Budget Bride Tip for June 23: Let guests pour their own drinks

Bride and groom with pink piggy bank

We’re celebrating the month of June with a daily tip from savvy brides who saved big bucks on the wedding of their dreams.

Marisa McClellan and Scott McNulty saved a bundle on wedding costs when the bride decided to make the wedding cakes for their September 29, 2009, wedding.

But they saved even more by making the bar a DIY affair.

"Beer and wine was serve yourself," said Marisa, 33, a food writer and author of Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round.

A professionally staffed open bar is a big-ticket item at any wedding reception. Couples spent an average of $2,463 serving drinks last year, according to The Wedding Report, a wedding industry research company.

In fact, The Wedding Report also showed that more couples were switching to cash bars, buying their own spirits for the reception or making it BYOB.

It was one of many decisions Marisa and Scott made to keep their wedding within a $3,000 budget.

Marisa's wedding gown was handmade, and they held the ceremony and reception in the backyard of her cousin's Plymouth Meeting, Pa., home.

Marisa and Scott, 35, an IT project leader and author of more than a dozen technical guidebooks, rented a tent and tables and made centerpieces out of herbs planted in jars.

In Marisa’s eyes, the community atmosphere made for a wonderful event.

"Our wedding was seriously the most fun I've had in my adult life," she says. "It was one of those events where people who didn't know each other would start talking and then realize they'd heard about each other from either Scott or me and then become instant friends on the spot.

"It was great, and I really hope I get to have another party like that someday."

Here are Marisa and Scott during the ceremony performed by the Rev. Jean Erb ...

These are some of the centerpieces they made for the reception ...

Here are the other "Budget Bride" tips we've published so far:

Budget Bride Tip for June 1: Throw a potluck dinner

Budget Bride Tip for June 2: Say 'yes' to an affordable dress

Budget Bride Tip for June 3: Bake your own wedding cake

Budget Bride Tip for June 4: Put dad to work

Budget Bride Tip for June 5: Turn your reception into a barbecue

Budget Bride Tip for June 6: Take the ceremony to the beach

Budget Bride Tip for June 7: Cupcakes make tasty wedding favors

Budget Bride Tip for June 8: Hold down the guest list

Budget Bride Tip for June 9: Feed your guests wedding cake from Costco

Budget Bride Tip for June 10: Decorate your reception with Craigslist

Budget Bride Tip for June 11: Buy dishes for the wedding dinner

Budget Bride Tip for June 12: Go with a lunch instead of a wedding dinner

Budget Bride Tip for June 13: Buy your wedding veil online

Budget Bride Tip for June 14: Rent a summer camp for your reception

Budget Bride Tip for June 15: Hire a friend to make your wedding gown

Budget Bride Tip for June 16: Tie the knot on a Sunday

Budget Bride Tip for June 17: Take a pass on gift bags

Budget Bride Tip for June 18: Ask guests to RSVP online

Budget Bride Tip for June 19: Hire a one-man band to provide the music

Budget Bride Tip for June 20: Build, stock and staff your open bar

Budget Bride Tip for June 21: Decorate with locally grown flowers

Budget Bride Tip for June 22: Skip the champagne toast

Thanks to Marisa and Scott for sharing their personal wedding photos with us. They were taken by photographer Albert Yee.