Summer weddings are pretty magical—dancing under the stars on a comfortable breezy evening, having a sparkler send off at the end of the night, and enjoying the company of friends and family without worrying too much about the weather. But summer is also a very popular time of the year to get married, which means that wedding expenses can cost more than in the off-season. Here are eight budget summer wedding ideas to help you not bust your budget while still getting the wedding of your dreams.
1. Pick a Non-Traditional Venue
In the winter you’re pretty much restricted to only indoor ceremony and reception spaces, which tend to be more expensive than outdoor venues. In the summer, you have the big advantage of having great weather on your side—meaning you can get away with hosting your wedding at a non-traditional venue. Host your wedding at a public park, a campsite, a national park, or a farm. Because these spaces aren’t typically used for a wedding, you might be surprised at what kind of savings you can get!
2. Choose Flowers that Are Local and in Season
Couples can expect to spend about 7% of their budget on wedding flowers. This staggering amount can grow even bigger if you choose flowers that aren’t in season or have to be shipped a long way. Work with your florist on finding locally sourced flowers for your bouquets, table decorations, and boutonnières to save some money. Bonus: going the local, in-season route is also better for the environment and will ensure the flowers last throughout the ceremony and reception, no matter the outside temperatures.
3. Use Nature as Your Decorations
In the winter months, you have to use your imagination (and more of your budget) to make a wedding venue really pop, but in the summer you have nature on your side to create a beautiful space. If you plan on getting married outdoors, there’s not really much to add to the lush, green space that already exists. Just add a few candles, a few strategically placed flower arrangements, or let nature speak for itself.
4. Get Married in the Backyard
If you plan on having a small wedding guest list, you might consider getting married in your own backyard (or maybe in your parents’ or friends’ backyard). Other than securing the noise permit, your costs for having a backyard wedding will be much less than that of a traditional venue. And what’s cozier than getting married right at home? (Plus, shoes are definitely optional at a low-key backyard wedding.)
5. Have One Signature Cocktail
An open bar might sound appealing, but the cost will skyrocket if you go with that option. Instead, pick a refreshing summer cocktail like a gin and tonic or mojito to cut down on your alcohol budget. Supplement your signature cocktail with a healthy supply of wine and beer in case your guests aren’t a fan of the cocktail you’re serving.
6. Opt for a More Casual Wedding Dress and Tux
You want to look your best on your wedding day, but a summer wedding lends itself to a more casual vibe, so you can feel free to skip the fancy wedding dress and tuxedo or suit if you want to save some money. There are plenty of white dresses on the market that don’t exist at a bridal store, which will automatically give you a more laid-back look that would look perfect for a casual summer wedding. For the groom, opt for a lightweight suit in a material like linen or skip the jacket altogether (it will be warm, after all!). You can also save money on bridal shoes by choosing to wear casual sandals underneath your dress or choosing not to wear any at all, especially if you plan on having a backyard or beachfront wedding.
7. Host a Barbecue for the Rehearsal Dinner
Is there anything that screams summer more than a laid-back barbecue? Skip the stuffy, traditional rehearsal dinner at a fancy restaurant and go with a relaxed evening in the backyard. All you need is some good food for grilling, someone who is adept at the grill, and some six-packs to keep the party going. Add some ambiance with string lights, paper lanterns, and some colorful pillows to add to the backyard chairs. Not only is a barbecue a great way to save some money on the rehearsal dinner, but it’ll save you some much-needed stress the night before your wedding.
8. Skip the Traditional Wedding Cake
This one might be controversial, but hear us out: wedding cakes are a huge expense (costing anywhere from $300 to $1,000 if you go with a deluxe version) and can be cumbersome during the hot summer months. Instead, go with a less expensive dessert like cupcakes, pie—or do something creative like a DIY s’mores or icecream sundae bar.