Backyard weddings can be affordable and luxurious. Here are ways to make your backyard wedding perfection!
Create a backyard wedding to perfection!
Before we get started listing the ways a backyard wedding can vary from a venue for the location of your ceremony & reception, head over to this post to learn some foundational tips for planning any wedding, backyard or not. You’ll see in that list that step 4 mentions securing your venue and that’s no different when using a backyard setting. Whether this is your own property, a family or friends or a public space, there will be some type of formal steps needed to “book” this space. That may mean asking for permission, weighing the logistics of hosting an event of your desired size at this location, permits and special event insurance. Now, assuming you’re all caught up with our initial list of steps, let’s get into the specifics of our backyard setting!
Do a little research.
State park and other public places may require a permit for the use of their space whereas, private property can be a little more flexible. With private property be sure to check your city or homeowner’s association bylaws to make sure your event won’t be fined, particularly when it comes to noise ordinances, tents, parties over a certain number of guests, and parking.
Check in with your vendors.
Make sure your vendors are all well aware that your event is in a backyard setting and encourage them to come do a site visit. This is especially useful for DJs and catering. To ensure they have access to adequate electrical, pathways, parking and overall space will save a lot of stress and headache on the day of your event. It may also be beneficial to work with your photographer to identify a local park or location that would make for incredible photos in a more residential area.
There are a lot of small items that venues have on hand that you may not have thought of. For example, toilets. You may very likely need to order a portable toilet depending on your guest count. This is especially true if you are hosting on a property that is on a septic system. In addition to toilets are trash cans, tables, chairs, food service items, sound system, space heaters, lighting and more. Keep these items in mind while creating your early budget!
Hire enough help.
Many people choose to do a backyard setting for budgetary reasons. While you are typically saving several thousand dollars by opting for this less official setting, you are often losing out on many extra sets of hands. Most venues have a venue staff on hand during the event to keep the space in good condition and jump in should a need arise (bathroom out of paper towels, drink/food spills, parking assistance, and more). Additionally, if you are choosing to do more of a pot luck or drop and go food versus catered, that is another way that you will not have staff on hand to assist to replenish food as needed, bus tables, pack up leftovers, dispose of trash. All of these tasks and roles mentioned can easily be taken on by a wedding coordinator and their staff, which is highly recommended instead of asking friends and family. The reality is, most friends and family aren’t experienced with events of this type which makes the day stressful for them, which will likely affect the newlyweds.
Notify your neighbors.
While you certainly should not feel obligated to invite your neighbors, it is courteous to give them notice of the event. I think a great way to do this is to go door to door with a small treat and a card that includes the date and start/end time. I would also consider providing a contact person (or wedding coordinator) in case there is an unforeseen issue and they need to reach someone.
Set up lighting early.
Try to get all of your lighting elements up early so you can see how they illuminate the space early, leaving you time to make corrections and additions in plenty of time. When you are hoping for photos of your reception, with candids of your friends and family during speeches, toasts and dancing, its important to have adequate lighting that gives a nice, ambient feel. This is another item to discuss with your photographer in advance.
Say I DO.
Finally, after months of planning your big day has arrived. Hopefully you have a wedding coordinator on site, placing all of your design elements in their spot, organizing vendors and keeping note of your timeline so everything goes off without a hitch! There is no doubt the list above has helped bring you to this stress free, blissful day ahead! Cheers!
Photography by Rhiannon Mim Photo