Board #277 | Garden Party (Budget Friendly #9)

If you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful home, or have parents with a beautiful home, or close friends with a beautiful home, consider holding your wedding there. Though you’ll pay for rentals that might be included in other venues, depending on your number of guests and other venue options, this might still be the cheaper option. Not to mention incredibly personal and authentic. Of course you can have a beautiful wedding in a hotel ballroom or a stark urban loft, but…

Who says…you can’t get married at home?

Mood: sweet garden charm
Palette: pale pink and yellow

{click image to enlarge}

Top row from left: garden gate photo by Kathryn Kleinman, panini grill from Amorology, lemonade photo by Myrtle & Marjoram, mismatched dessert plates via A Beautiful Living
Row 2: children’s table from Custom Event Group, cake via d.Sharp Journal, photo by Jose Villa, photo by Tec Petaja
Row 3: bouquet from Martha Stewart Weddings, seating cards photo by Still Weddings, bird house from Rebecca Thuss, custom dress by Kcoline
Row 4: garden chairs from Brides via Faye & Greer, envelopes from Bird & Banner, sparkler kiss photo by One Love Photo, garden roses via {frolic!}

The Paper: Garden-themed rubber stamps are a cost effective way to embellish seating cards and other stationery, and even if you don’t have calligraphy skills, writing out names by hand in simple all-capital letters is an attractive alternative – and if your handwriting is illegible, employ someone who is willing to help out to take on this task. Another calligraphy alternative is to print addresses in fun fonts on wrap-around labels for your invitations, which you can find here and here for about 30-cents apiece.

The Fashion: Not only will a custom-made dress guarantee a totally one-of-a-kind look, but it can also be a more budget friendly option. Be sure though, that you do some research and get references for the person you hire. Why not let the groom wear a dress shirt he already owns and is comfortable in? Or you can even have one custom-made for only $60 by 9tailors (also a great gift idea for the groomsmen, who can each wear a shirt in similar colors but slightly varying patterns or cuts).

The Decor: If you hold your wedding in a beautiful garden, there’s not much you need to do in terms of decorating, but if you want to, use garden appropriate items such as vintage watering cans and planters. A sweet birdhouse is a unique place for guests to drop small notes of good wishes. Don’t underestimate the simple folding garden chair, which will cost significantly less to rent than Chivari or bentwood chairs, and which will really just blend in to the venue. Once the ceremony is over, let the chairs do double duty by moving them to the tables for lunch.

The Flowers: Splurge on garden roses for a beautiful garden bouquet, tied with pretty patterned ribbon. For centerpieces, scour antique shops and flea markets for old pharmacy and cologne bottles, and place a single stem in each (these could also double as favors for guests to take home).

The Food: Lunch receptions are a good way to save money: they tend to be shorter and guests tend to eat and drink less than at dinner receptions. Taco trucks and burger carts aren’t the only alternative catering options out there. A panini grill or crepe maker would be fun, and slightly more refined, options. Let guests pick up side dishes at a buffet. To have your cake and eat it too, have one small elaborately decorated cake to display, and sheet cakes in the same flavor to serve to your guests. Buy sparkling lemonade or natural sodas in bulk and arrange them at the bar with skinny straws.

Other Details: A simple but fun detail is to give each table a fun name (like shut up and kiss me!) in lieu of a number. Set up a low table for the kids covered with butcher or kraft paper, with buckets of crayons, markers, and other little goodies – the kids will appreciate it more than floral centerpieces, and the adults will appreciate keeping the kids occupied.

Splurges: Serve dessert on mismatched vintage patterned dishes. They’re a bit of a splurge, since they’re not a necessity, but if you keep an eye out you should be able to find them here and there for under $2. If you don’t think you’ll use them again, re-sell them on eBay or a site like Bride to Bride Boutique.

For Free: By reserving an entire bed and breakfast like Sara did, your guests will know that everyone they run into there is your friend or relative, letting people get to know each other.

Real Wedding Inspiration: Nole & Andrew via Style Me Pretty


  • DomestiGals says:

    Kathryn! This board is positively luscious! And usually “luscious” and “budget-friendly” do not go together, so thank you for being able to pull this off!

    I also love the label idea – as someone who can’t fathom spending oodles on calligraphy, this is a super alternative! Thank you!

  • Vanessa Lyn says:

    I am in LOVE with the last 2 budget friendly boards you've posted. My color palette is more along the lines of the "keep it simple" but the feel I'm going for is more garden party-esque. I'm lucky enough that my Aunt is graciously allowing me to use her home for my wedding! I want to keep the day laid back & fun so I'm planning on having badminton and croquet available also. For the dinner reception I want to do more of an upscale BBQ buffet, but I'm not sure what to serve. I was thinking of rosemary roasted potatoes, BBQ ribs, pork tenderloin, roasted corn salad, etc. but I'm not finding any real tips or suggestions as far as menus. Do you have any ideas?

  • Rebecca says:

    Okay, I think I may have a new favorite board, Kathryn. :) Nole & Andrew's wedding is just fabulous too–wow!

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