DIY Wedding Venues: Pros & Cons

When we decided to get married in Vermont, I really wanted to have our wedding at a DIY location — somewhere we’d bring everything in. My hope was that we’d be able to save money through having it on someone’s land, where they’d let us have the location for free. Vermont is such a beautiful location, where you can get married in the middle of nowhere pretty easily and have all the decoration you need.

A. and I visited over Thanksgiving and were shown a few locations we could use for the wedding. We settled on this one, which was right up the road from my parent’s house, so it was really convenient, as well as beautiful.

Photos Courtesy of Susan Pelletier

There was a perfect place to set up a tent next to the pond, and the driveway was fairly long, so the road wasn’t visible. I was so excited to have such a major decision made, and such a gorgeous location to tie the knot in.

Then came the reality check. Having your wedding at a DIY location means you really have to Do It Yourself, all of it. As I said in a previous blog, I wasn’t able to get a wedding coordinator, so it’s all me. The costs and tasks started to really add up.

You need to bring in bathrooms if you’re having a wedding of more than just a few people (we’re planning on around 100 guests). You probably don’t want the standard blue port-a-pottys  for your event, and the nice ones were about 1k. Then you need a tent (in case it rains, is windy, etc.), tables, chairs (for ceremony and reception), tablecloths, silverware, glasses, plates, lighting, power, etc. With so many pieces that need to come together, it felt like it was going to be as expensive as going to an actual place that does weddings, and also, we’d need someone to coordinate the day before and the day of to make sure everything was set up.

With the majority of our guests coming in from out of town, I wanted to make sure they weren’t being asked to do too much to help the wedding take place. I wanted to be appreciative that they have to spend time and money coming to the wedding by keeping our requests for help to the minimum. I also didn’t want my Dad or Mom stuck with coordinating setup and takedown.  Looking at all the logistics and cost, I realized that while a DIY Vermont wedding would have been beautiful, it just wasn’t practical for us.

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