Not everybody wants an extravagant wedding. Maybe just the thought of those bridezillas on TV makes you shudder. If what you want is a simple backyard wedding ceremony with just your family and closest friends, we think you may be onto something, and we want to help! Starting with customizable wedding invitations that fit your budget, we’ve put together some ideas and tips for planning a backyard wedding that’s both beautiful and affordable.
Backyard Wedding Invitations
You don’t have to spend a fortune on backyard wedding invitations. Selecting invitations from a budget wedding invitation website like Invite Shop will help you save money you’d rather spend on a talented wedding photographer or the honeymoon of your dreams. Invite Shop even lets you design your own wedding invitations using their wide variety of templates!
For a backyard wedding, we recommend a floral or tree motif like the examples below and above. You could easily dress the invitation up with a fancy trim, or just stick to a classic square design. Be sure to specify on the invitation that the wedding is casual if you are planning a low-key ceremony.
Build a Simple Backyard Wedding Altar
A wedding arch, trellis, or arbor will be the backdrop for all of your most important wedding ceremony photos, so you should spend some time thinking about this element of your backyard wedding. We think a DIY wedding arch is a simple project that most couples can assemble on their own or with the help of their craftier friends. The example below uses three 2x4s, some fine flowing fabric, and two tasteful floral arrangements.
Another simple idea for a DIY backyard wedding altar is to dangle long strips of fine fabric from sturdy rope or thick twine, like the example below. We recommend intermixing a variety of vintage fabric, including silk, satin, and lace, to create a pleasing blend of textures. We like how the example below sticks to a neutral color scheme so that the backdrop isn’t distracting in photos.
Dress up Basic Folding Chairs
Folding chairs are about as boring as it gets, but with a little imagination, you can dress them up for a beautiful backyard wedding ceremony and reception. One of the best ideas we’ve seen is adorning wedding folding chairs with burlap bows or burlap drapings, such as the example below.
Decorate with Mason Jars
Mason jars are a big hit at weddings right now, and they fit right in with a simple backyard wedding theme. You can have guests drink from mason jars at the reception, use mason jars to create DIY floral arrangements, place tea candles inside them for simple centerpieces, and more. For tons of ideas for how to use mason jars in your backyard wedding, check out our blog post on mason jar wedding ideas! We love the idea below that pairs mason jars and empty Coca Cola bottles filled with flowers for DIY centerpieces.
Design Your Own Backyard Photo Backdrop
Photo booths and backdrops are a big hit at weddings these days and lots of couples are trying their hand at making their own. While there are tons of DIY ideas out there, we think the easiest idea is to use a piece of plywood, cover it with wallpaper (or even just really nice wrapping paper), and attach thrifted, vintage photo frames that have had their glass and backing removed. Then you simply cut out sections of the plywood where the photo frames will be so that guests can poke their faces through and snap a fun wedding memory.
Provide Wedding Yard Games for Guests
Need some ideas to entertain your guests at a backyard wedding? How about planning some yard games for the reception! Simple games of badminton, cornhole, croquet, and bocce ball will keep guests laughing in friendly competition until it’s time to cut the cake or start the dancing. Some vendors even sell personalized yard games, such as the example below.
Light the Reception with String Lights
One of the simplest ways you can dress up your backyard wedding is with string lights. Christmas lights are super affordable and can be wrapped around the trees in your backyard, suspended from the eaves of your home, or attached to the railings of a back porch. You can also drape them from posts above your reception seating for a starry night effect your guests will love, like the example below.
Simplify the Reception Buffet
If you’re looking to save money on your reception buffet, you can offer a “grazing bar” instead of springing for a full-out, fancy meal. Here are some great, affordable backyard wedding food ideas we’ve seen:
- Flavored popcorn bars
- Root beer float bars
- S’mores stations
- Baked potato bars
- Build-your-own taco bar
All of the ideas above would be a big hit with your guests without breaking your budget. The taco bar and baked potato bars are more filling options if your wedding reception will be close to dinner time, while the snack-style buffets are a good idea for a mid-afternoon wedding when a meal might not be expected.
Use Household Furniture for Your Cake Table
Instead of renting a table to be used for your wedding cake and other wedding desserts, simply use your household table for the purpose. If your current table isn’t the right size or isn’t up to the task, you could simply borrow one from a friend or build one yourself out of old pallets. If the table at your house is too beat up to look good as a dessert table, simply drape it with a pretty tablecloth or go to a fabric store for a pretty tablecloth option you can make yourself out of nylon lace, white damask brocade, or any glossy, sateen fabric.
Use Rustic Items to Display Reception Food
Who says you even have to use a table to offer food and drinks to your guests? While tables have their advantages, you can get creative with items you might have in your garage, like an old metal canoe or a wood ladder with 2×8 boards inserted between the steps. Not only are these kinds of options fun conversation pieces for guests, but they also work great if you are having a rustic themed backyard wedding.
Consider Picnic Style Seating
If your wedding will be intimate, and you’d rather not spend money on rented chairs, you might consider picnic style seating. Have your friends and family sit on blankets to watch the ceremony and then enjoy the reception. An alternative to this is having your guests sit on a variety of bohemian poufs, ottomans, and sitting pillows. However, be mindful of your older guests, who may not be able to sit comfortably on the ground or on pillow seating. You may wish to have a few regular chairs on hand for senior relatives who will be attending.
These are just a few ideas to keep a backyard wedding simple and affordable. We hope they inspire a simple yet lovely wedding that is as beautiful as it is budget friendly!