10 Best Outdoor Wedding Ideas on a Budget

Outdoor Wedding Ideas on a Budget blog thumbnail

Looking for outdoor wedding ideas on a budget? You’ve come to the right place

Weddings, am I right? Love them but don’t like the price tags. Don’t let budget constraints keep you from having a fabulous celebration. If you’re looking to save, an outdoor wedding might just be for you. In this article I’ll share some outdoor wedding ideas on a budget that will make your big day a memorable one. 

Don’t we all love love? Well, I sure do. Can you think of a better way to celebrate your love than by making a lifelong commitment with your friends and family by your side? For many romantics, a wedding is the start of a brand-new fairytale. It is where “happily ever after” begins. However, this big day often comes at a cost. In fact, the average cost of a wedding is over $30,000. Surprised? Don’t worry, that number intimidates me a little too. If you’re planning a simple outdoor wedding ceremony and want to stick to a budget, you’ve come to the right place. 

Finances are important when planning a wedding. Weddings cost money and you want to make sure to do the best you can with what you can afford. Although 62% of couples raise their initial agreed upon wedding budget, you may want to stay within budget to avoid financial sore spots later.  

Getting married outdoors has become a popular choice in recent years. One reason behind seeking a simple outdoor wedding is the budget. Inflation and other factors are increasing costs in the industry. To combat this, couples are identifying areas to cut spending. Gardens, beaches, parks, vineyards, etc. are options for a simple outdoor wedding ceremony under the skies. 

I love helping our readers save. So, whether your wedding budget is $2,000 or $200,000, I have tips for outdoor wedding ideas that can help you stay in budget.

Cost of a wedding by type of venue

Your venue of choice can have significant impact on the overall cost of your wedding.

Comparison of the average cost of an outdoor wedding vs an indoor wedding. Graphic bears text saying average cost of a wedding in dark blue text against a light blue background. Below the text is side by side pictures of an indoor and an outdoor wedding and labelled as such. The indoor wedding shows an aisle with chairs on either side and a white runner. There is also an arch covered in greenery, flowers, and ribbons. A green price tag bears the amount $39,000 and is placed at the bottom. The outdoor wedding has an aisle with floral shrubbery on either side leading up to a pergola. A green price tag bearing the amount $7,100 is placed at the bottom. The Net Pay Advance logo and brand name appear at the bottom-left corner.

Some couples get married in an indoor setting such as a banquet hall or a landmark building. Others lean towards resorts and hotels. Venues like farms and bars have also gained popularity with the rise in rustic-themed weddings. Other factors such as location, season, length of the ceremony and reception, add-on services etc. can influence costs to a great degree. The average cost of an indoor wedding is $39,000 while an outdoor wedding averages at $7,100. This data is based on averages from an Atlanta-based survey.

Numbers will vary by location, guest count, season, add-on services and more. Generally, a simple outdoor wedding will cost less than a traditional indoor wedding.

Staying within a wedding budget

When deciding on a simple outdoor wedding, it is important to factor in the costs as well as the weather. Unless you live somewhere where clear sunny skies are a staple, I’d recommend having a back-up. It could even be a tent, barn, or any kind of shelter you can access from the wedding venue should the weather turn ugly. 

A survey claims that 56% of newlyweds went into debt to pay for their wedding. That is more than half of all couples getting married!  

I am not keen on acquiring more debt, especially when starting the first day of the rest of my life. I recommend steering clear of additional debt if you can. You want to look back on your big day with font memories, unlike the 31% of newlyweds who regret how much they spent on theirs. 

The first task is to create a budget and go from there.

Setting a wedding budget

This is how I recommend creating a wedding budget:

  1. Set a limit
  2. Factor in costs
  3. Spare some leeway
Steps for setting a wedding budget. Light blue background bears the word setting a wedding budget in dark blue font. There are three side-by-side white boxes just below. The first one has text saying step 1 along with a graphic of a sack with a dollar sign and another of a coin in green. More text below these graphics says set a limit. The second box has text saying step 2 which is followed by a green graphic of a document and calculator with the dollar sign features twice. Additional text below says factor in costs. The last box has text saying step 3 and has a green graphic of sparkling coins and text saying spare some leeway. The Net Pay Advance logo and brand name features at the bottom of the image.

Being mindful of your budget is the best thing you can do to avoid financial stress when beginning a new life with your spouse. Discuss how much you both are comfortable with spending on the ceremony and reception. It could be a realistic number that you either have that amount saved up already or can save close to that amount in the upcoming months.  

There’s going to be some give-and-take when setting a budget. You’ll have to determine what the costs are, how much you have, and prioritize what you both want for your big day. 

If your parents or other family have expressed their desire to help cover costs, try to get details. Sometimes, a family member might straight up pay for the dress or the venue or something else.  

Have some wiggle-room for any last-minute delays or cancellations. They can happen. Having a small fund for emergencies is helpful. But if not, Net Pay Advance same-day funds can help keep you on track for your big day. Small bumps in the road shouldn’t bring a stop to your whole day.

See which loan options are available in your state

Once you’ve picked a budget, you’re ready to start planning. Here’s a list of the best outdoor wedding ideas on a budget to help you prepare for your big day.

Outdoor wedding ideas on a budget that you must try

Before we dive in, take a quick glance at the top 5 tips to save money on your outdoor wedding.

Light-blue background bears the heading 5 tips for saving money on your outdoor wedding in dark-blue text. There are five images and each of these are labelled in blue text just below. The first image is labelled backyard wedding, and it shows an aisle with chairs on either side along with a fence in the back, trees, and greenery all around. The second image is labelled DIY decorations and shows a pair of hands holding and decorating a candle with dried flowers while a few other candles are placed across the table. The third image is labelled digital invites, and it shows a pair of hands holding a smartphone and an invite is displayed on the screen. The fourth image is labelled thrift the dress and shows a woman browsing through a clothes rack while facing the camera. The last image is labelled polaroids for pictures and shows several photographs strewn across a table. The Net Pay Advance logo and brand name feature at the bottom.

Consider these outdoor wedding ideas on a budget and add your own unique spin on them:

Video thumbnail for How to have a outdoor wedding on a budget

Let’s explore each of these a little more in-depth.

1. Outside Wedding Venues: Backyard boujee, is that you?

You are marrying the love of your life and you’ve envisioned a picturesque wedding against a clear sky as the backdrop. Wondering how much a simple outdoor wedding venue costs? Well, it can cost up to $20,000 for an outdoor venue. And for an outdoor ceremony at a destination wedding, you’re looking at $8,000-40,000. Don’t worry, you can avoid paying an obscene amount of money by choosing a more personal and intimate wedding in a backyard. 

Hear me out. You or someone you know might have a very well-maintained backyard. Also, it is usually free! You might have a friend or family who owns or lives on a farm. Think of all the open space available. If the weather starts acting up, you can always move the event to a barn or shelter as many farms have those. 

Don’t know someone with good greenspace? Check out options such as public parks, community gardens, and recreation areas. These cost very little in comparison to traditional venues. You don’t need to splurge on a vineyard in wine county when you can have it at someplace familiar and cost friendly.

2. Creative invites: Go digital

On average, people spend $5.50 on wedding invitations per guest. The number could be higher if you add save-the-dates, postage, and mailing costs. Either way, it quickly adds up depending on how long of a guest-list you have. Since we live in the digital age, I think your invitations could reflect that and be fully digital. Get a free Canva account, design your invitations and email them to guests. You could even ask that artistic friend of yours to design them for you. DIY invites will add a personal touch to your outside wedding. 

I’ve created a few free editable wedding invites designs you’re welcome to use. Select a design below and start editing!

Editable free wedding template with generic details.
Editable free wedding invitation template with gold accents
Editable free wedding invitation template with floral details
Editable free wedding invitation template with botanical details.

More on DIY wedding invitations.

3. The dress: Say yes to thrifting and smart shopping!

Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day. It is after all, a once-in-a-lifetime moment when you say “I do” to the one you love. In the United States, a wedding dress costs in the $1,800 – $2,400 range. That is not cheap for most people.  

An alternative to spending a lot of money on a dress you only wear once; I would suggest looking at clearance racks. Most retailers have a discounted section with beautiful dresses, and you might find the right one there. Some brides even get lucky with a thrift store find. Others choose to wear their mothers’ dresses. There are several ways to go about avoiding spending copious amounts of money on a wedding dress. 

It’s not just the bride’s dress that cost a lot. 56% of bridal party members admit to feeling pressured to spend beyond their comfort level. Encourage your bridesmaids’ and flower girls’ to consider thrifting or shopping sales. This can be made possible if you’re open to everyone dressing according to their taste and budget if they stick to the color palette you picked.

4. Budget Decorations: DIY like a pro

Wedding decorations can cost from $2,000 to $10,000. You can achieve the aesthetic you want without paying big bucks in a few ways.  

First, consider DIY decorations. Not the artsy type? No problem! If you start early enough, you might be able to build a whole new skillset while creating the decor for your outside wedding. You can delegate tasks to friends and family. Pinterest is your best friend when it comes to inspiration. There are plenty of how-to videos on YouTube to help you get started.  

 Second, look for wedding decor in clearance isles of your local stores. Facebook Marketplace is another hub for sourcing decor on a budget.

DIY wedding decor. A ”Mr. & Mrs.” sign is on some sting, hanging off a plank of wood. It’s a DIY wedding decoration at an outdoor wedding.

5. Flowers and foliage: Know a gardener?

In recent times, the average cost of wedding flowers is estimated to be $2,800. Not wanting to spend as much? Explore cheaper options like grocery stores. I’ve found good deals on greenery at Sams. Or, if you’re willing to put in the effort, consider growing a garden. This would have to be done way in advance but who knows, you might discover a love for gardening in the process. I understand that not everyone has the time, space, or the green thumb it takes to grow wedding-worthy flowers. However, you might just be lucky enough to have a friend or family member who has a thriving garden and would be willing to help out at a minimal cost.

6. Food fiesta: Barbecue or potluck

The average cost of wedding food is $50-$150 per person. It can add up to a hefty amount depending on how many people attend your wedding. One advantage of having an outside wedding is that you can have a barbecue or cookout. Some people opt for a potluck. I have attended weddings where the food was prepared by friends and family, and it turned out great. There are couples who choose to have something simple and easy to assemble like a taco bar or a grazing table. Your local grocery store might carry sandwich platters that might be a viable choice. Get creative!

Person grilling barbeque for a wedding. A person is holding tongs and grilling up some meat. There’s chicken, sausage, and beef tips.

7. Delightful drinks: Mix mix baby!

Drinks are not cheap, and most weddings have a lot of people indulging in the bar. The average cost of an open bar is close to $2,500. Instead of getting a wide assortment of liquor, I think you can make one (or more) signature cocktails and call it a day. It could be margaritas or a sangria of your choice. If you have the skills, invent a whole new drink, and call it something that can be associated with you and your partner.

Signature cocktail at a wedding. Three glasses are on the table with a cocktail that includes mint and blackberries. The the left of the drinks is a bottle of sparkling wine. To the right of the drinks is a bucket of blackberries.

Bring out the mixologist in you!

8. Music and entertainment: Assemble a playlist

Did you know that the average cost of a band is $4,500 and that of a DJ is $1,000? Entertainment is not cheap and if you’re looking to cut corners, I’m here to find cheaper alternatives for you.  

A popular idea is putting together a playlist with the classics and crowd-pleasers. You can rent out a sound system to play songs and music at your venue. Entrust a friend or family member to coordinate the ceremony and make announcements along with helping cue the music.

9. The officiant: Get a friend instead

On average, a wedding officiant costs $250-$800. I had a family member officiate my ceremony for free and they were thrilled to do so. You might have a friend or relative who would love to play an integral role at your wedding. They will need to get ordained, and they can easily do so online.  

Not only will it save you money, but it will also help strengthen your relationship with them. It is someone you or your fiancé have known for a long time and that adds a layer of closeness to your beautiful outdoor wedding.

Couple laughing in front of wedding officiant. Couple getting married in a beach wedding They’re standing in front of their officiant who is laughing alongside them at the wedding altar.

10. Inexpensive Wedding photos: Hello polaroids!

Of course, you want pictures to commemorate the happiest day of your life and that is why people pay a pretty penny for wedding photos. The average wedding photographer 

 In the United States charges $3,000. I would suggest looking into cheaper options like someone that is just starting out and building a portfolio. Newer photographers often offer lower prices, and you might be able to score a deal.  

You’ll hit the jackpot if you have a friend or a family member who does photography and would be willing to offer a discount. Or you can go rogue and invest in a few polaroid cameras that you can hand to your guests to take pictures of your outside wedding. My last tip here is to pick a unique social media hashtag for your friends and family to use throughout the event. Even if they forget to tag you in their post, you can search that hashtag to find pictures of your day. Either way, you will end up with tons of images and lasting memories.

Here comes the bride…and the bill!

For most people, their wedding is a significant milestone that they want to celebrate with their loved ones. It might be the same for you. However, not everyone wants to go into debt or have their finances in shambles just to pay for a wedding.

I wanted to leave you with a quick refresher on price points as you get on with wedding planning. Explore the guide below and allow some flexibility on the items on it.

Average wedding costs for venue, dress, decorations, flowers, bar, and more. Light blue background bears the heading average wedding costs. The rest of the image bears graphics in green and blue text describing each wedding expense. They are as follows: venue $6,000; bride’s dress $2,100; decorations $6,500; flowers $2,800; open bar $2,500; band $4,500; DJ $1000; officiant $525; and photographer $3,000. The Net Pay Advance logo and brand name features at the bottom left.

Marriage isn’t always rainbows and unicorns and it is no secret that couples argue. Did you know that 70% of couples argue over money more than anything else? Want to avoid being part of this statistic? Make sure to explore and embrace our tips on a financially friendly lifestyle

I hope this article will inspire you to adopt a more economical yet creative approach towards planning for your outside wedding. At Net Pay Advance, a leading provider of payday loans online, we’re committed to empowering you on your journey. We offer more than just fast cash advances; we are a financial resource hub for our readers. While we hope our article helps you save on your wedding, we’re also available if you find you need fast funds for last-minute or unexpected expenses. You can apply here any time of day. Credit isn’t considered, and same-day funding is available.  

What did you think of this article? I want to know your thoughts and unique ideas on how to save on a simple outdoor wedding in the comments. Let me know.

Anna Reeve Net Pay Advance author headshot
Anna Reeve

As someone that spent a lot of time reading as a kid, I was deeply intrigued by the written word from an early age. My first full-time job post college was writing content for high-end fashion websites. Following my graduation from the MBA program at Pittsburg State University, I found employment in Marketing. For the last couple of years, I have been creating content on several platforms. I am a proud dog-mom to my black labs – Sky & Harry Potter (took fangirling to a whole new level there!), a connoisseur of Indian cuisine, a mediocre artist, and a reality TV addict.

Net Pay Advance is a licensed loan provider, locally owned and operated in Wichita, Kansas. Our No. 1 priority is helping you, the customer, by providing access to the cash you need and helping support financial independence goals with valuable, informational, and entertaining content. Stay up-to-date on our posts by following the Net Pay Advance Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. Our organization is committed to transparency; learn more about our authors and editorial policy. The information provided within this blog is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or legal advice. Please contact us if you have any questions.