Couples interested in an intimate, simple ceremony to celebrate their union may want to consider a backyard wedding. Planning a backyard wedding, however, does take careful organization to ensure the day is as special as the couple has dreamed.
Backyard Wedding Benefits
There are many reasons why a backyard wedding might be the best choice for a couple’s special day. A backyard event could save a great deal of money, and the couple will have more flexibility for decorations and activities, such as allowing pets or incorporating yard games with the festivities. Holding a backyard wedding can also permit more time for the site to be set up and taken down, unlike rented venues that may have very tight schedules between multiple events. The sentimentality of a backyard wedding can also be a strong reason for a couple to marry there, whether it is their own backyard or the yard of a beloved family member, perhaps a relative who might be unable to travel to a different wedding location.
Make Your Backyard Wedding-Ready
Any backyard can host a fun wedding, but it can take several weeks or months to thoroughly prepare the yard to look its best for the big day. Before beginning, however, check with any homeowners association or similar organization about guidelines or rules that may restrict wedding plans. It may be possible to get a variance or waiver for the wedding, otherwise it will be necessary to abide by the community’s restrictions when making backyard wedding plans.
Similarly, look into insurance coverage before you commit to a backyard wedding. Homeowner’s insurance will likely provide some coverage in case of accidents or injuries during the event, but supplemental insurance may be necessary as well. Also consult any vendors about their insurance options for this type of site.
When you’re ready to plan the wedding, be sure to consider…
- Property Size – Evaluate the yard’s size and layout to determine how many guests it can accommodate, including space for the ceremony, dining, dancing, and other activities. Also be aware of walkways and how people will move through the space.
- Landscape Condition – It may be necessary to prune, reseed, resod, or otherwise improve the landscape so it will look great for the wedding. This may include painting or staining fences, decks, or other backyard structures.
- Wedding Colors – Consider planting annuals in the wedding colors to add a natural decoration to the yard. If there isn’t time for plants to grow, containers or pots can be added for striking decorations that blend into the landscape.
- Ceremony Site – Choose where the vows will be exchanged in the yard. This may take place in a gazebo or on a deck or patio, or a temporary arbor or arch could be erected to define the ceremony space.
- Obstacles – Remove unnecessary obstacles around the yard, such as toys, birdfeeder poles, gardening tools, and similar items that don’t have a place at the wedding and would only clutter the space.
- Nearby Views – Note nearby views from the wedding space, such as the condition of a fence, dirty windows on the house, or driveway stains. Make necessary repairs or clean up as much as possible so the entire space presents a good impression.
- Backyard Noise – Listen carefully in the backyard and note any nearby noises that might disrupt the wedding, such as neighborhood traffic or a barking dog. Also be aware of what your own noise limitations may be for music, so you don’t disturb neighbors.
- Seasonal Weather – Be aware of seasonal weather changes and how the backyard can accommodate them for a wedding. In cooler weather, renting heaters or using a tent can be a great option to stay warm, while on hot days, fans and misters are ideal choices.
- Lighting – Basic landscape lighting won’t be enough to illuminate a wedding space. Upgrade or replace outdoor fixtures and make plans to augment the lighting with lanterns, torches, luminarias, café strands, and other options for the wedding.
- Different Spaces – If the yard is large enough, plan how different spaces for an entrance, dancing, seating, dining, serving, photos, and more will come together. Rented tents, dance floors, arches, and signs can all help define different wedding spaces in the yard.
- Wedding Theme – If your wedding will have a theme, from a color scheme to an overall motif, see how that theme can be incorporated into the yard with appropriate decorations, accents, and colors.
- Extra Seating – You want to be sure to have enough seating for all your backyard wedding guests. Renting tables and chairs is a great solution, and you can also get creative with benches, hay bales, outdoor pillows, and other seating options around the yard.
- Menu Creativity – A backyard wedding isn’t restricted to a specific catering list or vendor choices. Consider enjoy a barbecue, family potluck, food trucks, or other delicious options to make your wedding both tasty and unique.
- Lawn Games – Give guests fun activities to enjoy when you add lawn games to a backyard wedding. Cornhole, ring toss, bocce ball, horseshoes, and other options can keep guests active throughout the party, especially if the games include the wedding colors.
- Hired Help – A backyard wedding may be a bit more casual, but hiring experienced help can still be essential to make the event smooth. Consider a bartender, DJ, servers, and other assistants to provide great service throughout the wedding.
- Neighbors – Be sure all the neighbors are aware of the event, and it would be a nice gesture to invite them to the party if possible. If not, a gift basket for their inconvenience due to noise, traffic, and the general wedding craziness can be good way to foster neighborliness.
- Last Minute Preparations – A day or two before the wedding, water the lawn and landscaping well so it will be lush but no longer soggy. Mow and trim as needed, be sure all litter is picked up, and your yard will be ready for the I do’s!
Beyond the Backyard
Even if the yard is perfect for a wedding, there are several other considerations to make as you work on backyard wedding planning.
- Parking – Is there room nearby or will valets be needed from a different parking area?
- Getting Ready – Are there rooms for the couple to prepare before the ceremony?
- Restrooms – Do the house’s bathrooms work well and will they be adequate for the party size?
- Electricity – Is there enough power for music equipment, food preparation, lighting and more?
- Trash Disposal – Will extra cans be needed and how will cleanup and disposal be handled?
These items may not relate directly to the backyard, but they can have a big influence on the wedding itself. By being prepared for all eventualities, a backyard wedding can be a stunning event and a lot of fun for both the couple and their guests.