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A backyard wedding and reception can cost far less than other affairs. here are a couple you can plan yourself.
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Budget: $15,000 • Guests: 110
This outdoor ceremony begins promptly at 11 a.m., say Leanne Silicato and Casey Kieffer of Make My Day Event Planning in Rehoboth Beach. Guests will sprawl across your backyard in creative seating—think rented wooden benches and bales of hay covered with plush blankets—then, for the reception, push the benches together to create lounge-like, ottoman seating.
Outfit yourself and your bridal party with simple but elegant florals. The bride will be resplendent with a mix of white, green, yellow and orange wildflowers. Showcasing simplicity at its best, the bridesmaids will carry a single calla lily with natural branches mixed in, with matching boutonnières for the groomsmen. The ceremony flowers for family members are nosegay and lilies. (Try Silk & Sands Florist, about $440 for a bridal party of four.)
The reception, at 11:30 a.m., will boast vibrant oranges, crisp greens and bright yellow flavors, making for a refreshing, citrus-themed fete. A daytime event not only saves loads on lighting, it usually saves on alcohol, too, because guests tend to drink less.
Carry the sweet citrus theme through the menu—lemon-pepper salmon, lime-infused chicken breast, refreshing salad with citrus vinaigrette and fresh Mandarin oranges, and color-themed veggies: squash, zucchini and carrots. Spread the buzz with your bar options, too: Mike’s Hard Lemonade, fruit friendly beer such as Corona and Blue Moon, and your signature cocktail, Dewey Beach’s famous Orange Crush. Add a delicate two-layer cake, lemon zest and white chocolate-orange sponge cake decorated with fruit, natch. (Try Cirelli’s Catering, around $6,300 including tip.)
Though six to eight hours of photography may be typical, it’s unnecessary. Cut time and save cash by having a friend who’s handy with a camera take shots of hair and makeup, and ask your photographer to come 15 minutes before the reception begins. (Try the Sam Ellis Photography Gold Package, around $2,000.)
Of course, there will be dancing. Why not to the sounds of acoustic guitar? Sultry standards and island themes will groove you and your guests through cocktail hour until the sun goes down, with traditional selections for the ceremony, too. (Try vocalist-guitarist Keith Mack, around $500.)
Obviously, you’ll need to seat your guests. Expect to spend around $1,250 for full rentals (tables, chairs, linens, wooden benches, glasses, etc.) And keep in mind the leap of faith you’ll take with an outdoor event. If you need one, a deposit on a tent will cost about $1,000. You will typically be able to cancel the order three days in advance without having to pay in full, but remember: Read your rental contract and get it in writing.
The jury is out on favors. Though a popular staple, your guests won’t miss them if you don’t have them. On a budget, go for creative, cute and affordable, and make it one favor per couple. The perfect little something for this event may be mini-buckets of citrus-hued sugar candies from Candy Kitchen ($100, 55 count).
On your big day, you’ll need all the help you can get. Having the aid of a professional event planner is possible on a budget. Make My Day’s Day Of package ($2,000) provides coordination services and decor design-set up. That means a planner will make sure everything goes without a hitch–—and that your tables look perfect, too. In this case, the Make My Day girls envision large, variously sized glass vases brimming with clementines, limes and lemons in water.
Total Spent: About $13,590 (about $12,090 if you don’t need a tent)
Quick tips from my Make My Day girls
- Having your caterer also take care of your cake almost always saves money.
- Tell your caterer you’re OK with some alcohol selections being self-serve.
- Have a bridesmaid do all your pick-ups, helping to avoid delivery fees.
- If you’re having a backyard soirée, plan ahead and plant gorgeous annuals that will bloom in time for the big day.