10 Tips for Planning a Backyard Wedding Shower on a Budget

IMG_0191IMG_0197IMG_0085IMG_0158IMG_0081When Mike and I decided to tie the knot, we decided to make the leap in just 6 months, leaving us with only about 4 months to plan for and hold our shower. With our wedding date set for August, we decided to take advantage of the warm June weather and hold our shower in my in-laws backyard. Not sure if the anxiety of holding an outdoor event was worth it (the rain gods were kind to us in the end!!) and we made it work, all on a pretty strict budget. Here are the top 20 tips that helped pull it all together:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – enlist your bridesmaids, groomsmen and whoever else is willing to help. We hosted a few craft nights which ended up being loads of fun and brought the whole group together before the big day.
  2. Flowers – I adore real flowers. They just add a certain amount of charm and sophistication to any event. They can also eat away at your budget very quickly! We found two great sources for finding flowers without breaking the bank. First, check out your local farmers markets. The flowers are typically way under grocery store and florist pricing and if you buy in bulk, the vendors will most often work to negotiate a price with you, and perhaps even create some arrangements that could be set aside for your event. The other option is to check out your local food terminal. Living in the Toronto region, we are pretty close to the Ontario Food Terminal. If you know anyone with a small business, who might have buyers license to your local food terminal, you can have them help you purchase flowers in bulk at amazing discounts. Then, setup a night where you and your helpers can quickly snip up and ensemble stunning homemade arrangements.
  3. Rent in Advance – Like I had mentioned before, with only 4 months to plan the shower, I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to secure the necessary furniture and linens. I thought chairs, tablecloths and linens would be widely available but in the summer months, these materials get rented out very quickly.
  4. Arrange your own food delivery – At first, we were absolutely set on having our event catered. After contacting local food trucks and everything from BBQ to fine food caterers, we were shocked by the outrageous price tags. It was just way out of our budget. After much deliberation, we decided to take advantage of a few great local takeout eateries, and offer a buffet style dinner that our guests absolutely loved. This also allowed us to offer a wide variety of food pleasing everyone from carnivores to vegetarians alike. Our menu included Eggplant parmigiana, a freshly Roasted Pig and multitude of appetizers and side dishes to compliment the meals. To help reduce prepping time, we also had a few members of the wedding party help bring in some of their specialty to appetizers and side dishes which added a great variety of dishes for our guests to choose from
  5. Create your own Playlist – While nothing beats live music, it’s definitely a budget killer. By using Spotify we were able to create a continuous track of our favorite songs that reflected the music we thought reflected us as a couple and set the mood we thought our guests would enjoy.
  6.  DIY Decor – With so many decorating tips online, we had a blast transforming the dull uninspired backyard space into a lively and stunning venue. One of favorite decorating tips included buying a set of chalkboard markers, chalkboard paint and scourging thrift shops for used frames to create our own signs used throughout the space.
  7. Enlist a Budding Photographer or Friend – The cost associated with enlisting a professional photographer can cost you anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. While there is no doubt they can capture your day in a spectacular way, enlisting a budding talent can provide similar results. We had a friend who loved photography, was working on her skills and was happy to do it for the practice. Otherwise, consider going to a local community college and posting some flyers. Photography students will mostly likely be excited at the opportunity to add to their portfolio and gain valuable references and make a few buck

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