What To Think About Before Having An Outdoor Wedding Plus Craziness That Happened At Ours

What To Think About Before Having An Outdoor Wedding Plus Craziness That Happened At Ours

Our wedding took place on June 7th, 2014. It was a great day, and in the end our wedding cost around $22,000.

We had a completely outdoor wedding ceremony and reception, which ended up costing us a lot of stress towards the end. Having an outdoor wedding was extremely beautiful, but there were a TON of different things to think about.

Would I do it all over again?

YES! I would choose an outdoor wedding over an indoor one any day.

But there is a lot of planning to do beforehand.


Is it cheaper to have an outdoor wedding?


We actually had people ask us (to our face) if we were getting married outside because we couldn’t afford a “real” wedding. Let me tell you, that is offensive to ask someone. Having an outdoor wedding is still a real wedding! I don’t know why some people think it’s not.

If you are only wanting to have an outdoor wedding to save money, then you will be in for a shocker. Getting married outdoors does not automatically mean that it will be cheaper.

There are many costs that come with having a wedding outdoors. You will have to pay to rent a:

  • Wedding tent (these are usually anywhere from $500 to $10,000!);
  • Tables (usually around $5 to $10 a table);
  • Chairs (these can be anywhere from $1 to $20 each);
  • Linens (these were expensive – around $15 for each linen);
  • Cocktail tables;
  • Dance floor (we spent around $400 to rent ours);
  • Lighting (we bought our own lighting after Christmas was over and saved money. However, this is usually around $1.50 per foot to rent);
  • Bathrooms, and more.

All of this can add up quickly!


What would you do if it was extremely hot?

We risked this for our wedding. June in St. Louis can be 60 degrees, or it can be 110 degrees. It can vary widely. Luckily because of the bad weather earlier in the day (read more about that below), it cooled off and it was around 7 to 75 degrees on our wedding day.

If it’s extremely hot on your wedding day though, you don’t want your guests or yourself to suffer. You might have to invest in air conditioning in a tent or at least a few fans. Make sure to have plenty of cold drinks as well!


Flooded Road

This is the road that leads to the house. Completely flooded and impassable just one month before the wedding.

What happens if it rains?

Rain was something that was constantly on my mind about our wedding. I was terrified of light rain and heavy rain. Either way, I didn’t want it to happen!

Light rain would have meant that everything and everyone would have had to be shoved under a tent and a barn (the barn was just a roof structure though as there were no sides) and that our ceremony would have had to be shoved under there as well.

Heavy rain would have been a completely different story though. Heavy rain almost always means that the road to the house floods, which would have called off the whole wedding. This happened one month before the wedding (and usually happens a few times a year), so that was definitely on my mind.

On our wedding day: We had some crazy weather at our wedding. It was storming ALL DAY. Our ceremony didn’t start until 5:30, but we were getting ready all day on the property and it was not fun to watch extremely heavy downpour as we were getting ready.

There was also a tornado that touched down around 30 minutes from the property, and a few of our wedding guests actually saw it and got stuck in it.

At 5:30, we all lined up to walk down the aisle. A big gust of wind came through and knocked EVERYTHING over. I mean pretty much everything. I stood there horrified as the wedding planners tried to cover my face.

The photo booth’s tent completely lifted up and flew away, vases all knocked over onto the ground, the lighting all fused out besides just a few strands, and I felt extremely horrible for all of the vendors who were working. That was probably the worst thing because I felt bad for having an outdoor wedding because of what I was putting the vendors through. I’m sure they are used to it because outdoor weddings are pretty common now, but I’m sure it still sucked for them.

However, right after 5:30 as I was beginning to walk down the aisle (with the wedding planner standing by my side with an umbrella), the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and the sun came out. Everyone put their umbrellas away and it was very beautiful.

It very lightly sprinkled the rest of the night, but it was so light that it actually felt nice because it was still St. Louis and 70 degrees in St. Louis is still humid and sort of hot feeling.


Will you need a backup plan?

If you are having an outdoor wedding, then you might want a backup plan. We risked it and didn’t have a backup plan. If the roads would have flooded, I really don’t know what we would have done. It would have been horrible and I was risking all of it being called off because of water.

Yes, I’m dumb, but thankfully it worked out.

We did try to find a backup venue though. However, I contacted many places and every single place I talked to was mad that they would be considered a “backup plan.” I mean, they were truly offended and I was actually yelled at a few times. It was ridiculous and I can’t believe some of the things that were said to me.


Do your guests know where they are going?

If you’re having an outdoor wedding, then there is a chance that you might be having it out in the country somewhere. If that is the case, make sure that your guests have good directions with them. You don’t want your vendors or guests showing up late, possibly disturbing the ceremony, or something else bad happening.

One of our vendors showed up nearly two hours late. After screaming, nearly crying and around 10 people talking to them to help with directions, it made for a very stressful two hours because the wedding could not begin without them. I’m pretty sure I sweat all my makeup off and ruined my hair because I was so stressed.

Even though we gave preprinted directions to all guests and vendors, and had balloons to make the turns, a few people still showed up late. Make sure to budget this into your time schedule.

You also should tell your guests that it will be an outdoor wedding. This is so that they know what kind of shoes to wear (6 inch heels in grass would not be fun) and so that they can dress for the weather as well.


Other things to think about.

If you are having an outdoor wedding, there are plenty of other things to think about as well. I hope I’m not scaring anyone away, but I just want to inform you all so that you can prepare.

I read a ton of outdoor wedding tip articles for mine, and they really helped. Even though a lot of crazy things happened on our wedding day, I would still have an outdoor wedding again. It was super beautiful and a lot of fun!

  • It you’re out in the country, where will people sleep or how will they get home? We had a lot of people sleep at the property. I think Wes’s mom counted 26 people sleeping in the big house (there are two houses on the property – the “big” house, and a guest house where we slept). There were also people sleeping in their cars and a few people brought tents. We had a bonfire after the reception ended and it was a ton of fun. People were enjoying it until 9 in the morning from what I was told!
  • Will you need any permits? For some areas, you might need a permit to have a party, for guest parking, and/or to serve alcohol. We didn’t need anything since the property is so large and private
  • Bugs. We bought several cans of bug spray for our guests. You don’t want them to get all bit up!
  • Bathrooms. You will probably need to rent bathrooms. You don’t want 200 people using the same septic system unless it’s built for that. Don’t worry though, there are nice bathrooms out there to rent. Some come with air conditioning, flushing toilets, sinks, and everything else.


What craziness happened on your wedding day?

Would you have an outdoor wedding?


July Goals and Life Update – We’re Going On A Cruise!

Hello everyone and happy July! I know, I know, I am late with publishing my July goals and June goals update. I have no excuse for this.

June was another good month for me. I got married, went on a 2 week long road trip to Colorado and Utah, I made $12,787 in June, and overall it was just a fun month.

We are still waiting on our wedding pictures, but we did get a few early pictures from our wedding photographer (I posted those the other day). They were amazing and I can’t wait to see the rest.


Our honeymoon.

We went on a road trip right after the wedding, and while that was a lot of fun, that was definitely Wes’s version of a honeymoon haha. I finally booked my version of a honeymoon and we will be going on a cruise.

On Sunday, we leave for an 8 day cruise. This cruise is through Royal Caribbean and goes to their private island, Jamaica, and Cozumel. I am super excited and this will be our first cruise.

Do you have any cruising tips?

Oh yeah, don’t worry, I will still have internet and I will still be working at least a little bit!


We have entered the modern age and we now have Netflix.

Oh yeah, and we finally got Netflix! Our first month is free, and after that I believe it’s $8 per month. I don’t know why we waited so long to do this.

We are now thinking about getting rid of our cable because we haven’t watched anything on cable since we signed up for Netflix.

Netflix is almost a bad thing for us because we are definitely watching a lot more TV than how much we used to watch. Anyone else the same way? For a day or two we actually thought about getting rid of it because of how much time we were wasting. We just have no self-control when it comes to TV!

We finished Breaking Bad the other day (oh boy was that good!), and now we are watching Orange is the New Black. I am really enjoying that show as well. Next will probably be House of Cards because everyone keeps saying that we NEED to watch it.

What else do we need to watch?

I do have a question though, what do I do if I still want to watch new shows? Is that what Hulu is for? Haha I know, I am behind on the times!

July Goals and Life Update - We're Going On A Cruise!

This is a picture I took from a wedding guest. We are missing a groomsman in this picture.


June Goals Update

  1. Make $13,000 in business income. FAIL. Technically, I did make over $13,000, but when you take expenses out I did not. I was super close though!
  2. Go on a honeymoon. PASS. We sort of went on a honeymoon. We went on that 2 week road trip to Colorado and Utah. I’m going to call that Wes’s honeymoon. Then, we are going on a Caribbean cruise and we will call that my honeymoon. :)
  3. Run/walk 4 miles (4 days a week), and do some lifting/ab work. FAIL. Working out has been nonexistent for me…
  4. Have a fun wedding! PASS PASS PASS. Our wedding was amazing!

July Goals

  1. Make $13,000 in business income. I am keeping my same income goal from the past few months.
  2. Get back to my workout routine. This will be hard since we will be going on a cruise, but I would still like to accomplish SOMETHING. Luckily, our cruise ship has a track. I just need to actually use it though.
  3. Eat out no more than 5 times. We still have a restaurant problem, but the past few weeks we have been doing really well. I would really like to keep this up.  This goal doesn’t include the cruise though as meals are included in the cruise fare price.
  4. Create a giveaway for my 3 year blogiversary. My 3 year date is coming up. Crazy, right? What would you like to win?
  5. Declutter my closet. My closet right now could rival something in that Hoarders show. No, seriously. It needs to change.


How did you do in June? What is your main goal for July?

Have you been doing well with your income, spending and being healthy?


How Much Did Our Wedding Cost? – $22,230

How Much Did Our Wedding Cost? - $22,230Hello! Our wedding took place on June 7, 2014. It was a great day, but I am glad it is over.

Towards the end, there were just so many wedding expenses and I was spending so much time planning just one day. I am happy that we planned an ahmaaaaazzzziinnnngg wedding, but I’m glad that I can just think about the memories now :)

Right before the wedding, I had some expensive wedding regret. I know that we are technically below the average amount that is spent on a wedding (the average is around $26,000), but I still thought I would be way below where we were.

Don’t get me wrong though, we LOVED our wedding. It was the best day ever for us, and many people told us we had the best wedding that they had ever attended. That’s a win for me! The day did go by extremely fast though, I wish I had more time for it.

Oh yeah, I’m still waiting on the professional pictures, so there will probably still be a few more wedding posts to come. I can’t wait until I get those! I will be doing a full review on the different vendors we used, products that we loved, how we DIYed the wedding flowers, expenses we wish we would have skipped, and more. If you have anything that you would like me to cover in the future, please let me know.


Today’s post will be just about our BUDGET!

Back in January of 2013, we created a budget of something around $10,000 to $15,000 for our wedding. The very top limit that we set for ourselves was $20,000. We knew that we didn’t want to get up to that amount since we had to pay for every expense of our wedding, and that’s a lot of money.

I didn’t want to drown in wedding expenses, and I also wanted to spend amount that wouldn’t be ridiculous to share with you guys. I am a PF blogger and I didn’t want to be ashamed!


First, how much did we receive from bartering? – $7,000

We received around $7,000 in product and services for our wedding from bartering (yes, I know about IRS and bartering). I reached out to many wedding service businesses in the St. Louis area and many product-related businesses around the United States about arranging a barter.

I wasn’t pushy. I sent out a simple email to various businesses. It was easy and I figured that the only thing that could happen would be that a person would say “no.”

Rejection didn’t bother me. Plenty of people said no and plenty of people said yes.

For the most part, my services mainly revolved around helping businesses start a blog, helping them with grow their current blog, or teaching them about social media. It was easy for me since I am blogging all the time and I’m always on social media.

Read How To Save Money By Bartering Services.


Wedding rentals – $2,400

We budgeted a higher amount originally for our wedding rentals, but I found different ways to save a little bit of money, and we also shifted money in different directions.

For example, we built a “wedding barn” on the property, which meant that we didn’t need as big of a tent as we originally budgeted for.

We rented 375 chairs, around 30 tables for guests, food, gifts, etc., linens for everything, a 20×40 tent to go next to the wedding barn, a dance floor, and a few other things.


10390555_727343707304782_3557053094954433165_nWedding Barn – $1,000

We had our wedding on Wes’s family’s property. We donated $1,000 to go towards a wedding barn that the family has been wanting since we were going to have our wedding there. It was sort of like our venue fee for letting us use the land.

We also spent a lot of time on the property before the wedding (a few times a week), and Wes and his uncle built the barn.

They did a great job! My job in the whole thing was to supply them with water so that they could continue working :)

I did pick up a shovel and help them dig holes for the logs every now and then though!


Food – $2,500

We got a great deal on the food at our wedding because the owner of the place coincidentally was related to Wes.

We also bought a ton of bakery items that ended up costing almost $500. We had pies, multiple wedding cakes, cannolis, brownies, cookies, macarons, and more. Oh yeah, we had a candy table as well!

Before you think “Oh your food was so cheap!” Keep in mind that you need to factor in the cost of rentals, alcohol, the barn, bathrooms, and everything else because all of that is normally included in the price per person at a wedding venue. Outdoor weddings are expensive because everything is paid for separately and you have to cover pretty much everything.


Drinks – $2,000

In the beginning, our idea was to supply our own alcohol and hire a bartender to just serve the drinks. However, we found it really hard to do that, and I really just didn’t want to think about the bar during my wedding (such as if the drinks got warm, the bartender sucked, we ran out of drinks, or something else).

Instead, I searched around and found an awesome company who just bartends at private events like weddings. They supplied all the alcohol, cups, ice, bartending table, and more.

They handled everything and it was very affordable.


Wedding attire – $3,600

My wedding dress was around $1,615. I bought my dress from a place called White Traditions Bridal in the St. Louis area. It was an awesome and super cute place. If you are from the STL area, I definitely recommend that you shop for your dress from here.

Alterations were $140 for a bustle, bra inserted, and having it taken in just half an inch. It was supposed to be $160 but I had a small change that ended up lowering the price.

My shoes were $50 and can be worn again.

My jewelry was $75 for a necklace and earrings.

My veil was $40. Bought it off of Etsy and I loved it.

Hair and makeup are a little expensive at $1,100. I paid for my bridesmaids hair and makeup as a part of their gift.

For Wes, we went to Men’s Wearhouse and we had enough groomsmen so that he could get his for free. We also put money towards each of their tuxes as a gift from us so that the rental fee wasn’t so high for them. Then, we also paid for two tuxes for two of his men as well to help them out.


Photography – $3,800

I found an awesome photographer and her fee was around $2,000.

We also paid for engagement photos which were around $400.

Then we also had a photo booth and the fee for that was around $1,400. The photo booth pictures were a HIT. Check out some of the pictures here.


Paper – $1,300

We had save the dates, invitations, RSVPs, and wedding programs to pay for. Sad thing is that we completely forgot to have the wedding programs handed out because of the bad weather (everything was flying everywhere!). So, now we have a ton of wedding programs still in the original plastic packaging haha.

We haven’t bought our thank you cards yet, but that is on our to-do list for this week.



Miscellaneous – $5,630

We had a lot of other expenses too. These included:

  • We had a DJ. – $800
  • I bought robes for myself and my bridesmaids for when we are getting ready. These were also gifts for them and many of them have said that they have been wearing them a lot, which is great. – $150
  • Bug spray since everything was outdoors – $30
  • Lighting for the whole property so that people don’t trip – $200
  • Decor for centerpieces – $300
  • We wholesaled flowers and DIYed them – $700
  • Day of Wedding Coordinator – $850
  • Bathrooms – $800. We needed outdoor bathrooms as well (these were wedding ones that could flush and had a sink. There were also candles and flowers in them) because you never want over 200 people using one septic system.
  • Rehearsal Dinner – $400
  • Other gifts for our bridal party – $500.
  • Champagne flutes – $50
  • Garter – $25
  • We used a family member as our officiant and gave him a $100 gift.
  • Sparklers and lanterns for guests – $200
  • Guest book – Free. My friend made an awesome one. Thanks Adrienne!
  • Canvas pictures of us for our guest book table – $200
  • Hanger for my wedding dress that says “Mrs. Gardner” – $25
  • Custom wedding cake topper and serving set– $300


Altogether, everything totaled $22,230, before bartering.

So, after the $7,000 in barters, our total wedding cost was $15,230.


How much was your wedding?

Was there anything you regretted paying for or wished you spent money on?