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DIY Backyard Wedding

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I’ve got another lovely feature for you all today! Tandra and Eric planned their budget savvy DIY Backyard Wedding at the bride’s parent’s home, while undergoing a huge home renovation project! Quite ambitious, I’d say! They managed to pull it off on a modest budget of about $8,000 and hosted over 100 guests. Of course, the photography was a gift from their extended family so essentially the total spent was probably around $10,000 – so just keep that in mind! I’d say that’s a wonderful gift to receive because the photos are gorgeous! I am a sucker for beautiful sunflowers and this wedding is chock full of them! Hope you enjoy this wedding as much as I do! xoxo- Jessica


Tandra + Eric

September 29, 2012

Newcastle, California

What was your budget? 

Over estimating a tad…Almost $8000, however this was split 3 ways between us and both sets of parents so not too shabby…

  • Catering/Alcohol/Tables/Chairs…& DD transport: $5500
  • Photography/Videography: A gift from extended family, or else our budget would’ve been much higher.
  • Music: $500
  • Flowers/Centerpieces: $250 (DIY)
  • Favors: $70 (DIY)
  • Invitations: $60 (DIY)
  • Wedding Desserts: $300
  • Bride and Groom Attire: $500
  • Alterations: $75
  • Make up/Hair: $150
  • DĂ©cor/Signs/Table and Aisle runners: $200
  • Comfort Table (fans, parasols, flip flops, etc): $100

How many guests did you have?


What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

I have to give credit to my parents for their creativity and generosity. (I mean, what kind of parents offer to host our 110 guest wedding in the midst of a major home renovation? ) They took a run down ranch and turned it into an amazingly beautiful venue that we could be proud of. Our guests and friends knew what a labor of love the event was for us and our family. The wedding would not have been so beautiful if it wasn’t for the venue and all the DIY touches. You can see all their fabulous before and after photos here.

Also the wedding was a long over-due celebration of love for us, (as my husband is a cancer survivor) and at one point we never thought we’d have the chance to celebrate our wedding with friends and family.

What were the biggest things you did to save money?

  • The best and most gratifying way to save money was have the wedding at my parent’s home. (When your parents renovate their entire home for the big day, that’s some serious love!)
  • DIY, DIY, DIY! From creating our own centerpieces, invitations, dĂ©cor, favors, signs, etc. we were able to splurge on fantastic catering and photography/videography.
  • We actually sold the majority of the dĂ©cor and items after the wedding so technically we saved money in the end. We also kept a few key pieces to reuse as home and outdoor dĂ©cor. For example, I weatherproofed the guest book Adirondack chairs for outdoor furniture (see here)

What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

Don’t forget the seating chart like I did! Thank goodness for amazing in-laws and friends who took care of this detail at the last minute. My parents and I were so busy with the wedding décor and preparation we had forgotten this very important aspect.

The second best advice, keep your bridal party happy. We made a choice to seriously consider our  friend’s budgets and comfort when deciding on the attire. Instead of renting tuxedos or having them buy bridesmaid dresses we opted for a BYOC (Bring your own clothes). The bridemaids were asked to wear their own brown dress, while the men brought their own khakis and white shirts (we provided them the matching vests and ties). They kept telling us after how comfortable and happy they were to wear their own clothes.

Third piece of advice, don’t blow the budget on attire. I found a clearance bridal gown and second dancing gown, total cost $330. When your wedding is in the country and you know you will be a dancing nut, don’t go overboard with the price. You can still look fabulously beautiful for far less than you think. 

What was your biggest splurge?

The food, alcohol and dessert! We are total foodies, and our caterer was absolutely amazing! We also had a “Sacramento bakery” theme dessert bar. Instead of a wedding cake, we had all our favorite desserts from our favorite Sacramento bakeries. 

What was your favorite detail?

My two favorite details were the DIY centerpieces and our guest book Adirondack chairs. I’ve had so many questions about them that I had to include them in our home renovation blog. 

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The most memorable moment of the day were the speeches. Thankfully our videographer Frontside films captured the humor and poignant moment beautifully.


Catering: Penguin Catering, Auburn CA  //  Videographer: Front side Films, Eldorado Hills CA  //  Photographer: Kristy Weldon, Sacramento CA  //  DJ: DJ Magic, Walnut Creek CA   //  Make-up: Christi Reynolds Make up Artistry, Sacramento CA  //  Hair: Donna with Turning Heads Salon in Orangevale, CA  //  Bouquets: Floral designer Sherry Hulebert, Vacaville, CA  //  Desserts: Rick’s Dessert DinerEttore’sFreeport Bakery, and Icing on the cupcake, Sacramento CA


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