Non-traditional Park Wedding

non-traditional park wedding

Photo credit: Terri Dobransky

Tim and I were married on Saturday, September 27, 2014. We had ridiculously good weather for our non-traditional park wedding–it was 78 and sunny the whole day. We had such wonderful help and support from our family and friends, and so many people traveled to be with us. It was a relatively small wedding (about 60 people), and even that felt big to me!  We had a great day in the park, followed by a bonfire at our friend’s house. All of the major things we didn’t use a vendor for, such as music and alcohol, turned out great. The bulk of our budget (about half) went to food, which was what we wanted from the get-go.

non-traditional park wedding

Our venue (Photo credit Terri Dobransky)

Here is a breakdown of what we spent:

Venue: $345

Catering and alcohol: $4500

Bride and groom’s outfits, shoes, and accessories: $250  (my mom gifted my dress to me, which was a bridesmaid dress)

Flowers and decorations: $500

Favors: $25

Invitations/paper products: $650

Rings: $315

Marriage license: $80

Transportation: $500

Hair, makeup for bride, groom’s sister, and mothers: $450

Honeymoon: Approximately $1,000

Prenuptial happy hour: $700

Photography: Gift from friend

On-site coordination: Gift from friends

Including our rings and our honeymoon, we spent under $10,000, which was within our budget. DIYing our decorations and using “friendors,” as well as going relatively non-traditional with our venue and outfits, were our biggest sources of savings. We DIY’ed all of our decorations, and my mom brought some free hydrangeas from home for our bouquets.

non-traditional park wedding

Photo credit: Terri Dobransky

non-traditional park wedding

Photo credit: Terri Dobransky

Recap: Which Worries Were Worth it–and Which Weren’t

To review, my three major worries before my wedding were:

  2. Whether people would have fun
  3. The weather

Logistics was worth the worry, at least in our case. Since everything was in a public park, and our friends were our coordinators, we needed to figure everything out ahead of time, and it did pay off. There were a few minor hiccups that came along with using a non-traditional venue, but our friends handled everything like pros.

People had fun! They played cornhole, they liked our beer selections, and they liked the food. Beyond that, it’s all gravy. If your guests like you, and you aren’t making them stand outside in 40 degree weather, they’re probably going to have fun.

It’s easy to look back now and say that I wasted time worrying about the weather and other completely-out-of-my-control aspects of the wedding, but I really couldn’t help it. Was it worth the stress? Of course not. If you can find a way to avoid stressing yourself, kudos to you.
If you know what you want for your wedding, go for it. Don’t feel like you have to do a single thing just because it’s what’s usually done–we skipped 90% of the traditional wedding stuff, and it certainly still felt like a wedding. Overall, remember–it’s just one day. It feels good to start off our marriage on strong financial footing, having not gone over budget on the wedding.

non-traditional park wedding

Photo credit: Terri Dobransky

non-traditional park wedding

Photo credit: Terri Dobransky

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 pandemic wedding resources here

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