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

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.

Limiting their guest list allowed Monica and Ted Hastings to book their Sept. 11, 2011, wedding at the Sculpture Garden at the Baltimore Museum of Art, an institution near to their home and dear to their hearts.

“Baltimore is where we fell in love, where we live,” Monica says. “We love that museum — it’s free, we go all the time. It’s just a lovely, lovely space.”

The reception was at Gertrude’s, the museum’s in-house restaurant, under a tent on the patio. Since only 45 people attended, the restaurant didn’t require a fee to reserve the space.

“Had we had a large party, we would’ve had to rent out the entire restaurant,” says Monica, 30, a nursing student.

Instead, they worked out a fixed price of $45 a person that included libations, served appetizers and an entrée guests could choose from a special brunch menu.

Choosing guests wasn’t as difficult as they thought, even though Ted, 29, a special education teacher, hails from a large family.

While compiling the list, the two realized there was a natural break between immediate family and close friends and the extended variety at about the 50-person mark.

“Those are really the most important people,” Monica says. “It felt gratuitous to go any further.”

The average cost of food and bar service for a wedding reception was $7,235 in 2011, according to The Wedding Report, a wedding industry research company. The Hastings spent a total of $4,000 on their entire wedding.

Best of all, on their wedding day, the bride and groom were able to go beyond the typical “glad to see you, thanks for coming” chatter and have actual, normal conversations with their guests.

“We had people coming in from all over the country,” says Monica. “It was really important to me to circulate and talk to everybody.”

Here are Ted and Monica in her wedding gown during the ceremony presided over by Bud Stupi ...

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

Thanks to Monica and Ted Hastings for sharing this personal photo from their wedding album.