How to Plan the Best Backyard Wedding Ever
How to Plan the Best Backyard Wedding Ever
Charming, comfortable, romantic. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when considering a backyard wedding. But without the proper wedding planning and design, you may find yourself using less-pleasant adjectives to describe your big day.
The key to ensuring that your backyard wedding is everything you and your guests were hoping for is careful planning, a bit of creativity, and plenty of love. From the ceremony to the dance floor to the photo booth and back, here’s everything you need to know to throw your dream backyard wedding.
The Benefits of a Backyard Wedding
Compared with an elaborate affair at a sprawling wedding venue, having a backyard wedding has several critical benefits you’ll want to consider.
- Affordability – Don’t get us wrong, your wedding is going to be expensive either way. And there will always be unplanned costs that pop up. But it will no doubt be more affordable than getting married in a venue. And you’ll be able to take some of that savings and splurge on your dream wedding dress!
- Freedom to choose – With a backyard wedding, everything can happen on your terms. You don’t have to worry about the availability of your venue or price increases associated with the most desirable dates.
- No restrictions on the guest list – Many wedding venues make you commit to a minimum number of guests to book the room. With a backyard wedding, it doesn’t matter if you invite two hundred guests or just your closest friends; you’re in control.
- A location to remember – Sure, getting married in a stately venue with beautiful grounds is lovely. But, what attachment do you have to that place? With a backyard wedding, you and your partner can choose a location that’s sentimental to both of you. This will ensure that your wedding is something you’ll both remember forever.
Any wedding planner or wedding coordinator can tell you: When it comes to backyard weddings, all of the biggest concerns are logistical ones. If you can nail down the particulars, you’re well on your way to having an enchanting wedding that you’ll remember forever. Here are some logistical issues to consider:
While it’s one of the easiest areas to overlook, the grounds of your venue are exceptionally important. It isn’t as simple as mowing the lawn and planting a few flowers.
This is one area where you may want to enlist the help of professional gardeners and landscapers. Get some advice on what to plant and when to plant it, and be sure to leave yourself with plenty of time should you need to plant any new flowers, bushes, or shrubs.
Also, pay special attention to any slopes, hills, or uneven areas in the yard. Not only will these areas make it difficult for your guests to navigate the lawn, but they can also prove dangerous. If you have a hilly or uneven backyard, you may want to consult with professionals to discuss leveling the yard or installing a temporary floor for your guests, in addition to a dance floor.
One of the most pressing logistical concerns is where you’re going to park all the vehicles. Depending on the size of your wedding, you may need to figure out a parking plan for fifty cars or more.
Check local laws to determine whether or not street parking is an option. If not, you’ll need to look into renting a nearby lot and valet service for the day and shuttling your guests back and forth.
Unless your backyard wedding venue has ten bathrooms already, you may need some additional accommodations. Far from a port-a-potty, you can easily rent luxury bathroom trailers for your special day.
These luxury portable bathrooms come complete with vanities, mirrors, air conditioning or heat, and all the comforts you’d expect to find in the bathroom at an upscale wedding venue. You can even add a personalized touch by adding artwork, photographs, or flowers to each bathroom.
A smart tip: Add some string lights to the ground to create an illuminated path from the party to the bathroom to help guests easily find their way.
Tents, Tables, and Chairs
You’ll only have one shot at the perfect backyard wedding, which means that the show must go on, rain or shine. Planning for poor weather is one of the most important things you’ll need to do to ensure your backyard wedding goes off without a hitch.
Tents can also provide shelter from the heat, wind, and any other elements that may come into play if the sun is shining. The tent will be a major visual aspect of your venue. So, you’ll want to plan carefully to ensure that your tented reception provides the shelter you need without detracting from the beauty of the setting.
Beyond a tent, you’ll also need tables and chairs to accommodate all your guests. Any decent rental company will be able to provide the tent, tables, and chairs for your special day.
Coordinate with your caterer early in the game to make sure that you’re on the same page about what they’ll need to prepare food and refreshments for your guests. Some caterers prepare everything off-site, while others will need a full on-site kitchen for prep work.
If your caterer needs to handle prep work and cooking directly at the venue, you’ll need to ensure that they have the space and accommodations to provide delicious food, wedding cake, and drinks for all your guests.
For many people, a ceremony and reception in the yard offers the bride and groom the freedom to choose their wedding officiant. But it’s not always as easy as tapping a close friend for the honor.
If you’re hiring an officiant for your wedding ceremony, make sure they’re aware of exactly how your ceremony will go down. Many officiants are unable to conduct weddings outside of their place of worship.
Lock in your officiant early in the game and give yourself plenty of time to find an alternative should your first choice fall through.
One of the downsides of a DIY wedding is that it opens a Pandora’s Box from a liability perspective. If someone gets hurt at your wedding, or if your home or the venue becomes damaged, you’ll be on the hook for the damages.
Many couples look at insurance as an area where they can cut costs but don’t make that mistake. The few hundred dollars you’ll shell out for wedding insurance can end up saving you major headaches in the future.
Finally, while your special day should be all about you, you will need to be considerate of your neighbors. After all, they didn’t ask for their neighborhood to be transformed into a whimsical wedding venue this weekend.
If you’re friendly with your neighbors, invite them to the party! But otherwise, a small gift and a heartfelt note that explains that you’ll be getting married and that you appreciate their understanding while also apologizing for any inconvenience can go a long way – especially when it’s after midnight and the party shows no signs of slowing down.
Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong – and that’s as true for weddings as any other event. While we don’t mean to frighten you, the truth is that regardless of where you’re getting married, there will be unforeseen expenses, concerns, and hiccups along the way.
Planning carefully for these unforeseen events can make the difference between a perfect day and one you’d rather forget. While there’s nothing we can do about that unsavory uncle who has a few too many drinks, HiCharlie can help you plan for all of the financial ins and outs of your wedding day.
Tips for Planning the Perfect Backyard Wedding
Once you have all of the logistical concerns ironed out, it’s time to get to the fun part! These wedding ideas will help ensure that your special day is everything you hope it will be.
Decor and Design
One of the best parts about a backyard wedding is you have complete control over the decor and design of the space. You won’t be pinned into a corner because of the venue’s existing colors or design, and you can put your stamp on how your backyard wedding venue looks.
Perhaps you have your heart set on a beautifully natural wedding that draws from the colors of nature. Or maybe you prefer a more modern take, complete with pops of bright color everywhere. Whichever wedding colors you prefer, you can tie the theme together with centerpieces, accent lighting, and other floral arrangements. Look around and you’ll find a ton of different resources that will help you plan the perfect decor for your event.
A Ceremony to Remember
Regardless of how naturally beautiful your venue may be, there are still some things you’ll want to add to your ceremony to ensure that it’s perfect. Consider adding aisle markers for a bit of visual appeal, and an archway or backdrop behind the bride and groom. Doing so will create a visual focal point and draw everyone’s eyes towards the lovely couple.
Don’t Skip Cocktail Hour
Since you and your guests will be staying in one location for the entire affair, it may be tempting to eliminate the cocktail hour from your at-home wedding. But that may not be the best idea.
A cocktail hour gives guests an opportunity to enjoy some light food and drinks as they prepare to set the dance floor on fire at your reception. More importantly, it also provides the bridal party with a diversion so they can take photos and portraits while the party guests are being entertained. For a more modern spin on the classic cocktail hour, consider hiring a food truck to stop by after the ceremony is complete.
Keep Your Wedding Guests Comfortable
Whether your special event is occurring at a wedding venue or in a backyard, keeping your guests comfortable throughout the ceremony and reception is a critical concern that’s often overlooked. Providing some small comforts can go a long way, especially when your wedding is outdoors.
Consider providing a basketful of cheap flip flops for people to change into when those high heels start to take their toll. If you’re getting married in the summer, provide hand fans to keep your guests cool as well as sunscreen and insect repellent.
Place citronella candles on tables, too. These touches may seem small and negligible, but they can make the difference between a forgettable party and a wedding to remember.
Your wedding just might be a moment you’ll want to freeze in time forever. And an outdoor wedding reception is a great way to ensure the type of memorable and personal experience that you’ll never forget.
Backyard weddings – like any kind of nuptials – are also a lot of work – and they’re going to require careful planning and attention to detail to be perfect. But with the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to an enchanting backyard wedding. And hey, when all is said and done, you’ll have more money left to spend on the honeymoon!