Congratulations on your engagement! You probably have ideas for a top-of-the-line wedding. However, according to theknot.com, the average cost of a wedding in the United States was $28,000 in 2021. That’s damn expensive, and considering it doesn’t include the honeymoon, you will spend more. This stat might discourage you and make you think that a courthouse wedding is your only option. But you can still have a typical outdoor wedding without breaking the bank; you just need to budget your costs.
Planning an outdoor wedding on a budget can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve not planned a large gathering. Setting a wedding budget is challenging if you’re unsure how much value you get for every dollar you spend. Fortunately, we’ve compiled several tips for planning an outdoor wedding on a budget. These tips will help you plan and actualize your dream outdoor wedding without going overboard with regard to costs. Let’s go!
Get Married On a Weekday or Out of Season
The first tip for planning an outdoor wedding on a budget is getting married on a weekday or out of season. According to a report by Bridebook.com, couples can save over $6,000 by getting married in January or February as opposed to the peak months of June to August. Also, you can save over $5,000 by getting married on a weekday as opposed to the weekend.
Skills for Presents
The second tip for planning an outdoor wedding on a budget involves loved ones who have organizational skills. For instance, is anyone in your circle a florist? Do you know a restaurant owner who can prepare a menu for your big day? You can use their skills for presents and even if they want to be paid for their services, you’ll save a lot. Also, don’t overlook what you bring to the table; you can use your skills to score free items. For instance, if you’re an accountant, you can trade your skills and help a bakery do their taxes in exchange for a free cake.
Keep it Small
It has been said before, but we’ll emphasize; the cost of a wedding mainly comes down to the number of guests. Not only does the number of guests determine the size of the venue, it determines how much food and drinks you need for your big day. Food and drinks take up a substantial portion of the budget, so if you cut your guest list, you reduce a significant portion of your budget. According to a study by hitched.com, couples spend about $75 per guest on their wedding day, meaning if you have a guest list of 200 and trim it by half, you can save $7,500. So take your time to consider the most important people for your big day.
Do you need your old friend in attendance or every work colleague in your department? If not, cut them from the list. It sounds easier than it actually is because some people can take it the wrong way when they’re not invited to major events like weddings. However, ask yourself questions like have I spoken to this person in the last six months? Does this person invite me to their events? You should have a rough idea of who to invite and who not to.
Get The Wedding Dress at A Bargain
When planning an outdoor wedding on a budget, one of the areas you might struggle with trimming the budget is the wedding dress. While most high street retailers have their own wedding dress lines, you can check out websites like Facebook Marketplace to see if you can find a designer wedding dress for a fraction of the sticker price. Another option to find a good dress on a budget is hiring, which research shows can help save you up to $4,000. After all, who doesn’t want a $15,000 designer dress for less than 1000 bucks?
Send E-Invites or DIY Physical Wedding Invitations
When planning an outdoor wedding on a budget, you should send your guests E-invites. An E-invite can be a photo or document you can send to your guests via email and social media applications like iMessage, Instagram, Viber, WeChat, or WhatsApp. Not only will you save cash on stationery, but tracking attendees will be much easier.
On the other hand, you can also decide to DIY physical wedding invitations. You can use online templates on Canva or Etsy to customize your wedding invitation. Then you can send your design to print solutions like printed.com for cheap, high-quality printing services. After the invitations are printed, they can be sent to you via courier services.
Book Your Photographer On an Hourly Basis
Another tip for planning an outdoor wedding on a budget is hiring a photographer on an hourly basis. Rather than booking a photographer for a full day (12-14 hours), you can book them for half a day (8 hours). A report by oceanfinance.com shows that couples can save roughly $750 by reducing the hours they book a professional photographer.
Consider getting a wedding venue that doesn’t need a lot of decorations to help you save cash on buying or hiring decorative elements. An outdoor venue that regularly receives lawn care will ensure nature can provide some decorative pieces. You can mix and match your bouquets with flowers like a whole hemp flower for a stylish yet rustic look.
Use old wines and spirits bottles as decorative elements for a bohemian setting. As an added benefit, most outdoor venues don’t have massive rental fees, so you can find a venue at a very low price. However, ensure that landscape pest control and weed control are done in the outdoor venue and obtain any necessary permits.
Utilize The Unique Talents Your Friends Have
If one of your friends is a talented disc jockey, musician, or photographer, it can come in handy when planning an outdoor wedding on a budget. Chances are your friends will actually feel honored when you entrust them with an essential part of your wedding, like photography, and they will do their level best to ensure that you have a fantastic experience.
Look for an Outdoor Wedding Venue with No Corkage
One of the most significant expenses at weddings is alcohol and soft beverages. As a result, if you can control the cost per bottle, you can substantially reduce your expenses. Some venues allow you to bring your drinks while others don’t. As a result, they will sell your alcohol and soft drinks at a mark-up. Get a venue that allows BYOB (bring your own bottle); you will know that the venue allows drinks if you don’t see the ‘no corkage’ sign on the premises.
Have Your Wedding Ceremony and Reception at The Same Venue
More and more outdoor grounds have been licensed to host wedding ceremonies. Booking such a venue helps you cut the time of traveling between two different venues, but it also helps you avoid the cost of hiring a wedding motorcade and paying for two different venues. This is also a win for your guests because they save cash they could have spent on fuel. Since you might spend the whole day in the venue, ensure that commercial lawn irrigation and lawn care, and lawn maintenance are done so that the venue looks beautiful on your big day.
Make Your Own Flower Bouquets
According to weddingwire.com, couples spend an average of $1,500 on flowers. One of the best ways to reduce costs when it comes to flowers is to make your own wedding bouquet. You can also reduce this cost further by using locally available flowers. Flowers will be cheap if they don’t have to be flown from Asia, Europe or any other place. You can even get the flowers from your kitchen garden but ensure you use fertilizer spreaders so that they grow big.
Dazzle Guests with Cheap String Lights
When it comes to lighting, you can make your budget wedding look expensive by using string lights. For instance, you can hang them on trees on opposite ends to boost the ambiance and wow factor in your outdoor venue. You can also use Chinese paper lanterns to decorate your venue; they will come in handy if the reception proceeds late into the night.
Scout Your Wedding Vendors
When planning an outdoor wedding on a budget, ensure you scout different vendors. For instance, if you’re looking for a food vendor, don’t hire the first person you come across. Instead, schedule a meeting with them to see what they’re about, and maybe you can negotiate the prices. When looking for reliable vendors, ask for referrals from friends and family but ensure you check the ratings and reviews of these vendors online.
Make Your Own Cake or Use a Dummy
According to theknot.com, the average cost of a wedding cake in the US is $500, which will rise based on the number of guests; expect to pay over $1000. However, you can spend less than $200 if you make the cake yourself or have one of your friends do it for you. The other alternative to save cash when it comes to wedding cakes is decorating a dummy. This is merely for presentation purposes and will be headed to the dumpster once the wedding is done. One of your friends with icing skills can decorate a styrofoam piece to look like an actual tiered wedding cake. Then you and your guests will be served sheet cake bought from the local grocery store; they shouldn’t note the difference. If you have to cut the dummy cake, have a smaller cake made and placed on top so that you can cut and eat it.
Ditch Wedding Favours
According to a survey by theknot.com, in 2021, couples in the United States spent roughly $450 on wedding gifts and favors. You can trim this down to about $100 total, albeit they help add personality to your wedding. Plus, most wedding favors, such as macarons, will be left behind by your guests at the end of the ceremony and end up in a dumpster.
Get Cheap Decorations and Reuse Them
You don’t need to hire a wedding stylist or buy expensive décor for your outdoor wedding. You can bring Pinterest ideas to life by shopping in high street stores like IKEA to get striking candleholders and ambient lighting for your outdoor wedding ceremony. Also, you can reuse any wedding décor you buy. Note that you have two venues to attend to; the wedding ceremony and reception. You can have a team quickly move the décor from the ceremony to the reception before everyone arrives. However, your focus should be on the wedding reception because this is where you and your guests will spend most of the time.
Offer Signature Cocktails Instead of Having an Open Bar
If you’re worried about breaking your budget because of drinks, consider having a selection of signature cocktails instead of offering your guests an open bar. Your guests can go overboard with alcohol when there are no restrictions, so this is a way to help them unwind without going overboard. You can also reduce the cost of drinks by changing your toast. At most weddings, a champagne toast is standard, but real champagne is very expensive, with a bottle costing between $50 and $300. You can still have your toast, but instead of champagne, you toast with Prosecco, an Italian wine that sparkles like champagne but is way cheaper. Also, you don’t have to serve champagne to your guests; they can toast with whatever they’re drinking.
In conclusion, the most essential things in a wedding are you, your spouse, and an officiant so that you get a marriage certificate. However, if you want an outdoor celebration of your special day that includes your family, friends, and several work colleagues, you can use the tips listed above for planning an outdoor wedding on a budget.