10 Cheap Outdoor Wedding Decoration Ideas for the Reception

Celebrate your love in the great outdoors with these nature-inspired wedding decor ideas!

Last Updated - September 18, 2019

by Dustin Otterspoor

February 17, 2017

Celebrate nature with an outdoor wedding

If you’ve landed on this page, it probably means you’re getting ready to tie the knot and soon! Outdoor weddings are one of the most popular options for many, and there are a lot of elegant and fun ways to decorate your outdoor wedding and reception to make sure you get beautiful pictures and your guests have a great time.

If you haven’t decided yet and are still looking for different ways to make your special day more meaningful and memorable, then the outdoor wedding decoration ideas below should give you just the inspiration you need.

10 Unique Outdoor Wedding Decor Ideas

Get your boho-loving soul ready for these amazing, magical, & beautiful outdoor wedding decorations to spruce up your outdoor space!

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Add A Water Feature

Water features are the perfect addition to the entrance of your wedding reception. If your outdoor wedding crosses over into the night and you plan on hanging Christmas lights for ambiance, the water feature will look even more impressive as it will reflect each light as the water cascades down continuously. You don’t need a large water feature to impress your guests, either. You can find many small water features that look great on top of tables, or can even be used as a stand for the wedding cake to add an unexpected WOW factor! The refreshing sound of water will be peaceful and relaxing for guests to listen to while attending your wedding reception.

Maximize the Magical Beauty of White Christmas Lights

Who says Christmas lights are just for the Christmas season? If you are trying to save the majority of your budget for your honeymoon or a down payment on a home, Christmas lights are a great cheap outdoor wedding decoration that often get overlooked. A lot of people even use Christmas lights throughout the year on their back porch as an elegant and simple decoration, so if the lights are a success there is no need to take them down.

Make An Outdoor Family Wall

One of the most interesting outdoor wedding reception decorations we’ve encountered is the construction of an outdoor family photo wall. This could also be an interesting conversation starter for your guests if you plan to have a lot of people attend your wedding. Create a wall of wedding photos of the family or show your new family tree with your spouse so that it’s easier for your guests to know who is who. It will also be a fun opportunity to share your favorite memories with not just your future spouse, but also the families that are joining as one on your special day.

Use Food As Decoration

You can use your drink and wedding food menu as an outdoor wedding decoration if you’re feeling creative. If your wedding is going to be contemporary and minimalistic, hang a simple white sheet or piece of construction paper with the menu items along with some hand-drawn art. If your wedding is in a church or indoors, you can use large vases and antique tables to set up unique drink stations that spark conversation between guests.

Use Lots of Feathers

Purchase feathers in bulk to save some cash and make your own huge feather wreath (or Boa if you’re feeling frisky) to hang on an outdoor wall. If your wedding is more conservative, try adding the feathers to the centerpiece of your floral arrangements for a stylish and sophisticated look that blends perfectly with your natural wedding theme.

Create A Picnic Style Outdoor Wedding Reception

It wouldn’t be an outdoor wedding without a picnic! The reception “tables” will actually be soft, fluffy pillows and blankets on the ground and every blanket will have its own picnic basket packed with wine and goodies. It goes without saying that this option is best for weddings in areas with lots of grass. Even if you plan on putting down a tarp at your outdoor venue, this is a great option for your guests and should help cover more of the ugly looking tarp than regular chairs would. It is unique, fun, and classy – and you know you want to do it!

Turn Wine Barrels Into Wedding Tables

Want to make your wino friend happy? Give your wedding a vineyard feel with old wine barrels used as cocktail tables. What’s great about this idea is that the barrels work for almost any wedding theme and look great. If you’re really committed to the idea, buy the wine barrel full and let your guests drink right from the source, it will surely be a conversation starter.

Make Pinwheels

One of the most colorful outdoor decorating ideas you may want to consider is using pinwheels, especially if you know it will be windy outside. They will look wonderful as decorations on your tables, or can be added along the isle for a fun twist. This is also a great option if your wedding is going to be family friendly and there are going to be a lot of kids as there are sure to keep the little ones entertained.

Create A Candy Booth

A self-serve candy booth will surely make a lasting impression on your guests, even if they take a cavity home. Fill some glass jars with small candies for a colorful display – it’s up to you if you want to let your guests be able to take some out to eat. If you decide to go this route, we recommend avoiding chocolate candies such as M&Ms because they are prone to melting and may cause a mess. Candy such as Skittles or Starburst should last a bit longer if your wedding is in a warmer location.

Classic Candles Never Go Out Of Style

For an elegant and romantic setting, the glow of hundreds of beautiful candles will surely stun and amaze your friends and family. Even though it will be difficult to set up, you can arrange the candles in any shape or message you wish. It would be easiest to use battery operated candles as regular candles would surely all blow out before the reception even started, and luckily they are cheap to buy in bulk.

Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Weddings

How can I get a cheap backyard wedding?

It is crucial to create a budget with your partner from the start and stick to it. The benefit of having an outdoor wedding is that there are usually less costs involved with reserving space and renting decorations such as sheets and chairs.

One of the easiest ways to keep your backyard wedding cost down is to keep your guest list low, and opt for DIY style decorations. Since it will be in your backyard, also keep catering costs to a minimum by preparing the food yourself.

How do you keep an outdoor wedding cool?

The best way to keep cool is to have your wedding later in the day after peak sun-hours have passed. If you need to have your wedding early, try to put up shade-structures such as large umbrellas, or even rent a tent if possible. If all else fails, provide small fans and misters to your guests, and ensure you tell them to dress more casually with your invite.

Can I have a wedding in a public park?

Most public parks are truly public, which means if you wish to have your wedding there, you can. One important thing to remember is that because public parks are public, other people or families may be having events on the same day as your wedding. If you are easy going and don’t mind the potential strangers in the back of photos, then a public park is a great affordable outdoor wedding option.

How much does a backyard wedding cost?

A private backyard wedding owned by you, family, or friends is usually between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand dollars, depending on what you decide for set-up, DJs, food, and more. If you go all out, an outdoor wedding can still cost upwards of $10,000.

Do I need a permit to have a wedding in my backyard?

It is possible you may need a permit for your outdoor wedding, particularly if you plan to play music late into the night. If you live in a residential area, you can usually get by with letting your neighbors know a wedding is happening and music will be playing later into the night on a certain date.

If you live closer to people, such as in an apartment or condo, you may need to discuss the plans with the HOA. Always make sure you check local ordinances to make sure you have your legal ducks in a row in case a complaint is filed.

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