Introduction: DIY Outdoor Wedding Reception Dining Tables on a Dime

About: I'm a life-hacking reuse junkie who loves to create, even if all I'm making is a mess. I love hammers and rocks and history and hand planes. I hugged trees before it was cool but can still operate a chainsaw. …

(I must be out of my f?!$ing mind)

In this installment of Crazy Things I Recently Did for My Wedding, I’ll show you how I took the whole budget/green/DIY wedding concept to new heights by making my own reception tables. Not just the decorations. The actual tables. From entirely non-new materials. Clearly I've got issues.

But in my defense: renting a 6′ table sets me back $8.50, plus tax. Multiply by the 20 or so we need. Add value of time for setup, teardown, and transportation. This is where it gets tricky. Since rentals are generally for just the weekend, the tables would have to be picked up the day before or even the day of the event, and returned the day after. With all of the other things that need to happen in that same frame, the time just before and after the wedding becomes infinitely valuable. This translates into actual table rental rates of $9.15 plus infinity. Each.
So you see why I had to make them.

Well, whether you do or don’t agree with my logic, it still happened. Here’s how.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

3-1/2″ deck screws
hollow core doors
a really tall tree that fell in the backyard
some miscellaneous lumber from the scrap pile

chop saw
cordless drill
Tape measure

Step 2: The Tables

First I cut up the log. Standard tables are 30″ high. My table tops are 1-1/2″ thick. So I limbed the tree, marked, and cut into 28-1/2″(-ish) sections. Then I dragged them heavy bastards all the way down from the woods to my designated reception area.

From there it got easier. Stood two logs up, threw on a door, checked for level, shimmed (are your chainsaw cuts perfect every time?), and screwed into place. Some of them I added 2×4 cross support if it felt necessary. A few of them I used a log on one end and my deck posts with a little ledger board for the other. One table end rested on an embankment. One on a planter box. There were 20. I got creative.

May be simple, but they looked lovely with a tablecloth and vintage thrifted tableware, and after the wedding I disassembled them at my leisure. I already have the materials slated for another project.


Step 3: Bottom Line

Cost: monetarily speaking, the doors were $2 apiece at my local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. Deck screws and washers I already had, but can be had for less than $20 for 200.

Conclusion: more time consuming and labor intensive than the premade alternative, but I got to put them up as early as I wanted, which left extra time for decorating and other wedding nonsense. The tables have way more character and cost a lot less money than rentals. Most importantly, they did their job as reception tables without a single mishap (and looked good doing it... we had all kinds of compliments). If I had to do it over, I’d do it myself again. No doubt.

Note: since the wedding was just last month, I've got all kinds of posts to share, including a wedding dress, videography, and site build. Be sure to stay tuned, and feel free to message me or leave a comment with any DIY/forest wedding-ible requests. Because there's a good chance I did it.

Outdoor Structures

Participated in the
Outdoor Structures

Outside Contest 2017

Participated in the
Outside Contest 2017