Who here’s planning a backyard wedding?! When people think of budget weddings, a backyard ceremony comes to mind. But as lots of our brides-to-be know, having to coordinate things like rentals + furniture with a private residence and DIY everything on their own can sure add up. So when our guide member Jana Contreras sent over Jennea + Andreas’ thoughtful DIY backyard wedding—pulled off for just $10K—we had more than a few Qs for our bride! Learn how she planned and designed their nuptials on a major budget, below:
For her wedding, Jennea rocked the BLHDN ‘Hearst’ A-line gown with a fitted bodice and plunging neckline. It’s got an open back and large floral appliqué, but what she loved most was the grey + white tulle layered together, which created a unique spin on classic bridal *and* was totally fun to wear and dance in.
Not to mention, the BRYR cross toe clogs, which had this sweet custom stamp on the heel.
Jennea says, We looked at a lot of venues. At first I thought I wanted a larger wedding, although Andreas just wanted the two of us on a mountain somewhere. The more we planned a larger wedding, the weirder I felt. We were saying personal vows on our day, and I wanted the people who heard me promise my life to my forever partner to really value the significance of the day. We wanted it to be a fun time for people to party, but ultimately, we wanted it to be a celebration of us committing our lives to each other.
With all of that, we ended up meeting in the middle. We cut the wedding in half (to 65), cut back extra frills that weren’t “us” and had our wedding at my childhood home. I am so thankful to have parents who provided such a beautiful home growing up, and getting married there really sealed all of those memories so beautifully. We said our vows next to the swing in the walnut tree my dad made me when I was seven, we had our first look where I used to go stargazing in high school, and we partied by the pool I had every summer birthday party in. Our guests LOVED having it there. It was a dream.
The blush bridesmaids scored their gowns from places like Lulu’s + ASOS, and the guys got their ties from BHLDN.
UM, how cute is this sweet flower girl? Guess what?! The bride made her dress for her! She wanted to sew something for her wedding that wouldn’t be too stressful to produce, and this was it. She even made her a matching doll to pair with it. This girl still plays dress up in the outfit long after the day, too!
Andreas made the arbor, and the animal hanging was the first animal he ever hunted.
When buying and making décor for the wedding I kept in mind how it would be used afterward. I wanted to buy and make pieces for the wedding that could also be used in our home. For example, the curtains that covered the garage I am now hemming for our kitchen and living room. We use the Himalayan salt lamps in various rooms of our home now. We now use the macramé above our bed and we love it. We loved using natural household products like loose Himalayan salt, which only cost us $17 and made a huge impact on the overall décor of the day.
Their story… I recovered from one of the hardest seasons of my life when I was living abroad in Costa Rica. Over the year I was there, the culture and people taught me to look at life in a new way with a new sense of gratitude I never had before. When I moved back, I was so moved that I jokingly told my family I needed to marry a Costa Rican guy. Turns out I totally called it. Andreas is half Costa Rican, lived just a few towns over from where I lived in Costa Rica when he was a kid, and is able to speak Spanish fluently with me. I thought marrying a Costa Rican guy was a funny joke, and the hope of marrying someone I could speak Spanish with was a long shot, but I literally got it all and so much more in him.
Such cute car shots!
(BTW, she crafted that bridal wrap out of a second-hand cardigan. Hi, $6 accessory!)
3 tips for sticking with your wedding budget?
• Be realistic about what’s important, and what people will remember. No one will look back in 20 years and think, “Wow, the plating of food at that wedding was spectacular”. I spent $80 on fruit and made popsicles for everyone and spent way more on catering, and I’ve had SO many people tell me how much they loved the popsicles. Personal touch is key.
• Spend your money on photography and venue, and work the rest out. We were blessed to not have to pay for our venue (thanks, mom and dad!), so we were able to have a coordinator and set up, which was a DREAM.
• Plan in advance on what you want to craft, and limit it to just that. Last minute decisions lead to frantic craft store runs, and you’ll end up buying too much of one thing, or maybe something that is unnecessary altogether. Trust your vision and don’t scramble to add things at the last minute, because it adds up fast and you won’t be thinking to return anything as a newlywed.
Such good advice J! Wishing you the best!
Photography: Jana Contreras Photography / Venue: Private Residence in Lakeport, CA / Event Planning & Food: Lake Event Design / Florist: Flowers by Jackie / Cake: Schat’s Bakery / Bride’s Dress: BLHDN ‘Hearst’ in Walnut Creek, CA / Shoes: BRYR ‘Emma’ in Blush / Bridesmaid Dresses: Lulu’s & ASOS / Flower Girl’s Dress: Handmade by Bride / Groom’s Suit: The Black Tux / Shoes: Armani / Groom & Groomsmen Ties: BHLDN / Wedding Rings: Alishan in Orange County, CA