Having a Backyard Wedding

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 519 Posts
March 22, 2007

Sign Pointing to a WeddingThink about getting married at home, in your backyard, or the backyard of a relative. It's an old-fashioned custom that is charming and much more economical than renting out a facility!


By pamphyila from Los Angeles

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4 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

October 5, 2007

PLEASE HELP! I am having a backyard wedding on Oct. 28,2007. We are on a very tight budget. Anyone have any ideas/ recipes for buffet style foods that are quick easy and CHEAP to make. Fruit and cheese etc. trays are expensive to buy. We are having 28 guest max.

Heather from Ellenwood, GA


October 5, 20070 found this helpful

A lot depends on how formal/informal you want to be with the food.

For my grandparents 50th anniversary they did one of the giant party subs - not that expensive, fed lots of people.


You could do soup/chili in crock pots, serve in paper cups with bread - good fallish food.

My nephew just had an outdoor wedding in SC and they served pulled pork BBQ, cole slaw, macaroni and cheese - it was YUMMY - but a bit more expensive.

Congrats - and good luck!


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 168 Feedbacks
October 5, 20070 found this helpful

I make my veggie trays using a good brand of Ranch dressing as the dip and have an assortment of fresh veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, and celery w peanut butter on the side for those who like/don't like which serves a lot of people. Provide a variety of pickles in a separate tray and another tray of various thin sliced cheeses and lunch meats to stretch farther.


Potato chips, pretzels, cheese doodles, corn chips are also options and for drinks, apple cider, coffee, ice tea

Instead of a veggie tray, you could serve various ingredients to create salad the way the guests like it and have several varieties of salad dressing, separate bowls for cut lettuce, olives, onions, tomatotes, bell peppers, cucumbers, pickles, sliced boiled eggs, etc.

Pasta salad is quicker to make than potato salad and less expensive too.

Go to the day old bread store if one is in your area and get your bread/buns to make sandwiches with and that should cut the cost considerably.

My own wedding was outdoors too and was so very nice. I hope you have lovely weather in your area on this special day.

October 5, 20070 found this helpful

My daughter had a buffet with BBQ cocktail weiners and meatballs..each in a crockpot. She bought hunks of cheese at Sam's Club and cut it herself. The weiners and meatballs were bought there also.


Some of the wholesale places have decent potato salad and you can doctor it up with your own seasonings. The day-old bread shop is a good thing to use for sandwiches. Good luck.

October 6, 20070 found this helpful

A taco bar is something lots of people would enjoy. Just put out seasoned chicken and beef along with platters of taco shells, fixins and various salsas. most will be happy with one or the other. You could even put out some wraps for people who prefer the soft variety. To expand on the theme you could even serve some Sangria punch...a good way to stretch your wine bill. Make it by adding a 2 Liter each of orange soda and ginger ale to a gallon of inexpensive wine. (I like Paisano) along with some fruit..really good and relatively inexpensive.


Good luck with everything!

By (Guest Post)
October 8, 20070 found this helpful

I am getting married next Halloween and to do all our buffet foods, we are cashing in our air mile points for coupons for a grocery store. Then we are making up our trays ourselves, with the help of family. Hope you can do the same.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 364 Posts
October 8, 20070 found this helpful

You could just do cake and punch and leave it at that. Make a nice party favor for everyone instead of a meal.

October 8, 20070 found this helpful

I like to make mostaciolli for large groups and put it in a big roaster. I jazz it up with jars of mushrooms and black olives from the cheapo grocery store. You could serve it with salad and veggie trays (put together yourself) and bread from the day old store. Sounds lovely for a fall wedding. Or chili and crackers which would be cheap too .


Good Luck and Best wishes on your marriage!
TC in MO

By Eletha (Guest Post)
October 8, 20070 found this helpful

This is something I made for a potluck at school for all the teachers and aides and everyone really thought it was great. Bake chicken wings with cream of mushroom, cream of celery and cream of chicken soup, condensed, in the oven for about 30 minutes or until wings are done. To judge how much soup to use, for one whole chicken I use one can of each (total of 3 cans).

Cook white rice: 1 cup rice to 2 cup water and 1 tsp. salt for 20 minutes in covered pot. For 30 people I would cook at least 3 cups rice with 6 cups water. Wings are the cheaper pieces of chicken and yummy.

Using a large platter, turkey size, pile rice in the middle of the platter, arrange the wings around the outside and pour the juices over the rice and serve.

October 9, 20070 found this helpful

I have been made fun of on this site before because of my "piggies in a blanket" but they are quick and relatively inexpensive to make. Just by cocktail weiners and canned biscuits. I use the flaky ones. Press biscuits flat and wrap weiners inside. I then cut them in half to make them smaller. Bake at 350 until lightly browned. Adults and children seem to love them.

By sue (Guest Post)
October 9, 20070 found this helpful

Heather, you can make cucumber slices just cut into round slices, and place a dab of sour cream on top and put a tiny bit of parsley on that.

Filled strawberries, fill them with cream cheese and just a little bit of confectioners sugar and 1 tablespoon almond. Make a X on the top of the strawberry and pipe in the cream cheese mixture.

Take a pineapple and cut in half lengthwise and then using tooth picks put fresh fruit in to the pineapple. You can also do this with shrimp on toothpicks and server with a salsa or cocktail sauce.

As for any hot foods chicken legs, or sausage cooked on grill, make a pasta salad with tomatoes, celery, peppers, broccoli, and Italian dressing all mixed together with elbows.

By susay (Guest Post)
October 9, 20070 found this helpful

Since it will be a small guest list what about a potluck buffet?

By Dianna (Guest Post)
October 10, 20070 found this helpful

How much money have you budgeted for the food? I have catered several weddings and have several ideas that would make it very classy, but very affordable for you to do all yourself. Are you wanting a "dressed down" affair or a classy evening? These would make a difference but I also have a fabulous recipe for an incredible cake that would feed about 40, using your own pans and the easiest recipe ever called "Champagne Cake". Actually you can look this up on the Food Network. It comes out beautiful and classy, but inexpensive. diannatriplett AT

By KarenM (Guest Post)
October 11, 20070 found this helpful

I had a wedding on a small budget, we had Mostacolli, my in-laws had a turkey fryer so we did that, and got some roasted chicken from Chicken Shack (though a lot of local places made it too). We got a lovely cake from Costco, I love their cakes and they are pretty too.

By Rene (Guest Post)
October 11, 20070 found this helpful

I agree that a dessert reception can be perfect for an outdoor event on a tight budget! That's what we did. The best cake and coffee we could afford. It was 2 hours and we went off on our honeymoon!

If your heart is set on a meal, or that is what your guests are already expecting, then there are a lot of ways to do it inexpensively.

Probably the best thing to do would be to figure out how much you have to spend PER PERSON and then shop your local stores for what you like that you can get at that price per person. For me that would be Costco. For you it might be Walmart. To help you with pricing - a serving of any fruit or veggie is 1 oz. Check your packages.

Recently I did a reception with fruits (various colored grapes, apple slices, pear slices), veggies (snow peas, grape tomatoes, broccoli, baby carrots), cheeses (2 standards and some Brie) with sliced baguettes. We also had a nice orange punch and some hot finger foods like pre-cooked mini quiches and things like that that we could buy at our local superstore.

For a very affordable plated dinner, pasta is hard to beat. 2-3 selections, at least one without meat, a nice bread and an Italian style salad and you're done. Its very doable in that you don't have to do anything at the very last minute except dress the salad. And it is a very flexible meal in that you can include, or not include most of the ingredients and the "fancier" ingredients can be used very sparingly and still have a wonderful result.

As your pricing your foods - be sure to remember to include your plates, utensils, napkins, serving trays, drinking cups and condiments. (You always need 2-3+ cups per person) Deciding what to use there can be as important to your food budget as the food itself!

A cake for 30 people would be fun to make, as long as you have enough help! Two tiers should be enough. Cake pans are not very expensive and fresh flowers are perfect decorations. You just don't want to be the one decorating it a half an hour before your ceremony!

You will want to work out a schedule ahead of time giving you several days to accomplish the whole feet with a list of who is responsible for what and when. It will take a group to pull all of that together.

Since you don't have a lot of time between now and then just be decisive and move forward with whichever plan feels right to you. Do your pricing, make your choices and get all of your non-food items purchased as soon as possible!

Hope that helps!

Have a beautiful day!

October 17, 20070 found this helpful

OK here's an idea.. You can get cheap jarred alfredo sauce, and tomato sauce, any sauce jars, (like 3 choice sauces) then lay them out heated with out the pasta and buy some parmesean cheese and different pastas (u can get them for 99 cents a box) and let your guests choose what kind of pasta they would like with what kind of sauce. INVEST in meatballs (frozen ones are cheap) and/or sausages, also garlic bread and salad. You can also do kabobs,, chicken with pepper and onion, beef with bacon, etc. Hope this helps and good luck on your wedding. Congratulations!

By (Guest Post)
October 23, 20070 found this helpful

A late morning ceremony followed by a luncheon works well too.
My grandmother always insists that sprigs of parsley on platters makes meat trays, cheese trays, coleslaw, salads look appetizing! She's right! (As does cherry tomatoes - someone always grows them and has way too much!)

Make a veggie soup - like butternut squash, carrot or an Italian wedding soup are good choices for a large crowd.

Renting the church hall (or basement) could be very economical (or a fall back if you run into bad weather)

Flowers from the farmer's market is ideal - just buy enough.
I used strawberries as a theme (as my wedding was in June) and made strawberry jam for each guest as a party favour.

By bob (Guest Post)
October 24, 20070 found this helpful

go to piggy's

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April 27, 2010

I wanted to decorate our fence posts for my daughter's wedding with big bows. I have not been able to find the proper wired ribbon for the bows. Any other suggestions on how to decorate the fence posts? Their colors are black, gold and purple. Thanks.

By diane boneham from Gold Bar, WA


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 186 Feedbacks
April 27, 20100 found this helpful

What kind of wired ribbon are you looking for? Most stores that sell craft supplies have wired ribbon in two inch widths. Otherwise you could wind garlands of ivy around the posts and put either a white or purple silk flower in the top of the ivy garland.

April 28, 20100 found this helpful

Also think about using tulle. It is very cheap and comes in colors. You cut the lengths, knot them and could even wire fresh or artificial flowers over the knots, then hang on the posts. Tulle is so easy to work with and will look pretty.

April 28, 20100 found this helpful

Most stores that sell gift wrap sell premade gift bows which attach with adhesive patches to the gift. I have seen some quite large (6" or so across) and these could be put on the post, and streamers attached, using thumbtacks or a stapler or staple gun.

April 29, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks for all the feedback. The ribbon I am looking for is wired. I was hoping to make a three layered bow for my fence posts. But I have not been able to fine black solid ribbon about 8" wide than gold 6" wide and than purple as my last layer 4" wide. Can anyone help me find it. My fence post are about 8" round, therefore, I need large bows.

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July 30, 2014

I need help planning a wedding reception for under 1,000 dollars in a back yard.

By tamaracuellar from Annapolis, Maryland


July 30, 20140 found this helpful

I think it is very doable.
1.) Ask family/friends to bring a food dish instead of a gift. This would required some planning on your part to tally prior all items so that you would not have 15 desserts and few vegetables.
2.)Or to make it easier on yourself make it a theme reception for instance if you want it to be Italian then make a spaghetti meal you provide the spaghetti and let the guests bring the sides
3.) Chairs/tables ....see if you can borrow from your church
4.) Offer a donation to your church youth group to assist in set up/clean up/ not cater.
5.) Live music: Hire a group of music majors from your local community college
6.) Table clothes- white sheets from your local thrifty shop
7.) Decorations-Dollar store

August 1, 20140 found this helpful

There are tons of resources online for diy weddings and jazzing things up a bit without spending money. Look at pinterest and some wedding blogs for inspiration. Google something like "diy backyard wedding" Printables are a great way to do this for table numbers, favor tags, gift tags, cupcake rings flags and even invitations. In lieu of a wedding cake try wedding cupcakes with a printable cupcake holder and cupcake flag.

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