5 Tips to Create a Beautiful & Budget-friendly Outdoor Wedding Venue

5 Tips to Create a Beautiful & Budget-friendly Outdoor Wedding Venue Streamer tent – Green Wedding Shoes

There’s something so special about attending a wedding on a warm summer night. You can’t buy the ambiance that the great outdoors already has to offer. The smell, the breeze — ahhhhhh I just love an outdoor wedding. On top of the beautiful natural setting, outdoor venues can also be much cheaper since they don’t involve as much power usage or cleanup time — and you KNOW we like that. Here’s a list of our top 5 tips to make your outdoor wedding a smashing success.

Setting up boundaries or “visual walls” can make all the difference in turning a simple backyard into an elegant wedding venue. Set up different areas for the ceremony, reception and food/bar table. Use your imagination. Take a look at the trees and shrubs around you — maybe you can use a row of hedges to separate the reception from the ceremony, or maybe you can create a line of division with streamers or vintage bed sheets on a clothesline. The sky is the limit! With well-defined areas, your guests will feel a direct sense of purpose for each area (“AH! This is where we dance!”) and help the overall flow of your wedding.

The easiest way to make a big impact on a large space is with repetition. And lucky for you (you beautiful little cheapskate), the more you buy the more you save per piece! Some of our favorite decorations to buy in bulk are paper lanterns, streamers, candles, mason jars, tissue paper pom-poms and string lights. Online stores like Save On Crafts or Oriental Trading are great places to start shopping. Tip: If you’re planning a wedding for 2014, wait to buy your clear string lights until after this Christmas when they will go on clearance.

5 Tips to Create a Beautiful & Budget-friendly Outdoor Wedding Venue Paper lantern ceiling | Light wall – Style Me Pretty

This is probably the most overlooked aspect of outdoor wedding planning. Indoor wedding venues are decorated from top to bottom. Whether it’s great architectural detail on the ceiling or sconce lighting, indoor venues are usually dressed to the hilt. Because an outdoor venue can often require more man power to set up, higher-up details can be easily forgotten. Just like a painting, beauty is in the entire composition. Choose a venue with varying heights of trees or flowers. Or if your landscape is more bare, string up some rope to hang decorations (a great opportunity to use #2!).

Unless you’re having your reception at noon, you’re likely to need extra outdoor lighting during the reception. While daylight does stick around longer in the summer, by the end of the night you and your guests WILL be in complete darkness. And good ol’ Aunt Merna can hardly see in the daytime, let alone outside at 9:00PM. Make sure to hang extra lights from above if you’ve got plenty of tree cover. Or light half a dozen candles per table to help your guests see each other without blocking out the starry night sky. Or why not try a fresh approach with glow sticks or tiki torches? The options are endless.

5 Tips to Create a Beautiful & Budget-friendly Outdoor Wedding Venue Hanging tissue paper pom-poms | Streamer backdrop – Offbeat Bride

Safety is obvious but often-forgotten. It’s most likely that your floor hasn’t been smoothed and carpeted, so rocks and rough terrain are all around. Scope out the area BEFORE all of your decorations are set up. It’s easy to miss a huge exposed root when it’s already been covered by an aisle runner. For rough or gravelled areas make sure that hand rails, chairs or ushers are available to give your elderly guests (or girls in 4″ heels) something to hold onto while they walk.

And most importantly … HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN FOR BAD WEATHER! Be prepared with the name and number for an available tent rental, if necessary. Do whatever you need to make sure your big day goes down without a hitch!

Well, brides — what do YOU think? What are you planning for your outdoor wedding? Do you have any more tips to share with our readers? Let’s get the conversation started in the comment section below!

Tired, Trendy & Timeless:
Passed Hors D’oeuvres

I’m pretty ashamed at how many times I had to look up the word “hors d’oeuvres” to make sure I spelled it correctly. It still looks a bit alien to me. Maybe I’m not fancy enough … or French enough … or rich enough. Either way, in this installment of Tired, Trendy & Timeless we take a look at some of our favorite (and not so favorite) passed hors d’oeuvres, because no one likes hangry (hungry+angry) wedding guests. And don’t forget to scroll down for a Friday roundup of our favorite wedding finds on the web this week!

Tired, Trendy & Timeless: Hors Douevres

Tired: Cucumber sandwiches – been there, ate that
Trendy: Mini fish tacos & Patron ‘ritas, Pancake bites
Timeless: California sliders

Now for some awesome wedding links we found this week:

Recently on MarryThis!:

Have a wonderful weekend!

DIY Bridal Makeup:
Pixiwoo Video Tutorials

I started this post thinking I would write a basic roundup of my favorite bridal makeup video tutorials, but SURPRISE … time after time I always keep going back to the same source. So instead, this post has evolved into a love letter to Pixiwoo. With a bajillion views, Sam and Nic are two makeup artists with a bomb.com Youtube channel that features DIY makeup tutorials. And these girls are good. Fantastic, actually. Pixiwoo even regularly features makeup tutorials to mimic popular celebrity looks (Angelia Jolie makeup tutorial, anyone?) and has a full gamut of bridal makeup tutorials.

For a budget bride, doing your own makeup can be an absolute necessity. And in my opinion, Pixiwoo is the absolute best resource! Here are some of our favorite bridal makeup tutorials to get you started.

Now, I know the next video is a drag makeup tutorial, but stay with me here. Believe it or not, this was actually my most helpful video! Pay special attention to these contouring and highlighting tips. For girls with a round, full face like me, this was the difference between date-night-out-makeup and it’s-my-wedding-day-bitches-makeup!

And last but not least, the classic Audrey Hepburn, my absolute favorite tutorial!

If you still haven’t seen a tutorial that matches the overall look you are going for, don’t forget to check out the rest of Pixiwoo’s video tutorials on Youtube!

Less than $200:
Tailored Gold Bridesmaids

Less than $200: Tailored Gold Bridesmaids

There’s nothing sexier than a well-tailored dress. This gorgeous bridesmaid look is sure to flatter your waistline AND your wallet. Throw in a few gold accessories, some seriously sparkly shoes and you have a winning evening look. Best of all, the entire cost of this look comes in just shy of $200.


{Clockwise} 1. Jetsetter Journalist Dress, $65 | 2. Big Buddah Heather clutch in yellow, $40 | 3. Geo Drop earrings, $4 | 4. Essie nail color in Beyond Cozy, $8 | 5. RSVP Stella in gold, $80

2012 Year in Review:
Your fave posts last year!

Happy New Year all! Have you decided on a resolution? Mine might involve posting a bit more regularly this year … *cough *cough, sorry guys. I’ve had some pretty exciting news that’s kept me away from the computer a lot — but more on that another time.

I think there’s no better way to start a new year than to reflect on the awesomeness that you already have. And since I think MarryThis is pretty awesome, I’ll do the same. So here, my friends, is a list of our top 10 posts (based on views) from 2012. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this blog in 2013!

#10 – 2012 Best of MarryThis

"It's What's Inside that Counts" Oreo-stuffed cookie wedding favor w/free printable


In case you hadn’t figured it out: This blog is for cheapskate brides, NOT cheap brides. We like to think of our brides as fabulously broke. This favor came in at less than $1 a piece. Now THAT’s a favor we can get behind. Don’t forget to download our free printable “It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts” labels, too.

#9 – 2012 Best of MarryThis


We know better than anyone that it’s not easy to keep a budget wedding from turning “cheap chic” to “trailer-park trashy.” Use these 5 tips to keep your budget down, without sacrificing class and style. You might be surprised at just how expensive common wedding items actually are.

#8 – 2012 Best of MarryThis


I’ve always swooned for sliced agates. Even before they were popular. And now that they ARE trendy, why not save some moolah and try making your bridesmaid gifts? Not only are these necklaces super easy (no jewelry skills needed) they also only cost $6.26 each to make! Now THAT’s a win win.

#7 – 2012 Best of MarryThis

Freebie Friday! Icebreaker place cards free printable


A well-balanced and effective seating arrangement is NOT as easy as it sounds. Blending personalities and common interests to help everyone have the best time possible is definitely hard. Our icebreaker place cards will help those guests who might not know everyone at the table. Write each guest’s name on the front (with their table number) and then describe who is sitting to the right and left of them on the back. Sharing a fun fact about each guest will get the conversation flowing (see our example, above).

#6 – 2012 Best of MarryThis

Free printable guest book advice cards


It seems like there are a TON of fun guest book options these days. In this 2012 edition of Freebie Friday, we posted a fun set of double-sided guest book advice cards with an included instructional sign! Because really, what couple wouldn’t benefit from a few tidbits of advice from friends and family members who have been there before? The best part is that wedding guests who aren’t married can still contribute their advice with the “we wish you…” cards.

#5 – 2012 Best of MarryThis

DIY "Be my bridesmaid" ombre cupcakes in a jar


Asking a best friend or loved one to be your bridesmaid is a very special moment that should be celebrated. I love this little gift because it’s SUPER adorable, affordable AND shows your friends how special they are to you without the added pressure of a large gift or gesture. I almost forgot the best part … our cute inkjet transfer “Will you be my bridesmaid” napkins! Your girlfriends will be so surprised to see their hidden message waiting for them!

#4 – 2012 Best of MarryThis

Best paper flower tutorials


While we do LOVE beautiful fresh flowers, if you can’t afford them, you can’t afford them. And in our opinion, no wedding is worth going into debt over (GASP!). Why not consider making your own paper flowers? Read on for a roundup of some of our favorite paper flower tutorials.

#3 – 2012 Best of MarryThis

Free printable wedding planning timeline


This post was no doubt so popular because it’s just so practical! Many soon-to-be-brides get a sense of “now what?” after they’ve gotten engaged. Download our free wedding planning timeline and you’ll have a month-by-month list of all your wedding to-dos up until the actual wedding day. It really can’t get much easier.

#2 – 2012 Best of MarryThis

DIY "pick your poison" bachelorette party favors


Am I surprised that one of our only booze-related posts has made it to the #2 spot for 2012? Not at all. We knew that you readers (*cough* alcoholics) were that awesome. I got this idea while trying to figure out the perfect bachelorette party gift. ‘Cause lets be honest, you’re NEVER going to wear that “one last ride for the bride” T-shirt again. This fun “Pick Your Poison” gift box filled with mini liquor bottles is the perfect gift for any bachelorette and her posse.

#1 – 2012 Best of MarryThis

5 reasons why you should get married when you're fat


Oh boy was this post a doozey — it came in at #1 for 2012, with more than DOUBLE the views of our #2 post. It probably also tied for our “most hated post” of 2012! These 5 reasons sure did stir up some controversy in our comments section. The whole point of this post was to encourage brides to focus on their HEALTH, not their weight, before the wedding. We (and your fiance) love you for how you look now, and we think you should, too. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s definitely worth the read.

2012 was a great year for MarryThis! Thank you so much to our loyal readers — you can expect even better from us in 2013.

XO, Allison


New in our Etsy shop!
Art Deco Wedding
Invitation Suite & Link Love

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas! Today we are introducing the newest suite in our Etsy shop! Our Art Deco Wedding Invitation Suite is perfect for the couple that loves to go antiquing and relaxes with an old black-and-white movie. Looking for something different? Don’t forget to check out all of our invitation suites and scroll down for our favorite wedding finds on the web this week!!

Art Deco Wedding Invitation Suite

We’ve launched 7 original wedding stationery suites that include invitations, RSVP cards, thank you cards and save the date postcards. Many more designs are on the way, so make sure to check back regularly! All of our wedding invitations suites can be customized to match your wedding colors (you can even match the envelopes!).

If you are a fan of my work, but don’t see a specific invitation suite that suits your fancy — I love doing custom work! Please feel free to email me at shop@marrythis.com and I would be happy to give you a quote.

Now for some awesome wedding links we found this week:

Have a wonderful weekend!

Roundup: Your DIY
Winter Wedding

Hellooooo friends! Who’s been to a winter wedding? I never have and I’m just dying to be invited to one! There’s something so cozy about the idea of marrying your best friend on a chilly night filled with music, dancing, comfort food and your favorite people. To pay tribute to the season, here’s a roundup of some of our favorite winter wedding ideas!

Roundup: Your DIY Winter Wedding

1. Winter barn wedding | 2. Erika Obrien cake design | 3. Winter inspired invitations | 4. Hot chocolate mason jar wedding favors | 5. Hearty soup served in mugs | 6. Cotton bridal bouquet | 7. Rustic tablescape

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