We did this, and it turned out well but it was a LOT of work. The factors that made it successful were:
1. The venue owner (we got married on a farm that offered only the space, but offered it from Wednesday-Sunday) has relationships with several vendors and recommended different options, plus provided advice about how many plates, etc. we should rent for our reception. She had lots of experience with weddings on her property, and gave us lots of helpful advice.
2. Friends and family were willing to help out with decorating and cleanup
3. I had already planned most of the things I cared about on my Pinterest page and with the planner from A Practical Wedding, so it was pretty easy to make decisions about things (though I still had to make decisions about all the things I did not care about as well, like the length of tablecloths to order). It can be a bit daunting when there isn’t a limited list of options to choose from, and you can literally order anything off Etsy. It’s easy to go over budget.
4. One of my college roommates volunteered to be our DOC and was fabulous at keeping everything on track. She kept the DJ in line when he tried to move his booth ONTO the dance floor, taking up a third of it, and called the rental company to come back when it became clear they hadn’t delivered salad plates.
5. The vendors we selected (especially the caterer) were extremely competent and professional and could fix things that went wrong in the moment
I don’t think we actually saved much money by going this route, but there was SO much more flexibility in what we could choose, and it was very personalized to us, which made it special. We got our booze and bartenders from a local liquor store that bought back anything unopened, and was able to source the specific German beer my husband adores. My stepmom found bulk flowers at a farm and market near our house. My sister made all the programs, and our officiant, another farmer and longtime family friend, provided maple syrup for our favors. My friend recommended a former colleague who had gone into the photography business, and the photographer waived the travel fee because of the recommendation.
Keep in mind that if you do all the work yourself, you’ll need to be super organized. I had a massive Google document of who was supposed to arrive when, and put what where, that I printed out and handed to my friend who was our DOC. Also remember that you’ll probably need to tip more people than you would at an inclusive venue. It’s a lot to keep in your head, but if you’re that personality type, it can go smoothly!