Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Intimate Rustic Backyard Wedding on a Serious Budget

It's been a long time since I've posted but having the most perfect wedding in our backyard will make you want to share some tips!

I set my budget between $3,000-$4,000 and was able to keep very close to my budget.

I had some help... a neighbor lent me lights and drink troughs they had used for the recent wedding of their daughter. They also had a gorgeous wooden sign with "Ceremony" printed across the front of it in metal print.

Okay, so here's the breakdown. For about 44 people:
-Beer and wine- $280 (2 buck chuck from Trader Joes was the big saver here)
-Linens and napkins- $153 (found on Etsy from www.etsy.com/shop/YourChairCovers)
-Flowers- $283 (I used dried flowers as an alternative to fresh flowers- not only did I save a ton of $$$ but they are gorgeous and won't die! www.etsy.com/shop/ArtistryinFlorals)
-Plates and Silverware- $78 (We used heavy duty plastic plates and plastic gold silverware from Amazon.com)
-Candles- $187 (36 assorted pillar candles and 72 votive candles from www.candles4less.com)
-Food ~$900 (The food and rentals were the most expensive things. I used one of my favorite restaurants and shopped around a bit. Lots of catering services will have a minimum of about $1,000 so $900 with tax and service fee wasn't bad. We had someone who was helping with the wedding pick up the food to save about $150 for a delivery fee)
-Rentals- $995 (By far the highest expense. We had help paying for this from a family member which was a huge help. The biggest cost associated with the rentals was the heat lamps. We needed 5 of them and they were about $75 a piece to rent but it was necessary when planning an evening wedding in December!)
-Miscellaneous stuff- $300 (I bought miss-matched wine glasses from local thrift shops as well as little glass containers for individualized succulent plants. There were other things too- a vintage looking dessert table from a thrift shop for $19, clear Christmas lights from Big Lots- $30, plastic champagne flutes from Hobby Lobby- $7 with coupon, Mr. and Mrs. gold signs $12 from Hobby Lobby on sale, Wooden planks and a blow torch from Home Depot- $50). There's more, I just can't list it all....

How we saved money:

-We did our research to find the lowest prices
-We used Etsy which saved us A LOT and it's nice knowing you're supporting a small business and that you have handmade stuff!
-We made a lot of stuff ourselves
-We spent a lot of time in thrift shops
-We had wonderful friends who were willing to help and we let them (and were careful to not ask too much). We were really lucky here- we had a wedding planner, a photographer, and an electrician who helped us make the day really special.
-We kept the guest list small
-We were flexible- go with an overall theme and buy items the fit but don't get so stuck on having specific items that you fail to see things that would work well.
-We made use of what we already had. Our yard is filled with trees and plants so we let them grow in the months leading up the wedding instead of cutting them back during yard work. Then we used the leaves to make garlands for the tables!
-We had a friend officiate- in California, it's free to be ordained. It takes about 5 minutes to become ordained and that's all you need! Check your state laws to see if it's cheap or free to have a friend officiate instead of hiring someone.

Now some pictures:

Instead of renting expensive farm tables, we got plastic tables, covered them with Ivory table cloths, and opted to buy wooden planks from Home Depot and torch them to give them that rustic finish. It really is easy to torch wood and make it look really neat on a budget. 

Using leaf clippings from our yard to create a beautiful garland down each table was also a huge cost saving project. It didn't take long and we used dried flowers from Etsy to accent the leaves.

Without the heaters, we could have cut our rental cost in half, but it was necessary since temps dropped into the low 40's/high 30's that night! We also picked up some blankets from the thrift shop and washed them in scalding water in case people were still cold.

These signs were an unexpected purchase when I came across them at Hobby Lobby. At 50% off, they were a steal!

We wrapped the napkins ourselves (me + bridesmaids) and tied twine around each one. Purchasing heavy duty plastic gold utensils from Amazon instead of a party store saved us a ton of money.

We used a vintage thrift shop table to serve dessert and opted for mini-cupcakes instead of large cupcakes which saved us quite a bit of money. People also seemed excited they were mini too! who knew?

Trader Joe's Charles Shaw wine saved the day. At around $2.50 a bottle, we were able to buy more than enough and fully stock every table full of wine.

During the wood burning process.

Party favors- Succulents from my yard clipped and placed in layered rocks and soil in miss-matched glass containers from the thrift shop. We also had some really cool little chocolate picture frames my Dad's girlfriend made us. I wish I had a good picture of them!

The dress: I found it for $65 on Amazon and it fit like a glove! I only ended up having to hem the bottom of it and have it steamed to get rid of wrinkles.

We had a wonderful time and are now happily married <3


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