My first time down the aisle, I chose to go the DIY route with my wedding. It was big. It was beautiful. It was budget. And it was work. A whole lot of work.

I made it through all the ups and downs of every last detail, but only with the support and dedication of my family and friends. If there’s one “pro tip” I can offer, it’s this — ask for help when planning your DIY wedding.

By putting the talents of my friends and family to good use, we were able to reduce some of the more stressful tasks plus save on costs. Asking for help with my DIY wedding saved me time and allowed for more collaborative, creative solutions than if I had attempted to take on everything myself.

The Venue

My fiance’s aunt lived on a gorgeous property. After I asked for her help, not only did she allow us to say our vows in her expansive, lush backyard and dance the night away on her fairy-lit, wooded driveway, but she also took care of a massive amount of the décor. She set up the archway (and laced it with flowers I never would have guessed were fake) and made sure we had things like a chocolate fountain.

My fiance’s aunt used our funds wisely, helping to shop for the best quality on the lowest budget, so I could worry about things like staying the same dress size between fittings.

If you, too, choose to host your big day at a private home or venue — whether it’s your own or someone else’s — you’ll want to keep in mind these tips for a backyard wedding.

The Flowers

The same aunt also volunteered to find us a florist. And find one she did.

She asked around, and found a friend of a friend who was trying to start her own floral business. This friend set up ornate and cascading displays, arranged beautiful bouquets and boutonnieres for the bridal party — all for next to nothing. All she wanted in exchange was word of mouth, and to be able to use pictures of our event in her portfolio.

Because we asked and my fiance’s aunt was willing to help, we learned a valuable lesson — finding an aspiring professional as opposed to an established one can turn out to be one of the best deals ever.

Feeling extra brave? You could always opt to do your own flowers.

The Food

We bought our food in bulk at Costco. It saved us a ton of money and had a surprising amount of delicious options. However, the purchase left us with one problem — while we were walking down the aisle, who was going to be in the kitchen?

Luckily, we soon found ourselves with volunteers. The women’s group from my childhood church stepped up to the task as soon as my mother told them about the conundrum. Their generosity and time allowed us to save a ton of money over hiring a caterer.

Here’s a great walk-through by someone who prepared a DIY wedding reception (complete with appetizers, entrees, signature drinks and dessert) for 120 people for just $650 — that’s a little more than $5 per person!

The Photographer

We had a friend in high school who is extremely artsy. She isn’t just into art. She’s great at it. One of her talents is photography, so we asked her to photograph our wedding. She was willing to do it in lieu of a wedding gift, which saved us thousands of dollars.

The Bridesmaids

My bridesmaids were a huge help in my wedding preparation. When my brain was too fried to pick out accessories, one of them took charge and made the decisions for me. When I didn’t know how I was going to address over 100 envelopes, they sat around my kitchen table with me, pens in hands. Asking for help isn’t only about saving money — with a little help from your friends, it can also save time and stress.

Just Ask

If you need help with your DIY wedding because you can’t fathom picking out one more decoration or hot-gluing one more party favor, just ask for it. Pull from your built-in talent pool of family and friends. They may even have creative solutions to budget problems, like my fiance’s aunt’s suggestion to hire a novice florist.

The people who will be there on your wedding day love you and are willing to help lighten your burden by taking some of it. But they won’t know you need help unless you ask.

Written by Brynne Conroy, who blogs at Femme Frugality

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