That magical moment has finally come: the love of your life has proposed to you. You’re both basking in the afterglow of knowing thatyou’ll spend the rest of your lives together. Then a relative asks, “Have you set a date?” A friend asks, “What are your colors?” Your sister asks, “When do you want to go dress shopping?” There’s barely any time to enjoy the engagement before you have to start thinking about logistics.
Planning a wedding can be extremelyfun, but it can also be stressful. Between having to pester your wedding party for their measurements to making difficult decisions about the guest list, you also have to figure out how to pay for the wedding. It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. With the average American wedding costing over $33,000, it’s no wonder engaged couples are waiting years to tie the knot.
The biggest costs for weddings are the venue, food, and drinks. Since most venues charge higher rates when they hear the word “wedding,” you can cut down your costs and avoid that wedding tax by hosting it at home. A backyard wedding means that there’s no venue fee and you can have the food cooked or catered for less. The rest can be accomplished yourself on a budget while still being beautiful.
Even if your house is big enough to host a wedding, you’ll still have to make adjustments to the space, like landscaping and designating areas for everything. The wedding is more than just the ceremony and reception. Of course, you’ll need to outfit your home to accommodate seats and dining. But you will also need a welcome area for guest arrivals, a bridal suite, a photo area, a staging area for the vows, and a site to host cocktail hour while the main space gets converted from ceremony to reception.
Unless you have a natural canopy in your backyard, you’ll probably want to build an arbor or pergola for the ceremony (i.e. an arch). For a professionally built trellis, expect to pay between $400 and $900 for materials and labor. Prefab models, however, are more affordable and range from $10 to $100. A wedding venue would charge you close to the same amount to rent the arch for just one day, so why not build your own that you can keep, lend, rent out, or possibly sell after the wedding?
You can go cheap in this area by using the space around you. A backyard with landscaping only needs to be dressed up with some color, in-season flowers, string lights, and lanterns. You can also get your wedding party together for a crafting day or shop on Etsy for unique designs you can’t make yourself.
Entertainment and Photography
Wedding DJs are great for keeping the energy up and playing the right music, but a playlist will suffice for music. Ask your most charismatic cousin to step up to the microphone for the formal announcements. If you can’t afford a photographer, hire a pro for the official photos and capture the rest of the reception with a photobooth.