If you’re looking for a fantastic and unforgettable wedding and you’re on a budget, a DIY backyard wedding might be the best choice for you. Here’s my spin on a home-y wedding that won’t break your bank account, using tips from Mindy Weiss’s newly updated nuptial bible, The Wedding Book.
THE DRESS: A great option for thrifty brides? Rent a higher-end dress from a popular site like Rent the Runway or StyleLend. Most rentals are under 100 dollars, so you’ll get the most up to date fashion at the best prices around. And honestly, you’re probably never going to wear that dress again.
If you want the keepsake, though, choose a vintage-inspired, budget-friendly wedding dress from Mod Cloth! They have beautiful options including a number of tea length dresses that would be stunning at a backyard wedding.
THE FLOWERS: A good way to save money is to make sure you’re picking flowers in season. Out-of-season or short-lived varieties are more expensive. For a sure bet in any season, create arrangements of Stephanotis, which the Victorians associated with marital happiness, and are grown year-round. Couple with inexpensive, delicate baby’s breath and arrange in galvanized pails, mason jars, vintage bottles, or even wooden boxes to display for centerpieces and ceremony flowers.
THE FOOD: Feeding a crowd isn’t the same as planning a dinner party. You’re serving people who typically represent three or four generations and a wide range of tastes. The secret to a successful meal is creating a menu that plays to your crowd, not one that jumps on the latest trends.
A rustic, gourmet popcorn bar would be a fun way to give guests something to munch on when they arrive at the reception.
If you’re on a budget, pick easy, comfort-food favorites that you can dress up with your personal tastes, like pigs in a blanket with spicy mustard, crispy fried chicken with peach chutney, and grilled vegetables with an herb marinade. For a fun alternative to the standard wedding fare, you could hire a food truck or two! For dessert, an ice cream bar is always a great choice. All you need is vanilla ice cream and some bowls of your favorite toppings—anything from whipped cream to hot fudge, chopped peanuts, m&ms, and cherries.
Pro-tip: use chalkboards and my DIY tips in The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering to artfully label food stations.
THE FAVORS: A wedding favor should be edible, drinkable, or useful—remember that! If you have an especially talented baker in your family, you might ask them to share a recipe or help you cook up some homemade goodies that you can artfully wrap up. One bride used this as a wonderful way to honor her late grandmother, who was famous for her beautifully decorated nutmeg cookies; she even had her grandmother’s photograph and a copy of the recipe scanned onto a tag for the cookie bag.
THE MUSIC: Check out our DIY Backyard Wedding Playlist for some crowd-pleasers that are sure to keep the backyard bash going.