone, leaving tables 10, 11, 12 and 13 with nothing.

Here's what happened: Some of the guests overindulged, taking 3-4 skewers of steak tips at a time, with huge scoops of mashed potatoes. While the caterer might have served one or two skewers at a time, many guests treated the buffet line like it was Saturday night at Old Country Buffet. The bride handled the situation as best as she could, but ended up having about a dozen pizzas delivered to the reception.

At the end of the night, she pulled me aside and encouraged me to share her story with our audience, so that the same avoidable mistake wouldn't be made by another couple in the future.

There are some things you can skimp on for a wedding, and some that you just can't.  The key is knowing which is which.

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