You're gonna love this crafty backyard wedding. So many fun and entertaining details – including games and interactive stations for the guests to take advantage of during the reception. I mean, a s'mores station?? YUM! And a photobooth, and games for the kids? Sounds like one fun wedding to me. I just hope you love this wedding as much as I did! xoxo, Jessica
Jaimie + Justin
September 14, 2013
Wedding location Hellertown, PA | Our 3 Acre Farmhouse
What was your budget?
Food & Drinks – $2000
Invitations & Thank you – $250
Décor – $500
Tent Rental – $300
How many guests did you have?
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
Our property is a late 1700s farmhouse and we made as many rustic touches as we could with items from the property. Our guests were greeted with stuffed burlap bags painted with directional signs for parking and a walking path to the festivities. Pieces of slate from the original roof were used to make signs for yard games, and directions for party favors, sign in and such.
We filled an old canoe with ice and drinks. We set up a s’more station next to our large burn pit; old hinged jars were filled with different flavor marshmallows and candy and a large metal milk jug held s’more sticks made from branches on the property. I painted mason jars and made large flowers as centerpieces and used a wood burner to burn each guest’s name in a personalized wood slice coaster. Our guests used mason jars as glasses with hemp tied brown tags to write their name on them. An old wooden swing from a beautiful magnolia tree for pictures. We also set up a photo area with a remote-controlled camera and props.
My husband and I have each lost a parent in recent years so we set up a memorial on a fallen 200-year-old willow tree with pictures, candle lighting, and a poem written on slate to honor them. My bouquet was made of fabric flowers and jewelry from my late mother’s wedding gown and jewelry. In celebration of everlasting life, we placed edible butterflies and dragonflies on each cupcake for our guests. I surprised my husband, a retired Sergeant in the US Marine Corps with a customized dress blues cake and a puppy.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
Making all of the décor for our reception and being creative with the resources we already owned saved us so much money. For example using the canoe, our own camera for the photo booth, bartering services and using web resources for ideas.
I can be rather long-winded but if needed, I can give endless tips on how I saved money by crafting so much of our décor and interactive items for our guests. A quick example – I bought pastel butterfly nets at the dollar store with bamboo handles and placed them in a tall bushel basket with personalized “bug hotels” (dollar store food containers with floral wire handles and holes in the lid) and a cute poem about catching bugs for all the children in attendance. This was a HUGE hit with all ages and every child took theirs home.
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Elope. ? As a bride and a professional who works with many brides my best advice to give is that you do not have to fulfill all the “traditional must-haves” of weddings, like having tissue paper in your invitations with 8 inserts. There are many areas to save money that older generations might say is “wrong”. An easy example is party favors. I challenge people by asking them which favors they still have in their home from weddings they have attended. Donations, extra food or fun activities are often more enjoyed by guests than a trinket to take home. Make this event about you and your husband. Understand you will not make everyone happy with your planning but when the day of your wedding arrives it will be a joyous occasion and your guests will remember more how they felt then what they took home.
What was your biggest splurge?
We spent the most on food. A good meal will erase the memory of folding chairs any day.
What was your favorite detail?
As the bride, my favorite detail is a tie. The first was the s’more station. It was the last item on my list because I knew it was not a priority but I was so excited when I had the time to make it. Hunting for all different marshmallows and filling jars with all the different treats made me feel like a penny candy store owner. It was a guilty pleasure for all our guests and even adults were excited to try their own creations.
The second is my bouquet made from my mother’s belongings. It helped me feel like she was there with me and I can still picture her wearing the earrings and costume jewelry used to make it.
The groom’s favorite detail was the horseshoe pit, as he built it especially for the event. To know your hands have touched so many details in planning an event and then watching your loved ones enjoy it, is a great feeling.
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
We stood under an enormous willow tree for our ceremony and when we kissed the long hanging branches swirled around us. It was a beautiful moment.
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.