When we got married in 2015, my husband (then fiancé) and I thought it would be cost effective to get married in a backyard. After all, we had access to a family member's stunning property that backs up to a secluded mountain preserve. It's an undeniably magical spot at night -- the glassy pool reflects the hovering moon, dangling amidst a canopy of twinkling lights. They seem miles closer from this exact desert latitude. And on the horizon are several layers of city lights.
It was the perfect backdrop for our big day and it was perfectly free! That's right, we had access to it for four days from setup to tear down at no charge. So we'd save a TON of money.
Well I wasn't convinced. After all, as a cake decorator I was very familiar with weddings and I knew all of the legwork involved in putting together even the most seemingly simple events. Thankfully, we created a trusty wedding budget and venue estimate spreadsheet to help us make our decision.
Wedding budget spreadsheet to the rescue!
We did a ton of research. I spent a ton of time initially looking for a free template, and I couldn't find anything that included everything I needed to make the best decision. I needed:
- A breakdown of venue costs to cross compare locations
- A wedding checklist
- A wedding budget spreadsheet
- A week-of and day-of-wedding schedule
- And I needed to know what I didn't know.
So we put together the ultimate spreadsheet. And ultimately, we ended up deciding to use the backyard property.
Are backyard weddings more affordable?
What we still lovingly argue about today is whether we actually saved money. Because when the week of the event came and we needed certain things that we didn't account for -- we threw the budget out the window and purchased what was most convenient.
But -- I did add those last minute line items to our spreadsheet. So I'm sharing our budget and checklist with miscellaneous items and all!
Please download it here for free at your convenience. I hope it helps you make the best decision for where to host and how to best coordinate your big day!