Are you dreaming of saying “I do” under the blue sky, surrounded by nature’s beauty, but don’t want to spend a fortune? You’re not the only one. Many couples are choosing outdoor weddings these days, as they offer natural beauty, fresh air, and flexibility. But planning an outdoor wedding with a tight budget can also be tricky. From venue to food, there is no shortage of things to spend money on, so the cost of a wedding can add up quickly. That’s why we’re here to help. In this article from Viva Wedding Photography, we’ll show you some awesome outdoor wedding ideas on a budget that will make your big day a dream come true.
Budget-friendly outdoor wedding locations
1. The mountains
No matter the season – be it spring, summer, fall, or winter – the majestic mountains of North America never fail to captivate with their awe-inspiring beauty. Therefore, when searching for a venue, consider one that provides a scenic view of these majestic peaks.
The breathtaking setting will serve as a picturesque backdrop, adding an extra touch of magic to your special day. So, whether you choose to exchange vows atop a splendid mountain or amidst the tranquil beauty of the foothills, one thing is certain – your mountain wedding will be etched in your guests’ hearts for years to come.
2. State and national parks
State and national parks are home to some of the most beautiful landscapes across America. From stunning desert scenes and majestic canyons to serene lakes, these parks offer an unparalleled setting for couples seeking an extraordinary wedding experience amidst nature’s grandeur.
These government-managed parks are exceptional outdoor wedding venues that provide a wide range of event services, from simple venue-only bookings to all-inclusive wedding packages. With their enticing combination of budget-friendly rental rates and gorgeous surroundings, these parks have become highly sought-after wedding destinations. Therefore, it is recommended to book your spot quickly.
3. Community spaces
Searching for affordable event venues in your local area as well as nearby neighborhoods. Events can be held at public parks, gardens, community centers, and recreation areas. While they may not provide catering or event staff, couples looking to save money can take advantage of their BYO policies.
If you are searching for a natural, serene, and enchanting wedding venue, consider having your ceremony by the picturesque shores of a charming pond. Ponds are unique ecosystems often located against the backdrop of rolling hills, grassy meadows, or at the foot of impressive mountain ranges. These serene habitats are surrounded by ducks, butterflies, and other native species, creating a straight-out-of-fairytale location for your nuptials.
Are you in search of an affordable wedding venue in a bustling city? Do you live in a high-rise or near a restaurant with a rooftop? An intimate wedding with the closest family members and friends on a rooftop is a great way to save money. Just remember to check with the building manager to make sure there are no safety or security concerns.
6. Nature conservancies
Many nature conservancies host events to increase awareness about their organization and raise additional funds. While most conservancies may not offer event staff or onsite wedding services, they typically provide low venue rentals for couples who prefer outdoor wedding ideas on a budget. However, it is important to note that you are responsible for ensuring the venue is left clean and undamaged after use.
7. Your backyard
What could go wrong with a wedding in the backyard? Whether you desire complete flexibility for your big day or wish to save money on wedding decorations, the backyard always serves as an ideal wedding venue to consider. Hosting a backyard wedding offers the advantage of complete freedom to personalize and make the event unique, reflecting your own style and personality.
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Outdoor wedding decoration ideas on a budget
Having the outdoors as your backdrop makes it easy to create a picturesque wedding setting with relatively little effort or expense by including things like:
8. Hanging lanterns
You can buy affordable lanterns at your nearby craft or dollar store. To hang them, simply attach twine, fishing line, or any other type of cordage. You might want to enhance the ambiance by placing LED tea lights or pillar candles inside the lanterns. Consider suspending them in trees, arranging them on reception tables, or using them to illuminate wedding signs and guest walkways.
9. DIY Wedding Sign
There’s no need to throw money at the welcome sign when planning an outdoor wedding on a budget. It’s totally possible to create beautiful signs that complement your wedding theme and stand out from the crowd with everyday materials (e.g. leftover wood, chalkboard paint, hot glue) and a touch of creativity.
You can utilize these DIY signs to warmly welcome and guide guests, such as directing them from the parking area to the ceremony or from the ceremony to the reception. Additionally, these signs can be used to draw attention to important areas, such as restrooms, serving stations, the bar, and the dance floor.
10. Geometric wedding arch
To make a striking statement against your outdoor wedding backdrop, we suggest incorporating geometric shapes and bold lines into your end-of-the-aisle image. Geometric wedding arches are designed to create a visually attractive shape that adds drama to the wedding setting without blocking the natural landscape. Direct guests’ attention to the bride and groom by adorning the focal point with a stunning wedding arch made of metallic, wooden, or woven materials.
11. Antique photo display
Displaying vintage photographs is a wonderful way to honor your family’s history. Bring attention to the persons who have had the most impact on your life and your family’s journey to this point.
If you have a small family or are unfamiliar with their old days, it’s perfectly fine. Instead, you can gather unconventional frames and use them to display artwork. To create a memorable and nostalgic statement wedding décor, consider using construction paper, foiling, or fabric to fill each frame.
12. Drink coolers
When considering outdoor wedding decoration ideas on a budget, instead of spending a bunch of money on outdoor refrigerators, use everyday items as your wedding drink coolers. By putting in some effort, dedicating some time, and following the appropriate tutorial, you can transform unused items, such as a wheelbarrow or canoe, into a stylish outdoor ice chest.
13. String lights
In place of covering the night sky with a canvas tent top, opt for an affordable open-air wedding. Create the illusion of a tent top using string lights for illumination. In addition to creating a simple yet stunning reception look, a string light top makes it easy for the event to transition from day to night.
14. Weather-related welcome gifts
When planning an outdoor event, it is important to incorporate weather protection into your décor plans. To ensure the comfort of our guests, you may need to offer various items such as bug spray, blankets, cold water, or hot chocolate, depending on the weather conditions. Create a guest welcome station that includes all the essentials to make sure your wedding guests are comfortable.
15. Budget-friendly seating
Save money on event rentals by using inexpensive outdoor wedding seating ideas for your ceremony. We recommend using hay bales, stumps, or lightweight event chairs that can easily be transported from the ceremony to the reception. This will eliminate the requirement of renting two chairs for each guest. Also, to keep clothes from getting caught on logs, chairs, or bales, it’s a good idea to cover them with soft blankets or smooth throws.
16. Floral aisle markers
Large tropical flower aisle arrangements will surely transform your nuptials into a tropical paradise. To bring a classic, romantic look, use inexpensive flowers like carnations and roses to make huge bouquets that may be placed along the aisle.
Plus, these floor decorations can be repurposed as centerpieces or displayed on tables at your reception. Opting to reuse decorations multiple times is a wise decision when your goal is to save money. Not to mention, it also helps maintain a cohesive and seamless overall design scheme and color palette.
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Outdoor wedding reception ideas on a budget
17. Old Window Pane as a Seating Chart
Your friends and family members would appreciate having a table assignment chart at the wedding reception to help them find their seats. If you’re on a budget for your big day, the table assignment chart might be a small expense that you need to save money for. So why not unleash your creativity by repurposing an old window and using it as a unique canvas to write the names for your seating chart?
18. Shaded lounge area
Whether your outdoor wedding is more in the style of a classic farm party or a whimsical bohemian affair, ensure your guests have a cool, shady place to escape the sun. To protect your loved ones from the sun’s rays and the heat, create a tranquil and comfortable outdoor lounge area nestled under the shade of trees or within the confines of an event tent. We highly recommend setting up a low cocktail or coffee table and surrounding it with soft rugs, wicker furniture, bean bags, floor cushions, and blankets.
19. Lawn games
You can easily entertain your guests at an outdoor wedding without spending a fortune by incorporating lawn games (such as Giant Jenga, Bocce Ball, and Cornhole). They are both affordable and very easy to set up.
From our experience, lawn games are a wonderful choice for events that are exclusively for adults. They also can be played at family-friendly outdoor weddings, as long as you choose ones that are appropriate for all ages. Gather a supply of water guns for summer weddings, and consider planning a fun snowball fight for winter nuptials.
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20. A popping wedding playlist
Dancing is essential at each wedding, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on entertainment. Instead of allocating a substantial portion of your budget towards hiring a live band, consider creating an extraordinary wedding playlist and spend your money on an outdoor dance floor. To DJ your wedding, all you need is a smartphone, a pair of high-quality Bluetooth speakers, and a stable internet connection.
21. Polaroid photo display
Use a Polaroid camera, twine cords, and some clothespins to make a lovely, heartfelt photo display. Wrap the yarn around the trunk of a huge tree and adorn the twine with fancy clothespins or giant paperclips. You can jazz up your design with some string lights and a Polaroid station next to the showcase. Don’t forget to invite visitors to the station to snap a photo and contribute to the album. By the end of the evening, you’ll have a treasure trove of beautiful memories to put in the trunk.
22. An outdoor photo booth
When it comes to throwing an outdoor wedding on a budget, don’t feel the need to spend a huge sum of money on a fancy photo booth. You can totally make it on your own with some simple steps. Repurpose the wedding arch and gather a collection of enjoyable props such as boas, masks, hats, and jewelry. Then, encourage your guests to capture and share their joyful moments on social media by using your personalized wedding hashtag.
23. A coffee mug gift
Every couple desires to give their wedding guests a gift that will be appreciated and used. Let’s express your gratitude with affordable, functional, and truly one-of-a-kind souvenirs: coffee mugs.
In the months leading up to your wedding, scour secondhand shops and antique malls to collect the most unique and artistic mugs. Arrange the cups on a bookshelf, ladders, or in an antique pantry for display. Invite guests to select the mug that they like most and fill it with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate before they leave. This would be nothing sort of a lovely way to farewell!
24. Wedding wish tree
Having a wish tree at your wedding is one of the most heartfelt touches. It is a creative replacement for standard guest books and may be utilized to make a stunning centerpiece for your outdoor ceremony and reception.
Set up a table where guests can express their well wishes for the newlyweds by writing them on paper, cards, or notelets and then attaching them to leaves. As more messages are added, the wish tree will transform into a stunning and deeply meaningful art installation.
Inexpensive food and drink ideas for outdoor weddings
25. Food covers
Pests should be a concern at every outdoor wedding, regardless of the time of year. You certainly wouldn’t want a nuisance like flies or fleas to spoil all the time and effort you’ve invested in creating an exceptional wedding menu. Keep appetizers, food bars, and the cake safe from flying pests and melting temperatures by using affordable food covers.
26. Self-service station
For the purpose of an outdoor wedding on a budget, consider implementing smaller satellite stations instead of having an open bar or buffet line. Select cocktails that can be easily prepared in large quantities, like punch, and delicious dishes that are convenient for prepping. Guests can easily serve themselves when they need a refill or a fresh plate, which will eliminate expensive charges for catering and bartending services.
Consider asking members of the wedding party or other attendees (whom you are close to) to take turns supervising important guest areas. They can help with tasks such as refilling pitchers, replacing empty trays, and other similar responsibilities.
27. Grazing table
Food can easily become one of the most costly aspects of your wedding, particularly during peak wedding season when catering companies are in high demand. Instead of having an expensive sit-down meal, save money by setting up gourmet grazing tables.
Similar to a giant charcuterie board, grazing tables are edible displays filled with a variety of meats, cheeses, candies, dips, chips, and other delectable snacks. To create a visually appealing tablescape, fill empty spaces on your grazing table with affordable items such as crackers, in-season fruits, home-grown veggies, or pre-baked pastries like croissants, miniature cinnamon rolls, and cookies.
28. Sweet or savory skewers
These inexpensive wedding finger foods are simple to make in advance and won’t take you much time in the kitchen, making them ideal for any time of year. Whether you’re hosting a tropical-themed summer wedding or getting married in a winter wonderland, the perfect seasoning blend has the power to turn cheap bulk chicken breasts into finger-licking treats.
29. Seasonal sangria
Sangria is a favorite choice on our list of outdoor wedding ideas on a budget. This refreshing beverage is both versatile and affordable. With an abundance of white and red wine recipes available, you can easily discover the perfect drink that complements the style and season of your outdoor wedding. You will be able to save a significant amount of money on alcohol by preparing bulk batches of sangria ahead of time. Don’t forget to add cost-effective, in-season fruits, herbs, and spices, making your sangria more delicious.
>>> Read more: 20 Best Signature Drinks For Wedding We Recommend In 2023
30. Potluck wedding reception
If you’re on a tight budget and finding it challenging to provide food for all the guests you want to invite to your wedding, one option to consider is hosting a potluck event. Include a sincere message in your invitations, expressing your genuine intention to create wonderful memories with all your loved ones. Then, kindly ask your guests to contribute to the occasion by bringing a side dish, an appetizer, or a snack rather than presenting gifts.
>>> Further reading:
- How Much To Tip Wedding Vendors? (Lastest Guide 2023)
- Comprehensive Wedding Planning Checklist For A Big Day In 2023
- The Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Best Day To Get Married
An outdoor wedding is a great way to tie the knot with nature as your witness. But you don’t have to break the bank to make it happen. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can create a beautiful and memorable celebration that suits your vision and financial situation. We hope you’ve found some outdoor wedding ideas on a budget that you can use or adapt for your own big day. If you’re looking for more wedding ideas, check out other articles from Viva Wedding Photography. Thank you for reading, and congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!