Image: Matthew Esman | Unsplash
Let's get ready to have an outdoor wedding

The love you and your fiancé feel for each other is unlimited. Your budget, on the other hand, has some limitations.

And while the two of you definitely want and deserve to have a beautiful wedding, you don’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get it.

Here’s some fantastic news: By hosting the wedding and reception in your backyard, you not only will save a significant amount of money by not renting a venue, but you can also plan a more casual menu that costs less than a sit-down dinner.

As for how to make sure your backyard wedding and reception go smoothly, consider the following tips:

1. Communicate with Your Guests

Some of your guests might be accustomed to attending formal indoor weddings at a church or other venues, so they already have their fancy suit and high-heeled shoes ready for yours. To make clear that your wedding and reception will be al fresco, include this information in your wedding invitations. Opt for a photo invitation that includes a picture of the two of you in your backyard and then advise your guests on the invitation itself to dress according to the season. You might also want to note that casual clothing and comfortable shoes are encouraged.

2. Choose Your Focal Point

Walk around your backyard with your sweetie and decide where the ceremony will take place and where you plan to have guests sit or even stand. If your backyard features an old oak tree, that could serve as a great focal point for the ceremony. Likewise, if you have a large grass yard, you can create a focal spot with a trellis or arch covered with flowers. Additionally, consider where guests will sit for the reception. For instance, you might like the look of a number of small tables placed around the yard, or you could keep things casual by borrowing or renting picnic tables.

3. Rent Some Much-Needed Equipment

Rather than serving food on paper plates with plastic forks and spoons that will ultimately end up in the landfill, consider renting some china, glasses, and cutlery. Or, if your guest list is on the small side, use your own dishes and perhaps supplement them with some additional pieces that you find at a local consignment shop. Other items you might want to consider renting include chairs — they can always be moved from the ceremony area to the reception tables to save on costs — and a couple of porta potties that can be positioned as far away from your focal point as possible. Additionally, consider ordering small personalized bottles of hand sanitizer with your names and wedding date on them, and place them in baskets on a table near the portable toilets.

4. Have Fun with the Food

When it comes to food and drinks, hire a local caterer for your reception, or to save money, ask some of your closest friends and family to help — at least the ones who are talented in the kitchen and/or on the barbecue. You can buy large boxes of burger patties, sausages, hot dogs, buns, and side dishes and then enlist a buddy of your fiancé to work the grill. Set up a couple of beverage stations, one for adult beverages and one for non-alcoholic options. To keep drinks ice cold, either buy or borrow some big coolers. Or, if you love to entertain, you could register for a couple of Yeti coolers, and if they arrive before your ceremony, you can use them during the reception. Additionally, have a table ready for your cake, which you can order from a bakery or hire a friend to bake for you.

Enjoy Your Amazing Day!

You don’t need to put thousands of dollars in charges on your Visa card or take out a hefty loan to pay for a lavish wedding. Instead, all you need are two people who are madly in love (check), a nice backyard (check), and some tips (check) that will help you host a lovely and budget-friendly outdoor wedding ceremony and reception.