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!
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?
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