Can anyone offer some advice on saving money on my outdoor wedding this autumn?

by DIY wedding planner on February 21, 2012

My fiance and I are planning on getting married this autumn, either September or October, in an outdoor venue near where we live. Colors are tangerine and ivory. We are going to have around 50 guests. The venue itself is only $10! However, we will need to rent tents, tables, and chairs. I am looking for some money saving ideas from brides who have been in my situation before. We are paying for everything ourselves, so I need some tips for saving money on food, flowers, favors, etc.

Here are the steps we have taken so far:

1.) DIY Invitation Kit from Michael’s: 30-count, with the invitations, response cards, envelopes, and pretty much everything else you need for about $30, so only about $60 for all our invitations.…

2.) Skipping Out on the Expensive Caterer: Since we are from a rural area and we are doing the wedding outside with only about 50 guests, we are catering the wedding ourselves. We are going to grill steak, and chicken and maybe shrimp and have baked potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, vegetable kabobs, and salad. We’re doing the traditional wedding cake, plus “cake balls” and brownies (mint brownies, peanut butter cup brownies, walnut brownies, etc.). We are also not serving alcohol. He does not drink, I will still only be 20, and most of our family members will be drunken rednecks if served free alcohol! We will be serving canned sodas and bottled water.…

3.) Small Wedding Party: We only have a few close friends, so we are only going to have one on my side and one on his.

4.) Less Formal Attire: I will be wearing a short dress and he will be in black slacks or khakis and a dress shirt and tie. Neither of us love to dress up and I would hate for us to look uncomfortable on our special day!

5.) More Affordable Rings: My ring will be cubic zirconia and sterling silver. I know it will not hold up for long, but the diamond rings I love are way out of our price range, and we can always get on later in life when we’re more financially stable. He will probably have a carbon fiber ring.…

6.) DIY Floral: I just want a simple, hand-tied bouquet. We’re doing gerbera daisies for the bouquet and centerpieces with gerbera daisies in mason/ball jars.

Some things I am still pondering:

We were thinking of maybe skipping on the tent and on ceremony chairs? That $400 could be much better spent on some other element, if you ask me. We will only have about 40 guests, so probably 6 round tables, and we were thinking that we could just arrange the tables in such a way that the guests could sit at them during the ceremony themselves. We aren’t going to have dancing, anyway. Any suggestions?

Thanks so much, guys!
Some details I maybe left out:

Lack of Tent/ Case of Weather: Our outdoor venue is pretty much a park in the middle of nowhere, and there is a church only a quarter mile away from it. Another couple I know who married there moved the wedding to the church last minute when they saw rain on the forecast, no problem. We’re hoping that we would be able to do the same.

Wedding cake: i was planning on only getting a small cake for us to cut for ceremonial purposes and then serving other desserts but THEN my step-mom’s mom offered to bake us one! I’ve seen her work and they’re super simple but elegant and pretty (: We’re planning on having just a plain white one and wrapping orange ribbon around the tiers and putting fresh daisies on it, too. Overkill on the daisies? Haha.
Eh, wedding postponed since we both decided to go back to school, but still planning!. -Sigh- Thanks for all the helpful suggestions! :)

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Summer February 21, 2012 at 5:48 am

It sounds like you have a lot figured out already! Can you see if you can borrow some tables and chairs from churches and simply offer a small donation? Also, I knew a bride who tied her own bouquet (along with the bridesmaids). She saved money but also said that ‘it almost wasn’t worth it.’ You could also do the centerpieces yourself (even throwing in some silk flowers-craft stores have great sales all the time!). Some flower shops will even offer discounts on certain days or after a certain time on their loose flowers. You could even talk to some places about leftover loose flowers at a discounted price. Even check out grocery stores, they have gorgeous bouquets sometimes. If you’re going for a traditional wedding cake, only have the top (for you guys to cut and save) real and the rest of it fake. Keep a sheet cake hidden and nobody will know the difference!


Truth February 21, 2012 at 6:03 am

You seem to have this pretty much covered. The only thing I would recommend is that if you don’t do a tent have a plan B as Mom Nature WILL spring something on you if you are not prepared. Also since you are doing everything local you may want to consider bringing the relatives and guest up to speed on your plans. Have everyone bring dishes. Have everyone help and just keep it simple. Have local folks entertain. Relatives too. A good time had by all. Always depresses me that folks think they must entertain, feed, and wine and dine those whom they invite to the wedding. Weddings were originally a gathering of clans where everyone chipped in as their gift. You don’t have to spend big bucks to have a good time.


Landry February 21, 2012 at 6:24 am

Hi,why not searching your wedding dress online,I suggest you to go to
they sell wedding dresses online,and their price is very low.HAVE A TRY


Erin February 21, 2012 at 6:51 am

first suggestion: dont leave out ANYTHING you want, you will regret it and do-overs/renewing vows are tacky in most cases (seems like just another excuse to get gifts to me)

my mom had a autumn wedding in october of 2008, she used pumpkins as centerpeices (small ones from the local pumpkin patch) and also small pumpkins as placecard holders

i would say not to have your tables at your ceremony–maybe just take a few chairs from around tables for disabled and/or elderly who need to sit and have everyone else stand (my wedding is in august and we are expecting about 2 to3 times as many people and are only getting 60 chairs)

one other suggestion about seating–think outside the box on chair rental places (especially if you live in a small town) i may be getting my chairs from either a funeral home for free, or from a resaurant for a small charge given i pick them all up and return them myself (my dad has a truck and volunteered to do this for me)


going crazy bride February 21, 2012 at 7:16 am

Okay my biggest over expenditures at my wedding were my dress and the limo. I spent over 1000 dollars for my entire ensemble when I could have gotten it for the fraction of the price on like ebay or craigslist. Also we opted to get a big limo bus for the entire bridal party and there dates which was another 1000 bucks. If I could do it again I would have nixed the whole limo we only spent a total of 45 minutes in it and paid for four hours. If you want something special but cheap just do you and the groom in a town car from the church to the reception or nix the limo idea all together.


Nichole M February 21, 2012 at 7:49 am

It sounds like you are on the right track for saving, and it sounds like you will have a very charming and heart-warming wedding. I love the gerbera daisies idea and the mason jars.

You could serve desserts instead of having a wedding cake. If you are already cooking yourselves, maybe you could have several family members all make various desserts and put them on platters. You could probably arrange them on a table where it would look really cool. Source:

Your wedding idea reminds me of a wedding I saw on the Style Me Pretty Blog recently. It looked SO pretty. Not that it is your exact style, but it had a lot of DIY in it. Check it out, it may give you some more ideas:


Ginny February 21, 2012 at 7:57 am

It seems like you have covered almost everything and have a very good plan! I suggest not skipping on the tent as no one knows how the weather goes.

For wedding favors, you can take a look at, many items are priced less than $1 each.–Favors-under-$1–Favors+under+$1.html–Fall-Wedding-Favors–Fall+Wedding+Favors.html


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: