Your wedding is supposed to be the day of your dreams, but high costs can turn a fantasy into a nightmare. Wedding research company The Wedding Report states the average wedding in 2014 cost more than $26,000 — not the most pleasant statistic to have in your mind when you’re preparing to say, “I do.” One way to cut costs on a wedding ceremony and reception venue is to throw the shindig in your backyard. Simple do-it-yourself options turn an at-home wedding into a classy affair.
Work With What You’ve Got
Hosting your nuptials outdoors means you’ll have to adapt to your surroundings, including vegetation and a pool. Look at bushes and trees as potential spots to affix twinkly lights. Turn that tree stump into a personalized cake stand you can carve your initials into. Use flowers from the garden to create table centerpieces. You can use mason jars as vases to add to a rustic feel. Press leaves that would normally be raked up into personalized table place settings or in the wedding guest book, and use fruit from backyard trees as additional decorations, tying the surroundings into the ornamentation.
If you have a pool, rather than throwing an unsightly cover on it, turn it into fancy-but-inexpensive ambiance by adding a swimming pool fountain. Designate an area as the dance floor, and ensure you love every song played at the reception by using your iPod in place of a DJ. Be mindful of where in your backyard affords the best view–you’ll want to angle guests towards that direction.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Unique variety adds to a playful vibe, such as borrowed fine china and dishware from family members you’re close to. Forget uniform tables — incorporating different-shaped seating covered with chic tablecloths might make fitting into the space you have easier, anyway. Ask friends and family for what they’re able to loan, and unify items by a theme, such as color.
For items that must be purchased, search for budget-friendly options. Save money on a photographer by putting disposable cameras at guests’ tables, and let them take their own candid shots. Purchase additional decorations at flea markets, then dress them up with inexpensive ribbon, or re-paint them to give them a good-as-new look. Votive candles pack a big punch and can be used for a variety of decorative styles, from floating them in water-filled bowls, to using them to surround centerpieces. Unused candle holders turn into vases when you use them as containers for single large flowers, such as sunflowers. Inexpensive party favors such as bubbles or sparklers send out you and your honey in style and add an elegant atmospheric touch.
For romantic lighting options, search for garden lamps or paper lanterns to give your backyard a flattering glow without breaking the bank. If you plan to splurge on a bar or wait staff, consider cutting costs on food and drink by offering a homemade mixed drink guests will love to sip, such as sangria, or by adding a less expensive food option, such as a taco bar, to the fancy Italian catering you plan on having.
Be sure to bargain shop and compare vendor costs for must-haves, such as portable restrooms, space heaters or cooling units, and linens. Search for discounts from local businesses, and comb your network to see if there are referral opportunities that kick back discounts to both parties. Educate yourself on ways to save by enlisting help from guests who have already been there, and you’ll make your special day one everyone looks forward to.