Need some advice on saving money on my outdoor wedding this autumn (:?

by DIY wedding planner on March 4, 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, chicken, and pork chops, 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.

Those are pretty much the only things I can think of right now, but I really need some more suggestions! Please respond (:

Thanks, guys!
Thanks to Ashely D. for the website suggestion. I have heard of the site before and I will definitely check it out! (:
Typo: Ashley (:
Uzie Suzie, thanks so much for such wonderful ideas! I have been considering the tent issue more and more lately, and I’m thinking it really might be a no. We aren’t even going to have dancing, anyways. What do you think about arranging the tables in a semi-circle formation and having the guests just sit at the tables during the ceremony itself? Just something I’ve been pondering..
theologygirl, Thanks so much for the suggestions! I will definitely check out your blog. I agree about the frozen steaks and chicken. Really, we may not do pork chops at all. Most people wouldn’t miss them with steaks and chicken!

I am partial to fresh flowers, but I found some great prices on sites like and We’re thinking of doing mason jars with boquets in them for centerpieces. Gerbera daisies, probably.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley D March 4, 2012 at 5:42 am

omg, you HAVE to check out the site

i totally dont work for them or anything and i swear to god im not advertising, but that is THE site to check out for money saving ideas.

its the site for all weddings that are unconventional or “offbeat” in some way. a LOOOOOTTTT of them have diy elements so theres a lot of great saving ideas on there.


Uzie Suzie! March 4, 2012 at 5:57 am

Hey there! Congrats on the wedding =)

Ok, well you said you are going to serve soda cans, why not serve bottled soda in like 2 liter bottles? It will be cheaper. Unless you were trying to avoid buying or organising classes? Do some research and see wich one will work out cheapest. You could also serve juice, that juice you get wich you add water with? It will bring you far… Anyway, just a thought!

Ok, for decor… You said you’re getting married in autmn… So why not use what you have? You can do wonders with dry leafs dry branches and other dry seads. You could for instance use autumn leaves for ‘confetti’.

For flower arrangements why not something like this:
You could also add some branches with autumn leaves still attached. I dont know if you are good with flower arrangements, but maybe you can get a friend to help you out? The leafs you can get from peoples gardens, most people wont mind as long as you dont destroy their garden, just tell them you are having a wedding and want to save some money etc, and ask them if you could get a few leafs or whatever from their garden. Just go from house to house. Might be embarrasing but its for a good cause! =)
For vases you can use empty glass jars and countainers (they dont necessarily have to match) tie some paper raffia around the neck of the jar in a color that fits in. Maybe sprinkle some leafs around the ‘vase’ on the table? The empty Glass jars you could also ask people for. I know you get to buy dry flowers/leafs, but i don know how expensive they are, but maybe you could buy a few just to use in the flower arrangement you will be holding to work in with some other leaves (like in the picture).

Then, is it really necessary for a tent? Why not arrange the tables in a circle with the dance floor in the middle, food and drink tables to one side (could also make part of the circle). This will only work if the venue isnt to big and if the surrounding areas looks nice, so it can kinda be like an open outdoor wedding, should be in the day time however…

Btw, i love the ring ideas. Ive always said that when i get marred i wouldnt care about an expensive ring, as long as he really loves me =)

Anyway, thats it from me, i hope i gave some ideas you can use. If not, sorry =( i hope you 2 will be happy and have a long blessed life together! =)


theologygirl March 4, 2012 at 6:53 am

Your ideas sound great! You’re off to a terrific start.

I second the suggestion to check out Offbeat Bride. Also check out the social networking sister site; people throw around awesome ideas there all the time.

I can definitely make a food suggestion, as my husband and I also grilled steaks at our reception: Don’t buy freshly butchered steaks; instead, buy frozen, vacuum-sealed steaks. Seriously – they’re vacuum sealed and frozen when they’re really fresh, so they’re just as good as the ones freshly butchered, and they cost a LOT less. Compare the prices next time you go shopping; you’ll be amazed. Everyone loved them, and since they were individually vacuum sealed, we could throw the ones we didn’t use back in the freezer, even after they’d thawed. Perfectly safe. No waste.

You can also get frozen chicken. We buy frozen chicken breasts instead of freshly cut all the time; it tastes great. I don’t know if you can get frozen pork chops, though; I’ve never seen them.

As far as chairs, I’ve heard of people having great luck asking to borrow chairs from their church or local community hall. It might be worth a shot; even if they won’t lend them, they may rent them for less than you’d pay if you used a regular rental company.

You could use bowls or jars of colorful candy as centerpieces and have little stacks of wedding take-out boxes scattered here and there along the tables. That way, your centerpieces would also double as your favors.

As far as flowers, I’m a huge fan of silks. Contributors to Yahoo Answers have VERY mixed opinions on this, but I’ll tell you exactly what I think – I think sometimes silk flowers are the most practical option and I think people who get snotty about them are absolutely ridiculous. Oh! and one argument they love to make is that good silks are just as expensive as fresh flowers. Maybe, if you’re planning on making fresh arrangements yourself. But that can be a pain in the rear. You can make silk arrangements yourself pretty easily and way ahead of time, and you save by not having to pay a florist LABOR costs.

But if you love fresh flowers and would rather go that route, check out grocery store bouquets. As long as you keep things simple, you should be able to make some lovely arrangements fairly easily. It will help to use hardy flowers that you won’t need to wire.

Check out my blog if you’d like to see how my husband and I did things (we only had a handful of people, though) or if you’d just like support and encouragement. Best of luck!


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