My sister's reception was more of a sit-down affair, but still did not cost us a fortune. Knowing the reception would take place in October, we thought that it was taking place close enough to the holidays to have a Thanksgiving-style dinner. Most of our relatives don't have the opportunity to see one another during the holidays anyway, and we knew this would be a great opportunity to get everyone together and spend some time visiting and eating a wonderful meal.

My husband barbecued a turkey, my mom baked a ham, and we again asked close friends and family members to bring their favorite holiday salads and side dishes. The dinner was a huge success. A family friend made the wedding cake and let us borrow her punch bowl. The wedding cake included the cake top that had adorned our own parents' wedding cake more than 30 years ago. This was a surprise for my sister, as was the crystal cake plate that had been a wedding gift to our parents from a great grandmother.

All of our family's wedding receptions have been huge successes, and while requiring a lot of effort on the part of many friends and family members, have never cost any one of us more than $100 or so. When planning your next wedding reception, don't focus on the lavishness of the event, focus on creating a memorable day that will live on in your family's memories for years to come.