Our small budget back yard wedding
Is there a wedding in your future? If so, congratulations! Did you know the average cost of a wedding in the US is $26,645? What?! Yes, weddings can be very expensive, but they don’t have to be. My wedding was well under $1,000. That’s a big jump from $26,000! And cutting cost does not by any means require you to have to cut things out of your wish list! Our wedding day was perfect in every way!
My husband and I just got married last year in May. We had been engaged almost a year exactly and had talked a lot about what kind of wedding we wanted over the years. My husband wanted a small wedding and I wanted a pretty decent sized one. We met in the middle. We actually got married in front of our immediate family only, then invited friends and family to our reception. It was perfect! I still wanted to wear the pretty white dress and have and beautiful wedding cake and all the things a girl dreams of. One thing we did agree on though was not spending a fortune on one night. If you’re thinking the same thing then here are some of the ways we cut cost and got our perfect backyard wedding on a budget!
- My dress was $30! Yes you read that right $30! And it was beautiful and I was the only person that has worn it. I went to a bunch of formal wear shops and tried on tons of dresses. I did love some of them. But, I never liked the price tag. I just couldn’t see spending that much money on a dress that would be worn one night in my backyard. I ended up going in ross for a totally different reason and noticed they had their prom dresses in stock. I’m not sure if white was a trend this year or what but they had TONS of white dresses! I actually bought two because, you know, I’m super indecisive. Later I decided which one to wear and took the other back. I definitely made the right choice and LOVE my dress! My husbands attire was simply a white button down, khaki pants, suspenders and a purple tie. All of his came from Burlington so we spent about the same amount of his wedding wear as we did mine. We didn’t have to rent anything so he was able to wear his clothes again when he needs or wants to. Discount stores can have some great dresses for your bridesmaids or groomsmen as well! Shop around and find a price you’re comfortable with without compromising what you want.
- Our venue was FREE! We looked a quite a few places online and I called around to many as well. No where seemed more perfect than our own home. We have a view on the mountains and all the comforts of our own home. I highly encourage backyard weddings if you’re trying to cut cost! If your own doesn’t work you can always ask a friend or neighbor. I don’t feel like we missed out on anything by being at home and not some fancy venue. Our home has one more special memory added to it now.
- My dad was our caterer! We wanted to do a backyard BBQ type thing for our reception and my dad offered to cook. We only had 50 people or so. Everything was prepared earlier in the week and all he had to do the day of the wedding was warm it on up. I feel like everyone has that one person they know what can fix a mean meal for a crowd and there’s no shame in asking if they mind catering for you. If they say yes, buying food from your grocery store for them to cook is a heck of a lot cheaper than what any catering company will charge you for it.
- I borrowed decorations. My sister got married last year and she had a very simple burlap and white table set. Her only flowers were baby’s breath. I didn’t want my wedding to look like hers but there were some things I could use. My mom had made some awesome table runners and they had purchased a lot of mason jars I borrowed. I was able to borrow all my white table cloths from a friend of my moms as well, which saved me on a rental fee for them. Ask around and see if anyone you know has anything you can borrow to cut your cost. Craigslist and Facebook marketplace may offer some used wedding decorations to buy cheaper than new as well.
- I had so many DIY projects. I did everything from my flower arrangements to making cloth napkins. Every sign and tablescape was put together by yours truly. It was a little hectic I’ll admit(especially with a new baby) but every bit worth it! I designed and printed my own signs for the gift table and guest book, then spray painted goodwill frames to put them in. We purchased artificial flowers cheaper than we could have bought real ones and I put all the arrangements together myself. Now I have them to keep forever. Doing things yourself insures that you will get exactly what you want and saves tons of money! So, go search pinterest or google for some inspiration and do it yourself! Make sure you check out my awesome DIY cornhole boards I made for the reception as well!
- My mom made my cake. My mom loves to bake and has made countless birthday cakes but is no professional baker. I wanted a naked cake, nothing complicated or extravagant. She nailed it! She did do a practice run a few weeks before just to make sure we were on the right track. I also made the flower pieces to put in it to match my color scheme. We made vanilla cupcakes for those who didn’t want chocolate cake as well. Having a friend or family member that can make your cake or cupcakes for you can save you a ton!
Over all the only 3 big cost we could not get rid of without sacrificing what we wanted were a DJ, a photographer, and table/chair rentals. We shopped around for all of these things and found really reasonable prices.
Our table/chair rentals were about $150 and we had them for 2 days so no rush to clean up super quick that night. This also included delivery and pick up so we didn’t have to worry about that either.
My mom found the DJ on craigslist and since he did it as a side job he had really reasonable rates. We paid $200 for 4 hours and he played every song we requested. It was great!
The photographer was the stressful part. A friend of ours had said she would do it for us and then bailed 2 weeks before the wedding. Finding a decent one in such a short time was super challenging but my mom came through for me once again. The girl we ended up with was so great we even called her back for family pictures a few months later! She only charged $200 and stayed with us for about 5 hours and did bridal pictures, wedding party(family) and even got a few of our first dances(that we did not ask for)!
It was perfect!
Our day ended up being exactly what we wanted and more! Amazing dress, free venue, delicious food, beautiful decorations, and a perfect cake! Our wedding day was so much more intimate and meaningful because we did so much of it ourselves. It’s likely I would have felt really guilty about spending a ton of money for one day. If you want to cut wedding cost it is totally possible! Hopefully my experience can inspire you to reevaluate what you want to spend! Let me know what tips you have as well and how your big day turned out! I’d love to know! If you want more details about my big day feel free to drop a question in the comments below!