My outdoor wedding was pretty frugal and very simple. But – it did not lack beauty. It only cost about $2,000 with $1,000 of it spent on my ring and dress (the most expensive parts of the whole day). Here’s some things that I did that may help some of you out there considering a simple outdoor wedding.
1.) Have the wedding and/or reception in a park. We had our wedding and reception at a state park. We rented one of the pavillions for the entire day for a mere $30.
2.) Make your own wedding invitations. We purchased paper from a local office supply store and printed our own invitations. I addressed the envelopes with calligraphy to add a touch of elegance. The envelopes were sealed with stickers that went along with what we were giving out as favors as a touch of fun. Overall, the ability to design the invitations ourself added to the personal touch we wanted for the wedding.
3.) Hire a friend as a DJ. I think most of us have a friend that is a “wanna-be” or is a DJ. Let them do your wedding and save the cost of paying a professional.
4.) Rent chairs from a local college – not a rental or wedding rental place. As soon as you put the word “wedding” on something, the price goes up. See if your local college has fold-up chairs for rent. Our chairs cost around $30 for the day.
5.) Get creative for the cake topper. I couldn’t find a cake topper that fit my nature theme of the wedding, so I made one with none other than a Chia Tree!! (turn down the volume if you check out the link) I just used the tree, gave it a coat of paint, added two little doves purchased from a craft store and glued them on top. Add some ribbon in the wedding colors, and voila – a nice looking cake topper. And no one knew it was a Chia Tree 😉
6.) Make your own wedding cake. Going with the nature theme of our wedding, my dad cut blocks of a tree in varying heights and I used those to place the cake layers on. For decorating the cake, I used a simple lacework technique that anyone can do because it is a sporadic type of decoration. It also hides any imperfections well if you have the lacework closer together or create multiple layers of lacework.
7.) Have a dry reception (or an almost dry one). Our reception was completely alcohol-free. As a result, a lot of money was saved. Sure, there may have been some guests that missed the alcohol, but we did not drink and we knew that some of our guests could not hold their alcohol well. The great thing is that it is your wedding and you can make the decisions.
8.) Make your own favors. I like to paint when I have the time, so I painted favors to give away to guests. I found little semi-clear bags with leaves on them from a dollar store to put the painted favors in.
9.) Skip a professional photographer. We had two designated amateur photographers (family members) document our wedding. They loved the idea of being the photographers and we ended up with some really great photos. With two of them working hard to capture the moment, they often caught different angles of the same thing occuring. We also included disposable cameras at the picnic tables to capture even more angles.
10.) Have cold cuts for the reception. Our wedding was during the hottest part of the summer and outdoors so we didn’t want real hot food. We decided on cold cuts and just made sure they were rolled up nicely and the cheese was cut in a fancy way. Presentation is key, and that just takes some time to do (not money).
11.) Borrow what you can. I worked in a cafeteria at the time and I asked if I could borrow some pans for holding food and ice. If you know of someone with something that would work for your wedding, ask. The worst they could say is no. Just make sure you return things in great shape.
12.) Buy food in bulk. If you know of someone in the restaurant or food service business, ask if they can order certain things for you through their distributor and let you purchase the product at their cost. That way, you save some money even above what you could purchase bulk items for from places like Sam’s Club.
Wow, writing all that makes me feel like planning another frugal wedding 🙂
Great tips! I can relate — I have until October to get things paid for before the big day.
It took flipping through one and a half of those invitation books before we decided to create our own. So much money for something that’ll be thrown away.
As far as the music goes, we’re going to leverage borrowed PA equipment and a large, computerized, and legal playlist of our own. My parents could do it in 1978 with reel-to-reel tapes, and technology has come a long way since then!
Couples can also look to their local grocery store or Costco (or BJs) for cake. Many groceries do their baking right on the premises!
And renting space in a park is a great idea! I’ll have to remember that one in a few years when my daughter gets married. I hope she has a spring wedding, LOL!
Thanks to you both for commenting with some additional tips – it’s great!
The park was just wonderful and the people there were great and very helpful. I think the workers were thrilled that a wedding was taking place there.
It was a brave decision because we were hoping for good weather but it turned out to be a beautiful day.
I loved all of your tips.
When my husband and I got married almost 11 years ago we did almost all of this.
We had the reception as a dish to pass. We didn’t really need wedding gifts, because we were going to be living with his parents and had everything we needed. We still live with his parents. So by asking several guests to bring a dish wasn’t really all that tacky.
I do regret not hiring a professional photographer, or at least a different family member. We have wonderful shots of all the children at the wedding, but maybe 6 of us. We also didn’t go for the disposable cameras. I can’t really remember if they were all that big then…
Another important key is to keep the guest list down. It sounds obvious, but there are lots of folks who feel like they need to invite everyone they know.
When my husband and I got married last year, we had our ceremony in the local courthouse (neither of us are religious) with only our parents, since we wanted that part to be intimate. An hour later, we had 40 friends and co-workers for our reception. We rented out an upstairs level of a local upscale pizza and pasta place, which cost less than $100. They had fancy pizzas, salads, and several appetizers. The restaurant rental, food, and open bar only ran us about $800 for everything. A local cakemaker made the cake (the most delicious I have ever had, before or since) for $40, believe it or not.
Everything was relaxed, everyone had lots of fun, and we did it all for a little over $1000. I even bought my dress (a pale rose evening dress with copper beading) off Amazon for $80, and I got tons of compliments!
It’s just proof that a wedding doesn’t have to cost big $$. We could have cut even more, but we had EXACTLY what we wanted, and it was completely worth $1000.
yummmy:P thanks to your hints , i’d adore to abide by your weblog as generally as i can.use a good day~~
These pages sure do look inexpensive. I appreciate you telling us.
i do most wedding invitations on photoshop and also on MS Word””‘