I know I've probably mentioned this before, but when you're trying to get venue, food, and beverages settled for your party (whether it's a wedding, birthday, or other celebration) the people you know are going to be key to your ability to afford the things you really want!
We got a good deal on our rehearsal dinner because I sweet talked my old boss in to giving us a portion of it as a wedding present, my friend Iggy got a good deal on the wine for her sister's wedding (which was her wedding gift to the couple) by spending a lot of time with the employees of the liquor store and being patient and gracious, and another friend got a deal on a baby shower because her brother-in-law rents office space out of a building with a rockin' community room.
Whether you're the closest friend ever with someone or not doesn't matter-- people love to help other people out, and especially in this economy the word of mouth recommendations of customers is worth its weight in gold. When you go to a liquor store for anything, get to know the employees and get business cards if they're available-- when you go back, ask for them by name. Same at restaurants and venues if you attend a party somewhere else. Ask your friends if they have ideas about venues since they have a vested interest in your happiness; if they have an in somewhere they'll be happy to help you out!
Once you've completed your event, be sure to send a thank you card or stop by and thank the individual in person. If appropriate, get them a little gift or make them something small-- nothing extravagant, just a little trinket to say thank you for helping out! Just like you get your wedding party small gifts, the same applies for anyone who helps you out with your event. You never know when you'll need their help again, or if you can return the favor!
(If you can finish the quote from the title, you get a treat!)