Parents of the bride or groom sometimes assume that paying for buffet-style wedding refreshments one night might leave them eating peanut butter and jelly for the next month. While it's true that savory foods tend to cost more than sweets, saving money on wedding refreshments doesn't necessarily mean you have to trade in the shrimp cocktails for candy. Here are four basic steps that can help reduce your stress as well as the size of your bill.

1. Don't set refreshments out until the party has officially begun

Often, the bride and groom's families are the first ones at the reception site long before the party is scheduled to begin. If you fail to resist the urge to serve your delicious finger sandwiches and petit fours to the families a half hour before the other guests arrive, plan to watch the same familiar faces go back for seconds and thirds before you throw rice to the newlyweds. Rescue your budget by waiting to set out refreshments at the last minute.

2. Display the most expensive food at the end of the buffet table

Let your guests fill their plates with breads, cookies, or doughnuts before they reach for the fresh fruit, sushi, or specialty cheeses. Provide plates on the opposite side of your high-end delectables to ensure the proper streamline from less-expensive to very expensive food.

3. Pay attention to serving utensils

Wide, deep spoons encourage your guests to plunge into the pineapple and blueberry bowl. Instead you should buy the small, plastic tongs or shallow spoons available at most dollar stores. These little beauties are limited to the amount of food they can hold, which keeps over-indulgence at bay.  

4. Provide lollipops or all-day suckers to entertain the children's mouths

There's no need to glare as you watch the young kids run back and forth for cookie after cookie. One little basket full of hard candy will keep their taste buds happy for a long time, and spare you the anxiety of a food shortage before the second hour.

This is a guest post by Kellice from Logan, Utah.

4 Budget-Friendly Wedding Buffet Secrets