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

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.

Molly and Nick Kepler wanted their wedding reception to feel like a backyard barbecue for the 215 guests who gathered in the town park of Avoca, Neb., for their Memorial Day weekend 2011 nuptials.

So when a friend of the groom’s father offered to do the cooking, they happily bought a smoker and headed to Costco for $200 worth of pork.

“He stayed up all night smoking the meat for us so it would be ready the next day,” says Molly, 29, a registered dietician for a dialysis services provider.

The Keplers used the seasoned pork and buns they bought at a bakery in a nearby town for only $40 to create pulled-pork sandwiches — which were a huge hit.

"Even girls were coming back for two sandwiches," Molly says. "I started getting worried that not everyone would get one."

The Keplers also bought Costco-size bags of Kettle Chips, and paid a caterer $850 for a selection of side salads, including classic barbecue fare like pasta salad and coleslaw, and updated favorites like roasted red potato salad with bacon and strawberry spinach salad.

"Everybody loved it because it wasn’t the traditional sit-down dinner," Molly says.

The average couple spent $4,772 on food for their reception in 2011, according to The Wedding Report, a wedding industry research company.

Molly and Nick, 29, a corporate banker, spent less than a third as much on their wedding dinner, helping to hold the total cost of the celebration to $17,000.

Here are Nick and Molly on their wedding day ...

This is one of the serving tables they created for their outdoor wedding dinner ...

Thanks to Molly and Nick Kepler for sharing these personal photos with us.

Here are the four previous "Budget Bride" tips:

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