Due to recent events, countless number of couples had to cancel or postpone their wedding. Because of this, many people are choosing to have a small, low-key backyard wedding at home instead of having one at a traditional venue. One of the best parts about doing this is that you can save a lot of money! With so many people tightening their belts this year, it’s more important than ever to learn how to save money on throwing a DIY wedding. Here are 75 tips on how to have a cheap backyard wedding.
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75. Make a Budget, and Plan Out Everything
This tip might seem obvious to some of you, but you need to make a budget for the wedding if you want to keep it cheap. There are several checklists online you can find for free that will give you the master list of what’s needed for the ceremony and reception. Try to pick the final number of what you want to spend on the day, and stick to it. You don’t want to go in debt over your wedding and look back with regret.
74. Work on the Guest List With Your Partner
When planning their guest list, some people have both an “A list” and “B list”…As in, they have people who they are making their priority, and a list of backups in case the first group can’t make it. Don’t make a “B-list”. Period. In the times of Covid, you need to keep your wedding small, anyway. And would you be happy to know that you were a B-lister? Nobody likes to be second-best. Depending on the size of your property, it’s likely that you can only have 25 people or less at the wedding, which might narrow it down to your immediate family.
73. It’s Better to Over-Budget For Food Than Underestimate
When people cater their own wedding, it’s difficult to figure out how much they need to buy, because they’re not trained caterers. Apparently, food is one of the places where people accidentally overspend. However, in my opinion, it’s better to have leftover food for your stockpile than to leave guests hungry. Food is essential to survival, so it’s never a waste of money. You can always put this food in the fridge and eat leftovers for the rest of the week, or allow your family and friends to take food home for you. Always assume 100% of your guests are coming, and buy enough for them.
72. Invest the Venue Money Into a Backyard Makeover
The average wedding in the United States costs $30,000. For some of you, that sounds like an unrealistically high number. But many people who had to cancel their venue lost the deposit, but still kept the majority of the ceremony cost. If you were saving up for your wedding day, or your parents were planning to give you money towards the ceremony, you may want to use that money to give your backyard a makeover instead. If you’re having a backyard wedding, it would only make sense to make it look a nice as possible. Unlike decorations or backyard wedding rentals, this makeover will last for years, and it’s a much better investment in your property.
71. Notify Your Neighbors (And Consider Inviting Them)
If you plan to throw a backyard wedding, it would be absolutely necessary to notify your neighbors. For one thing, you don’t want the police to show up to your house to tell you that you’re in violation of Covid rules. You want to assure your neighbors that you’re practicing protocols to a T. It would also be polite to invite your next-door neighbors. But if you need to keep the guest list small, the health crisis is a valid excuse not to invite your neighbors to join the ceremony. However, you can always offer them to partake in leftover food and drinks.
70. Treat The Wedding as the Best Option, Not The Backup
Countless numbers of brides were disappointed by the fact that they needed to cancel or postpone their wedding in 2020 or 2021. However, even if a backyard wedding isn’t your dream wedding, you should still try to treat it like it is. Remind yourself how much less stressful 25 to 50 guests would be versus 500. Try to focus on the fact that the guest list is filled with people who really matter in your life.
69. Get the Necessary Permits
Before you have a backyard wedding, make sure you contact your local municipal building to find out if you need a permit. Every town or county is going to be different than the other. You might have a friend in the town next door who was able to have their backyard wedding without an issue, but your town might have far stricter rules. The last thing you would want is to get in trouble for your ceremony. So always do your due diligence before throwing an event at your house.
68. Be Sure You’re Following Health Guidelines
Unfortunately, backyard weddings have been the cause of several outbreaks of covid-19. So if you’re going to have a wedding at your own home, make sure that you’re following all of the guidelines for events laid out by the CDC.
67. Make Signs To Let Guests Know About Covid Rules
Remember that this is your wedding. Just like a business, you can set strict rules to family and friends of what they need to do in order to be invited. You may want to ask them to give proof of a negative test, or at least wear a mask when they arrive. Offer your guests masks, hand sanitizer, wipes, and reminders to obey rules of social distancing.
66. Find a Friend to Officiate
Sometimes, it can cost hundreds of dollars to pay someone to officiate a wedding. However, it’s very cheap to get the license to become an officiate. Find someone who you know is a great public speaker, and ask if they would do the honor to officiate your wedding. This could be done in place of giving you a wedding gift.
65. Purchase Homeowner’s or Event Insurance
If you don’t already have homeowner’s insurance, throwing a backyard wedding is more than enough reason to sign up for it right away. You never know what kind of accident can happen. Event insurance is also a good idea, no matter where you have the wedding. If you’re having a small wedding, it’s likely to cost under $100. This might seem like an unnecessary expense, but the truth is that you never know what may happen. You don’t want to get sued, and end up spending thousands of dollars later.
64. Keep the Ceremony Short
The rule of thumb about weddings is that the smaller the guest list, the shorter the ceremony. If your guests are feeling cramped in a backyard setting, they want to get out of the ceremony as soon as possible so they can party at the reception. A shorter ceremony with quick “I do’s” also may end up helping keep the cost down, because there isn’t a need for anything fancy.
63. You Can Never Go Wrong With Fairy Lights
At this point, you’ve probably seen fairy lights in every single backyard wedding Pinterest photos. But it’s because this is one of the most affordable ways to transform your backyard space into a magical, romantic setting. These come in all shapes and sizes. Be sure to buy the color wire that matches the background of the object you’re planning to hang the lights on, so that it blends in better.
62. Use Every Room That You Can
When you’re throwing a wedding, you need all the space you can get. It won’t be possible to designate just one or two rooms to the ceremony. You’ll need a changing room for the bridesmaids as well as a place for them to do their beauty routine and makeup. You also need a place to prepare the food. There may even need to be a place for parents with children to take refuge if kids need a nap or feeding time.
61. Keep Guests Comfortable
No matter what time of year you’re having a wedding, there is going to be a situation where your guests might feel uncomfortable. Maybe they could get cold at night, or too hot in the summer heat. Consider providing outdoor heat lamps or blankets if it gets cold at night. Or give paper fans or dollar store battery powered fans in the summertime, with plenty of opportunities for cold drinks and shade.
60. Yes, You Can Hire Your Own Staff For a Backyard Wedding
When most people think about a backyard wedding, they imagine absolutely everything being DIY. This is not always the case. You can hire a staff to help you with serving, cleaning, and more. They don’t necessarily have to be from a professional company. You could find a friend-of-a-friend. Many teenagers are looking to make extra money on the weekend, so you could pay them an hourly rate of $10 to $15 per hour, depending on the minimum wage in your state. They might also accept tips from your guests, and walk away with an even bigger payday.
59. Renting Tables and Chairs
One of the benefits of going to a traditional wedding venue is that they often provide the tables and chairs as part of the package. But if you’re throwing a backyard wedding, you will have to rent them yourself. The cost is anywhere between $1.50 to $6.00 per chair, and $6 to $14 per table, per day. Keep in mind that many of these companies will drop off the chairs, but it’s an extra cost to set them up and break them down at the end of the ceremony.
58…Or, Borrowing Them From Friends and Family
Sometimes, people manage to throw a backyard wedding only using the kitchen tables and chairs from their family and friends. This is possible if you’re going for a rustic country mix-and-match sort of vibe. Obviously, most people are not going to have a perfectly matching set of tables and chairs ready for 20 to 50 people. But if you’re on a small budget, it just might be possible to wrangle your friends together to make it work.
57. Focus on Finding Simple Backyard Wedding Dresses
When you have an outdoor wedding, there are more opportunities for things to go wrong with the dress. You might accidentally get it dirty in a way that you wouldn’t in an indoor ceremony. Don’t let that scare you. You can always get it dry cleaned afterwards. However, it wouldn’t make sense to invest in an expensive dress. Because of current events, a lot of wedding dress companies are selling their products on clearance. You might also be able to get affordable dresses second hand online. Most people try to focus on finding simple backyard wedding dresses, instead of spending a lot of money on a dress that you’re wearing outdoors. It’s much better to allocate that money to the ceremony, or potentially buy a secondary dress that you use during the reception.
56. Plan the Timeline
Before the big day, make a plan of the order of events. This might seem like common sense to some people, but they might have a list of items that they want done for the day without putting a timeline. For example, if you only want your ceremony to be 15 minutes long, make sure you find out a way to accommodate that. Make sure you have enough time in the day to do everything, and that it’s realistic for the comfort and energy levels of your guests.
55. Consider Renting a Larger House
Having a backyard wedding might be easy for some people, but there are a lot of people out there who don’t own a tremendous amount of land. If you live in a condo or apartment, it’s possible that you will need to ask someone in your family if you can use their backyard. Or, you may have to rent a larger house just for the weekend. Keep in mind that you can’t simply just go on Airbnb and have your wedding there. Many homeowners have limits as to how many guests can be in their house at one time. Or, if they consider allowing you to have a wedding there, they might limit it to only 5 to 10 people in a very tiny ceremony.
54. Never Use an AirBnB For a Wedding
In the last bullet point, I mentioned potentially borrowing someone else’s house to have their wedding. Unfortunately, there are some people out there who think that they can rent an AirBnB and secretly throw their wedding there without telling the owner. When you pay for an AirBnB, you’re signing a contract with the homeowner. If they figure out that you had a wedding or party there without their permission, they can sue you, or ask for more money through the AirBnB dispute center. And as of the time this article was written, AirBnB’s policy also forbids gatherings of 16 people or more, regardless of what kind of permission you get from the host.
53. Prepare for Parking
If you’re having a backyard wedding, one of the biggest issues is providing parking for your guests. Most people don’t have a huge parking lot on their property to accommodate a lot of cars. Before you make the guest list, figure out where these people are going to park their cars. You might also request that your guests carpool whenever possible. Some of your neighbors might be willing to let them park on their property, or there could be a nearby parking lot where people could be shuttled back and forth. Always make your guests aware of the local rules about parking overnight. You don’t want your guests to drink too much and end up having their car towed the next day.
52. Have the Backyard Wedding Rentals Set Up The Day Before
Most people who throw backyard wedding have never done an event before. If you think you can get everything set up the morning before the ceremony, thank you again. You’re going to be so busy with so many other things, that you won’t even have time to think about setting up your rental tables and chairs. Make sure you have everything arrived one to two days before the ceremony begins. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to set everything up and do all the finishing touches.
51. Consider Making Your Own Cake Instead of Backyard Wedding Catering
One of the biggest expenses at a large wedding is the cake. Normally, you would have to pay a professional baker to create something that is large enough to feed 200 people. But if you’re having a cheap backyard wedding, chances are that you’re having 50 people or less coming to the ceremony. With a smaller crowd like this, it’s possible for you to make your own wedding cake. You might even want to create multiple cakes and desserts to substitute having the large multi tiered cake. If there is someone in your family who’s good at baking like your mom or aunt, consider asking them for help.
50. Prep The Toilets
Something that no one thinks about when they try to run their own event is the bathroom situation. Most residential homes are not equipped with a big enough septic system to accommodate 100 people using the toilet! If you have a smaller crowd of 25 to 30, this might be okay. But some people have set up outdoor toilet trailers to accommodate these extra guests. On the TV series Escape to the Chateau, they have a wedding business at their home, and their ceremonies could be described as a backyard wedding. They decided early on to create an outdoor trough area for men to go “number one”. Eventually, they had to create an outdoor toilet facility closer to the reception area so that people weren’t walking long distances back and forth to the house.
49. Prepare to Exterminate Bugs and Other Pests
In most people’s backyards, they have some sort of pest problem. You might have seasonal mosquitos, mice, moles, or any number of bugs that could potentially ruin your special day. Before you have the ceremony, ask yourself if there is any way you could remedy the problem. This doesn’t always have to mean calling an exterminator, either. Check out my recipe on how to make pet-friendly mosquito repellent at home.
48. Mix and Match
When you’re having a cheap backyard wedding, you may have to throw together supplies that you have available amidst your family and friends. Sometimes, mixing and matching dishes, chairs, and tables can look really cute and rustic. Your guests will understand that it was necessary in order to save money. In a way, it might be a great thing if you can mix the family china from both grandmothers or mothers.
47. Plan For “Golden Hour” Photos
In the photography world, “golden hour” is the name given to the time when the sun is going down, and the sky is filled with peachy pink colors. The lighting is often perfect at that time, so this is when you should try to arrange for photos to be taken after the ceremony. If you’re working with a professional photographer, ask them about golden hour, and see if you can incorporate that into your schedule.
46. Hire or Ask Someone to Be The Day-Of Coordinator
When you’re trying to budget, you might be skipping hiring a wedding planner. However, even if the wedding is in your own backyard, you still need help from someone to work as a coordinator. Earlier on the list, we mentioned making a timeline. But it’s really hard to follow a timeline when you’re busy getting married! The coordinators are there to help you keep track of time, remind employees where to go, and keep everything working like clockwork. Even if you plan your own wedding timeline, ask a friend or family member to be the coordinator for the day. You don’t necessarily have to hire a professional, but choose someone responsible who you trust.
45. Small Details Go a Long Way
When you’re throwing a cheap backyard wedding, you might be worried that it would end up being tacky. But the good news is that small details go a long way. Decor doesn’t have to be expensive in order to be stylish. Browse through some of your favorite decorations and centerpieces on Pinterest, and save everything to your heart’s content. Then, price out each of those setups. You might be surprised to find that your favorites are also the most affordable.
44. Create a Pathway to the Ceremony
If you’re having a backyard wedding, chances are that there is almost nothing but grass back there. You don’t want your shoes to get dirty or muddy. And it would be a disaster if it rained, and your heels caused you to sink into the ground! That’s why it’s necessary to figure out a pathway in the backyard. Some people purchase a long rug runner, while others will pay for a paved sidewalk. This all depends on your budget, of course. But look into the options to decide what works best for you.
43. Find Florals That Match What’s Already in the Garden
One of the biggest benefits to having a backyard wedding is that you can take advantage of the florals that are naturally already there. If you can find a property with flowering trees in the spring, that becomes and instant backdrop! Keep in mind that when you are trying to buy a lot of flowers for an indoor wedding, this can cost a small fortune. So if you can figure out a way to blend the natural flowers with a small number of purchased ones, it should be a perfect balance.
42. Consider Hiring a Local Food Truck
Many of you might be wondering how it would work to find backyard wedding catering. While it most likely does exist in your local area, it may be difficult for them to get the work done on site if you have a small kitchen in your home. Food trucks are popular at outdoor events, and food trucks are no exception. Consider hiring a local food truck business to cater your wedding. This might be more Covid safe, since your guests can stand in line and pick up their food from behind a barrier. Do a quick search of the local food trucks in your local area.
41. If You Live Near the Water, Take Advantage of That
Do you live by the ocean, or a lake? If so, try to figure out a way you can incorporate that into the wedding day. Some people will have their ceremony with the lake in the background, or a beach wedding. Even if the lake is further down the road, you could still go with a photographer to get some lake side golden hour photos.
40. Invite Your Pets (And Friend’s Pets, Too)
One of the biggest benefits to having a cheap backyard wedding is that your dogs can come! There is no need to pay for a doggy daycare if they can be there during the ceremony. However, your pooch will still need to be fed and walked at their regular times. Assign a family member or friend to help you with the dogs.
39. Buy Wholesale Alcohol, and Stock Up Early
One of the biggest expenses at any wedding is the open bar. However, there is a way to make this cost more manageable. Instead of going to your local liquor store, search for wholesale locations in your local area that sell alcohol like a Sam’s Club, BJ’s, or Costco. Even in states like New Jersey where alcohol is not allowed to be sold at grocery stores, there are still certain counties that allow it. You could also reach out to local breweries and wineries to see how much it would cost for a wholesale batch. Try to stock up on supplies with each paycheck in the months leading up to the wedding, instead of waiting until the last minute and ending up with a huge alcohol bill.
38. Send Digital Invites and Updates
Many brides love the idea of making handmade invitations, because it’s sometimes kept as a souvenir. However, let’s be honest. Some of those will end up thrown away by your guests eventually. Instead of writing up dozens of paper invites, consider doing one, take a photo, and send it as a .JPEG to your family and friends. By doing this digitally, you save money on postage, paper, and time.
37. Take Advantage of Your Natural Surroundings
If you are lucky enough to live near mountains, a forest, a lake, or an other natural beauty, try to incorporate that view into your wedding day. In the photo above, you can see that this couple was able to have their outdoor ceremony in front of the mountains. Depending on where you live, this might be as easy as walking into your backyard. Appreciate where you live, and make it apart of the party.
36. Set Up an Outdoor Bar
Earlier on the list, we already talked about gathering wholesale alcohol over time. But you still need some kind of outdoor bar setup. Some people will buy a literal pre-made outdoor bar for guests to walk up and order a drink. However, other people will go for the option of leaving out coolers of beer and wine so that guests can serve themselves. Since we’re in the time of Covid, remember that it might not be a good idea for multiple people to be touching the same bottle. Always give single-serve drinks, or hire a bartender to work the day of the wedding. Also remind people to socially distance while they’re taking off their masks to enjoy a drink.
35. Stick to Your Personal Style
All of us seek inspiration from Bridal magazines and Pinterest. But at the end of the day, you should always go for your personal style. It doesn’t matter if your style is considered to be old-fashioned. Just pick what you and your partner love the most, so that you can look back and love the decisions you made.
34. Emotionally Prepare Yourself to Disappoint Someone
If you’re a people-pleaser, a small wedding might be a huge challenge for you. At some point, you might have a friend or family member who makes a suggestion for your wedding that is way over-budget. You’re probably going to have to say “no”, or very politely let them know that it would put you over-budget for what you were planning to spend.
33. Lean Into the Sentimental Side of Your Wedding
When you have a smaller wedding, this can be a good opportunity for you to really lean in on the sentimental side. After all, getting married isn’t about the glitz and glam. It’s a ceremony to celebrate the love shared between two people. So this might be a good opportunity to exchange vows you’ve written yourselves, or do something romantic. Sometimes, if people are in front of a huge crowd of 100 to 200 people, they feel too vulnerable to open up like that, especially if they’re afraid it will make them cry. But when you’re surrounded by your closest friends and family, it’s easier to be yourself.
32. Use Natural Materials as Decor
When you decorate a rented hall or wedding venue, you’re usually starting with a blank slate. But with an outdoor backyard wedding, there are tons of opportunities for you to incorporate natural elements into the decor. Maybe there is a beautiful flowering willow tree that drapes down flowers, or a 100-year old oak that could shade your guests. The opportunities are endless, and it could end up being far more beautiful than any traditional venue.
31. Decide on Your Tech Policy
Some people decide to forbid people using their cellphones during the ceremony, so that they can focus on being in the moment. At the very least, you should ask people to silence their phones so that it doesn’t ring in the middle of saying “I do”. However, other couples who are on a really tight budget will actually encourage their friends to take photos on their phones, because they skipped hiring a photographer! I went to a wedding like this, and they asked guests to tag them on Instagram. They were able to get hundreds of photos from doing this, and that was enough to satisfy their need to capture the memories.
30. Assemble a Portable Dance Floor
If you want to have dancing at your backyard wedding, you’re going to have to make some kind of dance floor. People have done this all sorts of ways- from purchasing plywood, to throw rugs, to renting a dance floor that fits together like puzzle pieces. And of course, you could always choose to create an outdoor patio space with some of your wedding budget. However, some people are canceling the dancing, because of Covid. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do it, but take this into consideration.
29. Pick a Seasonal Menu
If you have ever seen The Lost Kitchen, you already know that picking a seasonal menu always makes a meal taste ten times better. This can also make the cost of your menu cheaper, especially if you plan to buy from a local farmer’s market. Try to embrace whatever season you happen to be in during your wedding, and try to find a local specialty to put on the menu.
28. Keep the Bar Simple
Earlier on the list, we talked about stocking up over time, as well as figuring out how you are going to arrange the outdoor bar. Another money-saving tip is to just keep things simple. Remember that you don’t have to please everyone. Stick to one or two primary drinks, or figure out a signature cocktail. Instead of picking 5 different beer brands, go for two. These people are getting free alcohol, so they have no right to be picky!
27. Consider a Potluck Dinner
If you’re trying to cater your own wedding, sometimes the best way to save money is by having a potlock dinner. In case you aren’t aware, a potluck is when each guest makes something at home, and brings it with them on the day of the event. Everyone is usually assigned something ahead of time. This will help you save time and money making all of the food yourself. If you’re only having 30 of your closest family members at the wedding, your mothers, grandmothers, and sisters will all likely want to help with this, anyway.
26. Make a Playlist That’s At Least 8 Hours Long
If you’re trying to save money with a small backyard wedding, you will probably skip hiring a DJ. With apps like Spotify, it’s easy to make your own playlist to match what you want to hear on your wedding day. People who have done this before recommend making the playlist at least 8 hours long, because you never know how long people are going to party into the night. And you should never leave your phone or iPad out in the open. When people get drunk, they tend to take the initiative to change the music to suit their taste, even if it’s very rude. Hide the device so that guests don’t switch the song, and put a trusted friend or family member in charge of it.
25. Consider Hiring a Live Band
If you know someone who has a band, you might want to consider hiring them for your backyard wedding. Of course, if you’re trying to social distance, you’ll need to make sure there is enough space for the “stage” and the rest of the entertainment areas. Some bands are willing to work for $100 or less, if it means giving them professional exposure. They can also put out a tip jar so that guests can help support their music.
24. Buy Supplies From Dollar Tree and Oriental Trading
Some people would never imagine going to Dollar Tree for their wedding decor, but you would be shocked to see how many cute things they offer for just $1 each. Before you go, check out the Dollar Tree website to plan on what you need. And if your local area stores don’t have enough, you can order online, and get it shipped to your store. Also check out Oriental Trading, which will send you bulk wholesale items at a discounted price. Both of these websites have a wedding section. You’d be shocked to see just how much money you can save.
23. Don’t Get Overboard With Decorations
Sometimes, it’s easy to go overboard with the decorations we want at our wedding. You might have multiple Pinterest boards filled with ideas. But remember that if you’re trying to have a cheap backyard wedding, you might want to rein back. Remember that even the simple, elegant ideas like candles and flowers are classic because they always look good. You don’t have to go overboard to have something amazing.
22. Reserve a Dressing Room
When you have a backyard wedding at your own house, keep in mind that you’re going to have to utilize every single room, including the bedrooms. Designate one of the bedrooms as the dressing room for the bride and bridesmaids, as well as a secondary room for the groomsmen. Setting up mirrors, makeup stations, and other areas for freshening up are also going to be much appreciated when it’s time to take photos.
21. Use Plants For Centerpieces
When it comes to centerpieces, there are a lot of options out there. However, one of the cheapest and easiest choices is to just go for using plants. These are beautiful, and will look amazing on your tables. And when the ceremony is over, you can either keep the plants, give them to friends, or let them die and throw them way. Centerpieces like vases and other objects need to be dealt with in the end, and you might not be sure what to do with these things when the day is over!
20. Have a Backup Plan For Bad Weather
Modern technology is amazing, but we still can’t control the weather. Always have a backup plan, in case it rains on your wedding day. Renting or purchasing a white event tent online is always a good option. If it’s hot outside, this can serve as a good place for your guests to get some shade. And if it rains, it will help them stay dry. However, keep in mind that these tents might work during a drizzle, but they won’t protect you from hurricane force winds!
19. Consider Hiring a Cleaning Service
One of the most difficult parts about hosting your own wedding is cleaning up afterwards. You’d be shocked to see just how long it takes to clean up the empty bottles, do the dishes, and so much more. If you can afford it, consider hiring a few people to help with cleanup. Or, if your family and friends really love you a lot, they might volunteer to help you with the process afterwards for free. Try not to do this on your own, especially if you plan to make it to your honeymoon on time.
18. Make the Date Flexible
As difficult as it might sound logistically, consider making your wedding date flexible. With the pandemic, people are used to things getting canceled or postponed, because everyone understands the risks involved. And if it must be outdoors, you always want to have a backup rain date. Just be sure to let everyone know at least a week in advance, especially if people are flying in for the ceremony.
17. Plan For Fun Outdoor Reception Activities
Since your backyard wedding reception will be outside, this opens up a lot of opportunities for fun activities. You could set up a movie screen and a projector, start a bonfire, and so much more. A backyard wedding movie could potentially be something that people remember for a lifetime. Brainstorm together with your family and friends to come up with something unforgettable.
16. Give Your Guests Multiple Lounge Areas
If you’re having a backyard wedding, you need to plan out multiple lounge areas for your guests. Remember that there is a lot of transition and downtime doing on at a wedding. Not everyone feels comfortable standing for hours at a time while they wait for dinner to happen. And when you’re trying to social distance people, it’s better if they can spread out through the backyard. Unfortunately, backyard furniture can be expensive. So if you have months to plan for the wedding, try to snag some deals when they go on clearance at the end of the summer. You could even find free and cheap pieces on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. For example, I got a rattan couch for free at the end of the summer from a woman moving out of her beach house. This couch normally cost $3,000. I was able to pay $300 to replace the outdoor cushions through Wayfair, and it was like new for just 10% of the retail price.
15. Use Spaces That Have Special Meaning
If you are having your wedding at your house or even your childhood home, chances are that there are certain areas that hold special meaning to you and your partner. Maybe you have a barn where you ride horses together, or a special tree where your significant other decided to say “I love you” for the first time. Weave your love story into your wedding. Make sure to have photographs taken at these places to remember those beautiful memories of home.
14. It’s Up to You Whether Kids Can Come or Not
Having kids at a wedding or making it adults-only is a tough decision for some people. If you don’t allow children under a certain age, the parents will have to pay for child care. And during the pandemic, it may be more difficult than ever for them to trust their kids with someone outside of their bubble. On the other hand, having kids at the wedding could also spread germs too, since it’s nearly impossible to convince a small child to keep a mask on for very long. It can also disrupt the ceremony, and make it more difficult for parents to let loose and have fun. Some families try to treat this as a communal decision that needs to be discussed as a team. But remember that at the end of the day, the way you run your wedding is up to you. If you don’t allow kids, this can open you up to bringing more of the people that really matter in your life, since the guest list is so limited as it is. It also helps to save money, since you won’t need to worry about food or entertainment for the kids.
13. Set Up Lawn Games
If you decide to say “yes” to having kids at your wedding, make sure you set up some outdoor activities for them. Some of the most popular lawn games are corn hole, hackie sack, horse shoes, croquet, or you can purchase a giant Jenga set. These are relatively inexpensive, and some of them can be made as a DIY project if you or your partner is good with carpentry.
12. Use Flower Petals for the Send Off
If you’re planning on doing a send-off, consider using flower petals. When you buy bouquets of flowers or flower arrangements, these eventually wilt and go to waste. So you might as well break the flowers apart and use them as natural confetti! This is also a lot better for your lawn, because these flower petals are fully biodegradable, and will act like mulch for your lawn.
11. Shop Outside the Wedding Section to Find the Best Deals
Some people make the mistake of only looking in the wedding section of their craft store to find something for their special day. If you’re trying to throw a cheap backyard wedding, always look in all of the sections, especially the clearance aisle! There may be things that are perfect for your wedding day, even if they were intended for a birthday party or prom. Try to think outside of the box in terms of what you can do with things you find at a discount.
10. Recycle Used Mason Jars Whenever Possible
All over Pinterest, you’ve probably seen mason jars uses as wedding decor for candle votives. These are very cheap to buy at Walmart and Dollar Tree for $1 each. But it’s even cheaper if you hold onto your glass jars once you’re done eating the food! In the months leading up to the wedding, save all of your pickle and jam jars. And if there is an option between a glass jar or a tin can, always opt for the glass. It might only save you a little bit of money per jar, but the cost adds up. You’ll also feel a lot less guilty about recycling your old food jars at the end of the night.
9. Get Creative With Seating
Even if you’re just having a low-key, cheap backyard wedding, you can still have fun with seating tags. In the photo above, you can see these adorable wooden tags that the bride made for each person. These can be taken home as souvenirs. If you have fewer people on the guest list, it becomes easier to put in more details to things like this.
8. Use Rugs as the Dance Floor and Aisle Runner
Earlier on the list, we mentioned making a portable dance floor out of plywood or snap-in-tiles. Another popular option is to use multiple rugs layered on top of one another for an outdoor dance floor. You could take all of the rugs out of your house, and ask family and friends to borrow theirs. It’s also possible to get cheap rugs from your local thrift store. This looks very cool, but be careful not to trip!
7. Stick to Your Personal Style and Interests as a Couple
Both you and your partner might not like to stick to the status quo, and that’s totally fine! A backyard wedding is a great opportunity for you to go wild with whatever you want to do. For example, I know a couple who enjoyed cosplaying as a hobby. So they had a Halloween wedding, because they wanted every guest to show up wearing a costume. It was a lot of fun for everyone, and took the pressure off of buying fancy expensive clothing for the special day.
6. Pay Homage to Your Family Culture
If you live in the United States, a lot of people tend to ignore their cultural traditions, because they embrace being fully Americanized. However, bringing cultural traditions to a wedding ceremony can make it a lot more fun. Your guests will remember the amazing traditions you incorporated for the day, and it will make your family very happy.
5. Choose Decor That Compliments the Home
When you are looking for wedding decorations, make sure it compliments the style of your home. This could also help with choosing the theme. For example, if your house is near the ocean or a lake, it would be obvious to do a nautical theme. As you can see in the photo above, those metal tables and chairs compliment the surroundings far better than plastic would. Obviously, you need to work within your budget, and do your best.
4. Allow Your Bridesmaids to Buy The Dress They Want
A great way to save money throwing a cheap backyard wedding it to let your bridesmaids pick their own dresses. At a traditional wedding, if you want your bridesmaids to wear a specific dress, it’s only fair that you pay for it. But another option is that you can let everyone know that you’re on a budget, so they need to buy their own dress. The benefit of letting someone pick their dress is that they can re-wear it again to a different event, and get multiple uses out of it. In the photo above, you can tell that the bride requested the color blue. Even though each shade of blue is different than the next, they all look beautiful, comfortable, and happy.
3. Skip the Limo, and Focus on Other Cars Instead
Renting a limousine costs $70 to $150 per hour, and can be upwards of $750 for the entire night. For some people, they look forward to using a limo for their wedding, because no one has to worry about drinking and driving. However, we are living in a very different time right now. With the pandemic, it’s not wise to have a party inside of a limo anymore. A much better alternative would be to borrow a friend’s luxury or vintage car for the day. Or, skip the fancy cars entirely. If you’re having your ceremony at home, there is no need to roll up in something nice.
2. Plan a Grand Exit
During a church ceremony, it’s tradition to have the guests line up at the door. When the bride and groom emerge, everyone throws confetti, bubbles, rice, or rose petals at them to give them a sendoff. Just because you’re having a backyard wedding doesn’t mean you need to skip it. Even if you’re literally just going back inside your house after the ceremony is over, it can still be fun to plan a grand exit for when the guests are ready to leave.
1. Don’t Skip the Honeymoon
A lot of people are choosing to skip their honeymoon, because of the pandemic. With travel restrictions and 1 to 2-week quarantine times, it’s understandable why you might feel this way. But please, don’t skip the honeymoon. Even if you go on a camping trip or a road trip to your state’s nearest beach hotel, it can still be a great time to relax and spend time together basking in the afterglow. You can even take a couple days off work, and do a stay-cation! Some day, when it’s safe to travel again, you can celebrate your anniversary by going abroad.