How to Have an Awesome and Affordable Backyard Wedding

Having an affordable backyard wedding is possible with a little planning and creativity. Learn how to host a fun backyard wedding with these tips!Planning a wedding can be both exciting and stressful. As the costs of weddings rise, many people’s budgets aren’t large enough to accommodate all the wants and needs of a traditional wedding.

The Knot’s 2014 Real Weddings survey found that the average cost of a wedding is $31,213.

Some people don’t see the practicality of high cost weddings; a friend who runs a Charlotte limo rental has mentioned that his personal friends always feel that to them, that money could go towards a home, retirement, or starting a family.

It makes sense to plan a low-cost wedding to fund your other financial goals, and having a simple backyard wedding can be a good option to save money.

Want to learn how to create an awesome backyard wedding? Follow the tips below.

Planning a Backyard Wedding

Depending on your situation, you may be able to host a wedding from your own backyard. To determine if your space is a good fit, consider some of the following factors:

  • Size – When you plan a backyard wedding, you’ll likely have to have a smaller guest list. This is especially true if you also want to have a reception in your yard.
  • Layout – For some couples, a backyard wedding works well if the space directly behind the house is level and has fewer trees that might obstruct the ceremony. However, you may also use the trees to your advantage for decorations. Determine what’s best for the space as you assess your backyard wedding setup.
  • Indoor Accommodations – Your guests will likely still need to go in and out of your home once in a while. For example, guests may need to use the bathroom, and you may need to have space to store food before the reception. Additionally, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, you may have to move the party inside at any time, and you’ll have to have room for everyone. Be sure to take all of this into consideration as you plan your backyard wedding.

Don’t think your space is suitable? You may be able to ask a friend or family member to host your wedding in their backyard. They may even offer it outright if you talk about your money savings goals! Just make sure to handle all the planning to make it easier on them.

Landscaping for a Backyard Wedding

Depending on the season you get married in, you may be able to plan the perfect backyard wedding on the cheap in little time.

For example, if it’s springtime and you’re doing a summer backyard wedding, you can work on the basic trimming and seeding to make your yard look great.

However, if you have a year or more to create the backyard space for your dream wedding, follow these tips:

  • Designate an altar space – Many couples use white archways or tall pillars to designate an altar space.
  • Choose a dance space – Does your home have a good space for dancing and partying, such as a patio? Before the wedding, determine your layout and keep the space clean. Try sweeping or washing the patio space off. You can also use a deck as part of your space, but make sure it’s sound before allowing large groups of people to dance on it.
  • Green up your lawn – Give yourself plenty of time to seed your lawn and mow it to fit your needs. Pruning bushes and trimming tree limbs so they’re not only safe for your guests, but neatly trimmed, is also a good strategy in the weeks leading up to your backyard wedding.
  • Plant flowers – Do you have a favorite color you want to incorporate into your wedding? Plant flowers that are full and colorful that can make the space even better. Perennials last longer than annuals – choose plants that will last.

Decorating for an Affordable Backyard Wedding

Now that the space is set up the way you want, it’s time to think about the remaining decorations. That includes strands of old-fashioned outdoor lights, centerpieces for tables, and decorations for chairs. Many of these items are easy to make or affordable to buy.

Ask friends and family if you can borrow their items, too, so you can save money while also giving them a chance to participate in your big day. If all else fails, try looking on Craigslist for lightly used or leftover decorations.

For your ceremony, you should provide guests with some seating options. Rent or borrow chairs and line them up in rows so they have something comfortable to sit on during your ceremony. You can decorate chairs easily with bows. Slipcovers are also an elegant way to decorate chairs, and they can be bought, made by hand, or rented.

If your party is going to last later than dusk, it’s also a good idea to consider lighting options for guests to enjoy the evening. You may consider citronella candles in case of bugs, but it’s also a good idea to have white hanging lamps to illuminate the yard.

The right lighting can set the mood, too. Consider the type of atmosphere you want when you choose how to light your reception.

Planning Your Reception after a Backyard Wedding

The vows have been said and the kiss has occurred – it’s time to celebrate! However, before you cut the cake and perform your first dance, it’s important to think about the food and drinks that work best for your affordable backyard wedding.


Consider simple food that won’t spoil, such as sandwiches and fresh fruit and vegetables. Setting up your food options like a buffet cuts down on costs, and if you make the food yourself (or get it from a wholesale store), you’ll save even more money!

Having a picnic theme for your wedding food is a good way to bring charm and whimsy to your backyard wedding. You could even use picnic baskets or checkered tablecloths to tie the theme together.

Watch out for food that may be vulnerable to certain conditions, such as temperature. You might want to hold off on putting out food the heat might affect until after the temperature drops. However, if you do want to have these foods, consider keeping them in a shaded area for short periods of time. You could also have your reception later on in the day to avoid issues.

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The Cake

Depending on your budget, the cost of a wedding cake may be outside of your budget. According to a Huffington Post article, the national average cost of cakes and desserts at weddings was $451 in 2013, and is likely to be higher now.

If a cake isn’t practical for your budget, cupcakes or other fun-sized dessert treats you or a skilled family member can make may be a good choice. Or you could simply get a small cake, rather than a lavish wedding cake not all of your guests will want to eat.


Thinking of some drink options for your party? Lemonade is a great option you can keep in pitchers and serve in cute cups. Make multiple batches of drink mixes and have a friend or family member refill the pitchers occasionally during the reception.

Ice chests and coolers also keep drinks cold, so having options like soda cans in open barrels filled with ice may be a good way to allow guests easy access to drinks. It also reduces waste, as the soda cans can be recycled after the party.


When it comes to entertainment at your wedding, it might be tempting to splurge and hire a DJ. However, your space may not have the room to accommodate their equipment.

Instead of stressing about this extra cost, create a playlist based on your favorite songs and the typical song staples that every party needs. Then, ask a friend to monitor the songs as they play on a stereo system hooked up to your computer or other music device. Your guests may not even miss the DJ!

It’s completely possible to have a fun and affordable backyard wedding that stays within your budget. With a little planning and foresight, you and your guests can create some great memories and look to a future full of fun!