DIY Weddings and Other Budget-Friendly Nuptial Ideas

outdoor wedding

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Budget-conscious couples with a knack for entertaining are embracing the idea of DIY weddings. From making your own wedding favors to building gorgeous confections, it is possible to have a fabulous party right in your own backyard without breaking the bank

Food can be one of the most expensive components of a wedding and is important for the guests to enjoy the meal. A potluck feast is a great way to have a more relaxed and personal reception meal. Your loved ones can contribute to the party, and you might even choose to ask them to bring food in lieu of gifts. If you’re known by your friends and family as the host with the most and the craftiest of crafters, then a DIY potluck wedding might be the perfect way for you to express yourself.

  • 01 of 07

    Planning the Perfect Party

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    The first step in planning DIY elements of your backyard wedding is to identify what you want to do yourself and what you need friends, family or a professional to do for you. If you are obsessed with baking and your cake creations are magazine-cover worthy, you might want to make your own wedding cake and sweets. If your father is an avid gardener, you may want him to provide the floral elements of your wedding such as bouquet flowers, boutonnieres or flowers for the table. Perhaps your sister’s best friend is a wonderful photographer and she can help capture every moment of your big day. Assign everyone a small, manageable task so they won’t miss a moment. If you’re planning a potluck wedding, start making lists of all the foods you would like, considering the size of your guest list. Spend some time thinking about the small details; will someone bring dinner rolls? What about beverages? Make sure you don’t ask too much of your guests. After all, everyone is there to have a good time and celebrate with you.

    A potluck wedding works very well with a barbecue theme, so find a group of your friends who love to barbecue and ask them to be a special part of your wedding party. Remember, they’ll be cooking a lot, so choose someone that would like to do that more than spend the afternoon on the dance floor. Consider hiring someone to help serve food and drinks.

    This won’t be any old potluck featuring a tired green bean salad and Aunt Ida’s Jello casserole. If you want your wedding potluck to go off without a hitch, you’ll need to plan ahead and tell guests exactly what to bring.

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  • 02 of 07

    Choosing a Location

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    Choosing a location for your backyard wedding may not be as simple as opening your own back door to your friends and family. If you are hosting over 50 people, there must be enough space for everyone to relax and enjoy themselves. Make sure to have a plan for inclement weather. If your best man is going to man the barbecue, you don’t want him standing out in the rain all afternoon. Where will you get ready? Are there enough bathrooms for everyone? Will it be too much work to turn your mother’s back garden into a nuptial paradise, or is it already the perfect spot to exchange vows with your spouse-to-be? Think about where you would like to have photographs taken and where the food will be served. Is there a spot for dancing? Flowers are an important feature of almost every wedding and if you plan to build your own bouquet from your garden or with wildflowers, do some research in advance about what flowers are blooming in your region around the time of your wedding. Summer, spring, and fall all offer different varieties of blooms that are perfect for weddings.

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  • 03 of 07

    Inviting Your Guests

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    The invitations for a potluck wedding need to define the concept for your guests and you should ask them to RSVP a little sooner than you would for a catered wedding. Discuss food ideas with your closest family members and wedding party first. Perhaps your fiancé’s father would love nothing more than to provide sumptuous steaks for your wedding feast, as a special gift. Give him the opportunity to do that first, before asking the rest of your guests to bring specific items. Include a prominent note on your invitation that this will be a fun, potluck wedding and include a confirmation of participation on your RSVP cards, so you know how many people are willing to bring items.

    Once you’ve decided on the menu and determined the number of participating guests, start splitting the menu items into manageable things for people to bring. Keep it simple and don’t ask any one guest to bring something that will make or break the meal unless you are certain they will be able to make it. Think about how far they will be traveling and what is simple for them to prepare. Consider some catered elements to add to the potluck, such as appetizer platters or the wedding cake.

    Make sure to have somewhere to plug in crock pots and warming trays, and someone from your wedding party or a professional wedding coordinator should be the one to help set up the food as it arrives. You will be too busy getting ready to get married to worry about those details, even if you are the host with the most!

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    When to Call In the Professionals

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    You can choose to do everything yourself on your wedding day, but there are some things that are best left to professionals. Photography is something you can ask every guest to help with, but if you want to capture the best moments and get fabulous pictures, hire a wedding photographer. You can make your own bouquet, but creating dozens of table settings and building a flower arch in the backyard may not be the best way for you to spend the morning of your wedding, so consider hiring a florist. A professional wedding coordinator can help you organize your guests and the timing of the event, so you can focus on the ceremony and party, instead of spending time gathering everyone together at the right moments. Hiring someone to arrange and serve food and drinks is a good idea, even if you’re serving banquet-style. Loading the dishwasher in your wedding dress does not make for a picture-perfect day, so having someone there to help clean up is crucial. If you have a great sound system and have spent time building a fun playlist, you can manage the music on your own. Just make sure there is someone in your wedding party who can troubleshoot, and press pause if need-be. Otherwise, hiring a DJ will take the pressure off your wedding party.

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  • 05 of 07

    DIY Flowers and Centerpieces

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    Bouquets and boutonnieres can be created from real flowers, paper or fabric. Paper flowers are a lovely way to include a personal touch. You can make them from sheet music, colored crepe paper or even comic book pages!

    Table centerpieces are a great DIY project and you can customize them for each table or match them to your bouquet. Using seasonal greenery and flowers will guarantee they last through the night.
    Are you a handy-dandy couple? Try building your own wedding arbor.

    Your tables can easily be adorned with homemade features. You can design and print your own place cards and make napkin rings, candle holders and centerpieces.

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    Personalizing Your Wedding

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    It goes without saying that you will want to customize your wedding invitations. Save money by designing your own and sending them electronically. There are a lot of tools online to help you and you can download designs and make them your own with ease. If you are musical or into theater, why not create a custom ticket to your wedding? Make sure to include RSVP cards, or a link to your wedding planning website to send RSVPs and other details. You can also create your own wedding programs, place cards and thank you cards.

    DIY wedding favors are all the rage and can be a real cost-saving measure. You can make anything including small edibles, candles, pretty jars of preserves, personalized take-home place cards made with little plants (like cacti or other succulents), soaps or candy-filled containers.

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  • 07 of 07

    DIY Sweets Table

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    Making your own wedding cake might be a bit of a daunting task, but you can easily set up your own candy bar or sweet table. Keep portions small and pretty and use flowers and designs from your wedding theme.

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