Free’n Cheap Backyard Wedding Ideas for a Fun and Fabulous Ceremony and Reception

If you’re looking for backyard wedding ideas that’ll delight your guests, lend themselves well to AMAZING photos, and result in a whole day of fun and romance (while still being practical and affordable) settle into your seat and keep reading.

I’ve pulled these ideas from the weddings I’ve featured on the site. I really think that each an every one of these is absolutely amazing and offers a lot of inspiration and versatility.

But, before I dive in, I just have to admit that I’m a little jealous of you and everyone else who can have a backyard wedding. We planned a “Welcome BBQ” in our backyard for out-of-town guests (we had a lot) the night before our wedding and it was AMAZING. There’s something relaxing and comforting about getting married at home, in your familiar surroundings. I would have loved it. I hope these ideas help you make your celebrations everything you want them to be.

Be Cool While Keeping Your Beverages Cool

Backyard wedding: canoe cooler for wine and beer

Use a canoe for your cooler at your backyard wedding. From Jennifer and Martin’s wedding. Go see it here.

If you’re planning a wedding in your backyard, one of the challenges you’re going to face is keeping your beverages cool. The idea of using a canoe is one of the most unique I’ve seen.

If you don’t have a canoe (because a lot of us don’t) you can opt for any number of plastic tubs. I quite like this one at Amazon – Square 13 In. Clear Acrylic Plastic Ice (Party) Tubs

You can also look for huge tupperware containers at Wal-mart or your local hardware store. You can then use these for storage after your wedding. Or, you can sell them on Craigsist.


If You Can Eat it “Kabob-it”


Kabobs, the perfect backyard wedding menu item. From Andrea and Wing’s feature. Go see it here.

The best menus for a backyard wedding are the perfect blend of upscale and relaxed. From what I’ve seen, kabobs are a great merging of those two styles.

You can make almost anything out of a kabob – from fresh summer veggies to chicken, shrimp, and even fruit.

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Favors That Practically Scream “BACKYARD WEDDING AWESOME’NESS”

Backyard wedding ideas: bbq and hot sauce favors

BBQ sauce for a backyard wedding favor from

Hot sauce and BBQ sauce tops my list of top favors for backyard weddings. If you decide to buy them, you can get them for around $3 each (including label) which is very reasonable. And, if you decide to make your own special recipe the price would be similar.

Besides, your guests will love these. That’s what’s most important right?

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Fence Fashion 101

Backyard wedding idea" camoflaging fences with pictures

Molly and Nick camoflage their fences creatively. Go see the whole feature

OMG right. What an incredible idea. I want to give this bride is a prize for ingenuity!

If you have metal fences and want to camouflage them, this is a great way to do it for very little money.


The Quaint Side of Affordable

Hang candle holders and vases from trees for a backyard wedding

Hanging candle holders and vase from Luna Bazaar

Mason jars are totally huge when it comes to weddings. They’re especially popular for backyard celebrations. BUT, if you want something a little bit more colorful and fancy, you can opt for candle holder/vase hybrids like this.

You can sit them on tables, walkways, or even Plus, you can hang these from the trees, hooks in your fence, or anywhere you can think.

These cost about $2.50 each (about double the cost of a mason jar). So, if your budget is tight or you prefer the look of the mason jar stick with them instead.

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Make Your Virgin Drinks Look Pretty

Backyard wedding idea for serving drinks

Stylish virgin drink service from Hannah and John’s wedding.

If you’re going to offer virgin refreshments, you might as well make them look good.  You can get containers like this in either glass or plastic.

If you get them at Amazon, they range in price from $25 – $115.  Most of them are around $35-$50. (Click here to go see them). Keep your eyes peeled for the dispensers with a removable ice dispenser.

You can keep one of these after the wedding and sell any additional ones on Craigslist.


Entertain with a Bonfire

Do you have a backyard that will allow you have a bonfire? If so, I say go for it!

Adrian and I went to his cousins wedding  in Saskatchewan just a few weeks before our own. As you can imagine, the yards are quite large. One of my favorite things about it was the bonfire. We sat around it for hours with beer and fabulous conversation. And, when there wasn’t conversation, it didn’t matter. The bonfire was perfectly entertaining.

If you live in the city, you might be able to use one of those outdoor fireplaces. Check your local bilaws though. It became illegal in some cities.

Note: If you decide to do this, make sure you have a hose nearby!


Nothin’ Beats a Marshmallow Roast

Backyard wedding ideas: Marshmallow roast

Marshmallow roast for a backyard wedding. From Kiran and Rich’s celebration.

If you’re going to have a bonfire (or backyard fireplace) then you just have to have a marshmallow roast. This activity can replace or compliment the traditional snacks table.  Include all the supplies for making everyone’s favorite – S’mores. Mmmm!


Paper Lanterns for Decor

A backyard wedding seems somehow more complete with paper lanterns! They look amazing hung from railings, fences, trees, and tent celings.

What I like is that it’s really easy to make them look unique. There are an endless array of color options and they come in a ton of different sizes and shapes.

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Flickering Lights for Tents and Trees

If you’re getting married in a backyard a tent is a must if there’s any chance of rain or extreme sun. So, if you’re going to have a tent, go crazy with the flickering lights. It looks gorgeous in backyards, especially if you add them to surrounding trees. Combined with the lumineries below, your backyard will look incredible!

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Creative a Privacy Screen with Curtains


Molly and Nick’s privacy screen. Go see the whole feature here.

I think this is SO clever! Depending on how your backyard is set up, you could totally use an idea like this to shield yourself from the curious gaze of your neighbours.  It’s also very affordable. You can easily get curtains like this at Ikea for about $20 per pair.


Potted Plants for Backyard Wedding Aisles


Potted plants for ceremony aisle decor. From Jordan and Anthony’s wedding

From the minute I saw this idea I was hooked. If you’re on a budget, this exact look is totally fine as-is for a backyard wedding. BUT, if you can spend a little bit extra, I’d use slightly fancier pots. You could go with a brushed aluminum pot, terra cotta pots, or anything else you that works for you.

You could then use them for decorations elsewhere after the ceremony.  You could even give them away as prizes if you play any reception games.

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Monogram Paper Luminieres for Walkways

Monogram Paper Luminieres from Beau Coup

Monogram Paper Luminieres from Beau Coup

These look really fabulous lining walkways in backyards. It’s a lot cheaper (and simpler) than getting permanent lighting fixtures. They’re under$2.50 each.

To make sure that they don’t fly away, people usually fill them with sand and/or pebbles.

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Mason Jar with Chalkboard Paint and Funky Straws

Backyard wedding ideas: Use mason jars for glasses or decor

Mason jar glasses from Martin and Jennifer’s wedding.

Mason jars are so in for everything from decorations to (as you can see here) beverage service. I love how Martin and Jennifer took it a step further with blackboard paint. How cool!

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making this, you can buy milk jars with labels and matching straws. They’re actually pretty cool and aren’t terribly expensive. All combined, they sell for about $2-$2.50 (depending on how many you buy). Check these out…

With that said, mason jars are probably the more eco-friendly option. You can even decide to sell them on Craigslist or Kijiji after your wedding.


A Classy Wine and Cheese Station

Wine and cheese stations for backyard weddings

Wine and Cheese service table at Kiran’s and Rich’s wedding.

This is such a fun idea for a backyard wedding! You don’t need even to have service staff for this.

All you need are labels and descriptions and your friends and family can enjoy your wine and cheese tasting table in their own time.

If your budget can hack it, get some tiny little frames for the descriptions and details.


Personalized Water Bottles for Your Guests

Personalized water bottles for outdoor and backyard wedding ideas

Personalized water bottles from Adam and Joanna’s wedding.

If you’re planning a backyard wedding, it’s really important to have lots of water available to your guests – especially if it’s sunny and you’re serving alcohol.

You can get really great personalize labels from My Wedding Labels). If they’re not in your budget (they’re about $1-$1.50 each) you can offer water bottles from the dollar store. Personalized labels are a nice touch, but it’s the water that really matters.

Note: you have to buy water bottles in bulk or buy them and then remove the labels before you can add your own personalized labels.


Are those inspirational juices flowing?

The only question I have for you now… which one of these ideas are you going to make totally, 100% you!

P.S. If you have any other ideas or tips you want to share, make sure to share those too!