Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite tips, details, and decorations from our backyard wedding this summer in Portland, Oregon.
This post contains images taken by our wonderful and talented wedding photographers, the Ashers. All thoughts are originally mine. You can check out their website here.
Find the Right Venue on a Budget
Planning your dream wedding is all fun and games until you start looking at your budget. At least, it was in our case.
Growing up, my parents provided literally everything I needed to have a happy and healthy life. That said, they weren’t able to save up the $38,000 an average wedding costs here in the US for me.
To be honest, even the thought of spending $38,000 on one day of my life sounded insane when my husband and I sat down and drew it all out. We decided to try and limit ourselves to a below average budget for our special day.
A huge part of that national average comes from the cost of a venue. When we first started looking around, we found a venue not far from our hometown of Portland, Oregon. We took a tour, fell in love, saw the price tag, and quickly fell out of love.
For a few months we planned in limbo without a real idea of where it would all take place. And then, my mother and father in laws made the most generous offer:
“Why don’t you do it in the backyard at our house?”
And just like that, our plans were back in motion.
There was something about a backyard wedding that just felt right to us. My parents were married in my great-grandmother’s backyard.
My in laws’ backyard allowed us the freedom to decorate the way we wanted, the intimate size helped with keeping the guest list low, and made us and our family feel at home the entire day.
Decide What’s Most Important to YOU.
Maybe a backyard wedding isn’t the best fit for everyone, but for us, it felt like the perfect fit.
As someone who didn’t dream about my wedding day as a little girl, I found that the most important thing was touching base with my fiancé and ensuring that we were on the same page, always.
Part of that meant discussing our budget openly and frequently. It also meant sitting down and hammering out which elements of the day were most important to us both.
In the planning process, it is far too easy to get caught up in minute details like table clothes, seating arrangements, and aisle runners.
At the end of the day, you and your partner get to make the decisions about what matters most and for us, it was pretty simple.
My husband and I have always enjoyed eating together. As a food blogger, this felt like it was one of the most important pieces for me. Thankfully, my husband was right there with me on this.
We shopped around with caterers for a long time before finding the best fit, and ended up working with their team to design our own menu.
It was important to us that our guests (and ourselves) had a filling, flavorful meal, that was also not too heavy.
Here’s a quick glance at our menu:
Passed Appetizers – lamb meatballs with tzatziki sauce, bruchetta crostini, caprese salad skewers with balsamic glaze (get the recipe here!)
Buffet Dinner – carved BBQ tritip, greek inspired salad, roasted potatoes with parmesan, asparagus and dinner rolls
Dessert – a donut board (more on that later)
I have always been a fan of minimalism. I enjoy decorations that serve a function. Thankfully, my husband also wanted the night to come together in a way that wasn’t over-the-top but still brought the backyard to life.
Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers and frill. I just have a hard time fathoming spending thousands on something that will be thrown away or die in less than a week.
That said, we were beyond lucky to have a family member who is also an extremely talented florist help us with finding a floral plan that was both minimal and stunning.
All of the other decorative elements we planned for the night served a purpose. We had tables arranged with props and a polaroid camera for guests to snap photos to share with us in our guest book.
Outdoor lights were strung around the entire yard. My mother in law plans to keep the lights up for dinner parties and entertaining.
One of my bridesmaids who is also an extremely talented artist built the arbor we stood under for our vows.
She also built this stunning donut wall for our dessert instead of cake:
She is planning on renting both items out to future wedding planners so they don’t sit in her garage collecting dust. Let me know if you’re in the market for an arbor or donut wall!
Above the food, decorations, and all the other details that went into the night, the most important part to my husband and I was the guests.
There is so much pressure surrounding the guest list when planning a wedding. You will undoubtably get opinions from everyone on both sides of the families in the months leading up to the day.
You will probably have people reaching out to suggest you invite this person or that person.
At the end of the day, what matters most is you and your partner.
We added to and cut down our wedding list at least 10 times over the course of the year and finally came to a final draft that worked for us. Unless you’re working with an unlimited budget, this part will probably be the most difficult decision.
It’s hard to put the most important people in your life down on paper and justify cutting some out. Give yourself grace, time and be realistic about what you can do without adding unnecessary stress to the day.
Pin It for Later
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