As most people know, there’s more to a wedding than the actual ceremony. Wedding receptions, which often happen after the ceremony, are filled with drinks, music, and more. But with any event, none of it comes for free. Planning a wedding reception isn’t easy or cheap, and the more you offer to your guests, the more expensive it’s going to be. In order to avoid taking out a loan to fund your wedding (or not being able to afford it at all) after you plan and book everything, make sure to keep these tips in mind.

An essential to a great wedding reception is some sort of entertainment. Most people choose to book a DJ to play music, but DJs can be incredibly expensive.  Luckily, with Spotify, it’s pretty easy to create your own playlist. By creating your own Spotify playlist, you can choose exactly what songs you want to play. Having a friend control the playlist helps as well — you wouldn’t want T-Pain to be accidentally queued instead of your father-daughter dance song (or, who knows, maybe you would). The only downside to DJing your own reception is that you may have to rent sound equipment to play everything properly if the venue you reserve doesn’t already have that equipment available. As long as there’s music, people are most likely going to enjoy themselves.

If there’s music at a reception, there’s probably going to drinking as well. Having an open bar at your reception can be really costly. One option to skip this expense is to provide a cash bar for your guests. However, cash bars are known to be tacky to some wedding-goers.  If you do end up having an open bar but don’t want to spend big bucks on getting everyone drunk, consider providing only lower shelf alcohol. You can even stick to beer, cider, wine or champagne, as those options are likely to please the majority of your guests.

To avoid booking an alcohol vendor altogether, you can always provide your own alcohol. Just make sure you’re following any alcohol rules put in place by the venue your reception is being held at. You may also need to hire someone who is legally able to serve alcohol, so before you supply your own alcohol, assure that you’re in line with any laws or rules. Many venues won’t allow you to serve any alcohol if you aren’t in accordance with the rules.

You can also find cheap alternatives to other parts of the reception, like offering food and booking a venue. But while you can choose the least expensive options, don’t be surprised when the costs start to add up over time. Keep an eye on how much you’re planning on spending, and don’t forget to add space for any unexpected costs or emergencies. Even the cheapest weddings can cost a few thousand dollars. Despite that, you can still throw a great reception for your guests on a budget, and you’ll enjoy spending time with the people you love.

Finally, congratulations on your marriage!