Back in August of 2022, my husband I decided over margaritas to have a wedding in our backyard with just our closest friends and family. There were only 35 people in attendance and it was the perfect amount for our backyard in Ohio. We were planning on getting married in Vegas in April of 2023 but when a weekend became available in October, we thought “why not just do something??” Our families had been giving us shit for not inviting them to our Vegas elopement so we decided to do things backwards. Our backyard wedding was mainly just a reception and a chance for all of us to party. We kept things on the lower end but still had a night that we will never forget. As an elopement photographer, I wanted to share the things that we did to keep our wedding budget low and affordable.
1. Disposable Cameras and 35mm Film
When looking through this blog, you’ll notice the nostalgic and retro feel throughout the photos. Instead of having a photographer document our backyard wedding, we gave disposable cameras to all of the couples that attended. I also had my 35mm film that I used for fun photos to take throughout the night. The best part about having disposable cameras at our wedding was the anticipation of getting them developed afterwards. When we got the link for our gallery, we loved laughing and getting to see how everyone documented the night.
2. Open Bar Cart
Our bar cart consisted of various liquors but also mixers for everyone to enjoy. We had a steel tub that was full of ice and other drinks including beers, coke, sprite, diet coke, capri suns and water. We also had a tub of mini fireball shots in honor of my mom and they were a huge hit. It was simple for everyone to just grab what they wanted to drink and keep refilling it throughout the night.
Total price: $500 – We got all of the alcohol from The Party Source.
3. Olive Garden Catering
We’ve always been huge pasta lovers so it only made sense to have Olive Garden at our wedding. We went on so many Olive Garden dates at the start of our relationship so it just made sense. Olive Garden has great catering options and to be honest, we ordered WAY too much food. We had a ton left over and most people got to take breadsticks home with them at the end of the night. We could have easily cut this price in half but I was so worried about running out of food that I just ordered a shit ton.
4. The Rentals
Since we were having an October wedding, we wanted to make sure we had a tent to save us from any wild weather that may come upon us. It was a beautiful day but a really chilly night. We rented the tent for $500 and added string lights for an additional $60. We also rented a boho glamping tent from our besties, The Pop Up BNB for $374.50.
For the vintage couches, rugs and decor that you see throughout – it was actually a gift from our friend Dahlia Vintage Rentals but her prices are more than affordable. I highly recommend Dahlia Vintage for any wedding or elopement rentals that you need in Cincinnati and the entire Ohio area. Jackie and her family are incredible people. We absolutely love love love them.
For tables and chairs, we rented them for $150. To add in our vintage flare, we rented disco balls and everyone loved them. It was such a fun statement to have around the party! The disco balls were $60 to rent.
5. Our Simple Desserts
We had a beautiful cake by Enjoy Calliope and our best friend made us halloween inspired sugar cookies that were DELICIOUS. The cupcakes were just from Walmart so people could take them to go, if they wanted.
6. Dried Florals
All of the florals at our backyard wedding were dried besides the fresh flowers on our cake. I loved the dried feel and how we could use it for anything we wanted afterwards. The flowers are still statement pieces throughout our house! We gifted flower crowns to our wedding parties, corsages to our grandparents + parents and Gage had a dried boutonnière.
7. Our Attire
My floral dress was only $75 from NastyGal and I absolutely adored it. I wore jewelry from my Moms collection and my boots from Target that I already had but those bad boys were off by the time we danced. Gage’s wedding attire was from Gap and only $50 for the shirt and pants. He already had the shoes and beanie so win-win!
The Grand Total: $3570.64
We’ve talked about our wedding endlessly and there is truly nothing we would change, except cutting back on the food and alcohol. It is such a hard thing to gage!
Our biggest advice for having a backyard wedding is do whatever in the fuck you want to do. Chances are, you’re having a backyard wedding because you don’t want all of that traditional shit. Creating a comfortable, fun and relaxing environment was the main goal for us and our family + friends because we’re laid back people. We didn’t have a set timeline and didn’t really have a plan for the day besides wanting to just enjoy everyones company. We had the time of our lives and our backyard will forever be a special place with many memories.