DIY Outdoor Wedding

DIY Outdoor Wedding

This past Fall, my sister got married! Since it has been over 3 months, I can finally reflect on the wedding process since the chaos has died down. Although we had a budget, we soon realized there were some non-negotiables when it came to budgeting (such as the dress). So here are a few things that we did to keep the wedding within budget.

Invitations

Welcome to the digital age! Why are we sending out overpriced stationery when we literally do EVERYTHING online. We created and sent Save the Dates, bridal shower, bachelorette and rehearsal dinner invites via MailChimp. This was a lot easier to create links directly to calendars and our wedding website. MailChimp also lets you view who opened or didn’t receive the email. We created print versions that we mailed to the older guests (grandparents, distant relatives etc.). But this reduced the number to less than 10, that we printed at a local Walgreens. We prioritized having physical invitations and wedding programs. We found a beautiful template on Vistaprint. We were able to replicate this for numerous stationery uses throughout the wedding. With shipping — the invitations totaled $150.00. I also used Canva for any additional signage that I needed throughout the wedding

Unconventional Venue

Our biggest constraint was finding a place that we could stake the tents. We were fortunate to be able to host the wedding in a non-traditional venue. This was a beautiful 125yr old building and our favorite — stunning lawns.  We absolutely loved the location and the views that it had. We were able to pay a fraction of what a “traditional” wedding venue would charge. We had found that venues that cater specifically to weddings often charge a premium. We definitely had to be a lot more creative, but it paid off!

Catering

I was sick of the “dry chicken green bean mix”. We wanted to create something that was affordable and delicious, while catering to different allergies and food preferences. And with extra inspiration from my boyfriend from Barcelona we decided to create *DRUM ROLL* food boards! My dad handcrafted the wooden boards, which were delicately decorated with different meats, cheeses, breads, jams and sauces from Costco and Trader Joes. We had 4 different food stations so nobody had to wait in line. We proudly served 130 guests with the longest wait being 5-10 minutes. And since it was my sister, we went the extra mile by cooking homemade Catalan food such as Spanish Omelette, Escalivada and Croquettes. We spent roughly $3.50/person with a lot of extra food. If I did it again, I would reduce the cost to $2.00/person. It also worked out great when people neglected to RSVP. A great way to reduce the panic attacks!

Dessert

The bride and groom were both not huge fans of cake. We decided to create a cookie bar. Months prior the wedding, we slowly were baking cookies. This reduced stress and costs. Fortunately, the groom’s mother was a skilled baker and made a stunning cake for the wedding. Our alternative was to get a simple cake at a local grocery store just for the couple and wedding party.

Alcohol

We wanted to make sure people enjoyed their time, without making us go broke with a traditional bar. We balanced the alcohol with beer, wine and sangria.  Sangria stretched a lot further and used cheap box wine. It was a great touch, and worked out wonderfully for those who weren’t huge wine or beer fans. It also let us get a better selection of wine and beer. With the food we were averaging just under $7.00/person.

Photographer

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

Finding a good photographer was something we didn’t want to compromise on. We were fortunate of finding an AMAZING photographer! We found her on Thumbtack. It’s a great way to have all of the vendors come to YOU. This reduces a LOT of time and makes it easier to compare photographers and their portfolios, and all within your budget.

Tables and Benches

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

Since we are a tent company — this was a little more unconventional. My dad handmade 20 longleaf pine tables with a light stain. They were absolutely stunning! We also had corresponding benches. It was the same cost to make as to rent. We decided to make a good product and rent out for future use. Our tables and benches have already been paid for in future events (removing it from the budget). Regardless of being a rental company or not, the benches were a lot easier to transport from the ceremony to reception sites. The farm tables reduced the amount of decor since the main focus is the table. We were able to create a simple runner and flowers for decoration.

Tent

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

Yes. we are the tent company, so this doesn’t factor in as much as a cost reduction. For those who haven’t seen stretch tents — these are an elegant alternative to the typical canopy. Even when you are paying for the stretch tent rental, you save time and money on decorating. No more expensive draping to hide the framework of the tent! We decorated the tent with some homemade bunting that I had made. I was able to find scrap fabric from a local store that recycles crafting materials called Who Gives a Scrap. It was time intensive — but I made over 200ft for less than $20.00. This added a beautiful aesthetic and took 10 minutes to put in place after the tent was pitched.

Musicians

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

The couple was unsure of whether they wanted dancing at their wedding. We decided to compromise with having local musicians play rather than a “raging DJ” for an afternoon wedding. We wanted to create a coffee house atmosphere where it wasn’t awkward if people decided to dance or not. We hired a couple that does regular performances at coffee houses and bars in our city. For those of you in Colorado, they are called The Two of Us, and have a sound similar to the Civil Wars. The perfect touch for our outdoor wedding.

Getaway Car

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

We worked with our local branch of the Vintage Motor Car Club of America. The president connected me with local members who would be willing to drive my sister around the block. We ended up with a beautiful 1932 Chevy Roadster. It was a great touch for the wedding and we simply donated a fee to the club.

Flowers

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

In a series of unexpected events, we actually ended up using flowers from my grandma’s garden. With the original intention of using lavender for the wedding, we substituted it with Russian Sage. This was a beautiful touch to the wedding and looked absolutely spectacular! It also meant a lot that the flowers had come from our grandmother. We “recycled” flowers by using the ones at the ceremony in the reception.  We had originally planned on buying lavender in bulk from a local farm, and adding in baby’s breath. This would’ve still kept costs under $300.00.

Teamwork

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

Since this was an international wedding (South African and American), we had the majority of guests travelling to Colorado. We took the old school mindset of having everyone chip in. Friends helped do makeup, hair, calligraphy and arranged bouquets. We couldn’t have done it without them!

Decor

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

We have had many friends who recently got married. A lot of them with wedding decor in storage. We were able to borrow enough decor that we had our own unique style, without breaking the bank or copying somebody’s wedding.

In conclusion, we had an elegant outdoor wedding for $5,000.  It was a lot more stressful and labor intensive with all the DIY projects, but still ended up being worthit. Fortunately, with the couple living outside of Colorado, we were able to keep a relatively stress-free environment for them. Nothing says labor of love more than you whole family building tables for your wedding!

For any questions about the event please contact jenna@tentrix.us.
Featured photographers: Philip M, and Erny Photo Co.

Venue
Venue

The beautiful venue that hosted the fall wedding

Zoom
Ceremony Site
Ceremony Site

The ceremony site with the handmade benches when the guests begin to arrive

Zoom
Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids

The bridal party with their DIY bouquets

Zoom
DIY Dessert Bar
DIY Dessert Bar

A selection of homemade cookies and the wedding cake

Zoom
Tapas
Tapas

Meat and cheese foodboard for the tapas heavy appetizers

Zoom
Stretch tent interior
Stretch tent interior

The stretch tent interior when the guests begin eating

Zoom
1932 Chevy Roadster
1932 Chevy Roadster

The 1932 Chevy Roadster that took the couple away

Zoom