If you are looking for a place that is closer to home, you won't have to look far. You can definitely host your wedding in your own backyard. It's the perfect place to get married for couples who love to be outdoors, want an easy wedding venue, and want to incorporate a sentimental meaning into their big day.
There are so many benefits to a backyard wedding, including the cost. But with those benefits come some additional details to consider and situations that you need to plan for. To keep you on track, we've compiled this comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about planning a backyard wedding, from the logistics to the design.
Benefits of a Backyard Wedding
You can invite your furry friends
A backyard wedding gives you the perfect excuse to include your pets in your big day! You don’t need to clear it with a venue or pay a deposit, your furry friend doesn’t need to stress over travel, and they can head back inside when they’re finished partying with your guests.
2. You will save money
When you decide to have a wedding in the home of a family member or friend, you automatically reduce your wedding budget because you do not pay for a place, security deposit, expenses per person, and all other hidden expenses that go with it. You can also save money on the decor, as you will have the natural elements to add visual interest. Yes, you will probably have to rent almost everything else, but these rentals will not exceed the cost of a place.
3. You can choose any date
This may not seem like a major thing, but having complete freedom to choose a date that works best for you and your fiancé is actually a huge advantage of a wedding in the backyard! It is particularly useful if you want to get married during the high wedding season when the places reserve at least one year in advance.
4. You can keep the guest list small
Because a wedding in the yard tends to be naturally more intimate than a wedding in a traditional place, that's the perfect reason to keep your guest list small. If you are nervous about how your families will react to a small guest list, remind them that space is the main limiting factor in your decision.
Unless you get married in the garden of a multi-acre mansion, there simply won't be enough room to receive a huge guest list. But, really, you don't need to feel guilty about your wedding guest list, no matter where you decide to tie the knot!
5. The sentimental factor
There is nothing like saying "I do" in the backyard where you played like a child or prepare yourself in the room where you grew up. The sentimental factor of a marriage in the court cannot be recreated in any other place and should not be underestimated. You and your guests will feel more comfortable in a space that feels like home and it will be a special memory your family and friends will cherish forever.
- Power - Between the extra lighting, the sound system, and the food prep equipment, you’re going to be using a lot more power than most homes can handle. So, to ensure you don’t blow a fuse or put the entire neighborhood at risk of an outage, rent generators to accommodate the extra power you’ll need. After you check with your caterer to find out what equipment they’ll be using and DJ to find out how much power their setup needs, ask your wedding planner and the generator rental company for help in choosing the power sources that will fit your needs.
- Restrooms -If your guest list is larger than 20 people, you will need to provide additional toilet facilities. There are so many options for upscale portable toilet trailers that provide a comfortable experience, including lighting, mirrors, sinks, and — most importantly — more space than traditional port-o-potties! You can even add a personal touch by adding a small amenities kit to each bathroom with breath fresheners, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, cotton balls, and safety pins.
- Yard Maintenance & Setup - You’ll want to plan yard maintenance in advance to give plants time to fill out, flowers to bloom, and space to be cleared, if necessary. You might even consider hiring a landscaper to take care of all the design and maintenance so it’s one less thing on your to-do list. At the very least, you need to cut the grass a few days before the wedding. One thing you absolutely can’t forget to check is that the ground is level enough for chairs, tables, and a dance floor. If you’re renting a tent, their professional team will be able to check and let you know if they need to lay a foundation so the dance floor is level. If you’re not renting a tent, a landscaper should be able to check if the ground is level.
- Insurance- As much as you don’t want to think about anything bad happening on your special day, it’s best to be safe than to be sorry if an accident does happen. Contact your homeowner’s insurance to see what is covered, such as property damage outside or inside the house. Then contact your vendors to find out what insurance they carry. You might have to purchase supplemental insurance, but your vendors’ insurance might also provide enough coverage for certain areas, such as bartenders.
- Permits- Before you get too far into booking vendors, you must check with your city officials to find out if you need permits to host a large party at your home. There might be noise ordinances, fire codes, health department regulations, and zoning issues that you don’t want to violate. In some cases, your vendors might need to file additional paperwork, so be sure to include your wedding planner on any meetings with or emails from the city clerk’s office. Your planner should either be able to coordinate with the vendors to file the paperwork themselves (usually for an additional fee) or file the paperwork for you.
- Neighbors - A month or two before your wedding, notify your neighbors of your backyard wedding plans. This will give them plenty of time to plan ahead, rearrange any plans that might conflict, or plan a night away. Give them as many details as possible, such as the exact time of your ceremony, so they know when you’ll need some extra quiet, and let them know where your guests plan to park in case they have concerns about street parking.
- Parking- When you’re checking on permits, also check the rules for street parking in your neighborhood. Some communities have certain times that street parking is not allowed or even prohibit overnight parking. If that’s the case, or you don’t have enough street parking near your home, consider hiring a valet service to park the cars at a nearby open lot. Just be sure to tell guests ahead of time so they don’t leave valuables in their cars that you could be held liable for.
- Clean-Up - This is one of the most important details to keep in mind when planning your space and your rentals. A group of 20+ people will produce a lot of trash over an entire day, so you’ll need to rent plenty of trash and recycling bins to collect it all. Your caterer might even take care of emptying the bins throughout the day, so ask if that’s a service they offer. If not, you might want to designate or hire someone to monitor the bins so they don’t get too full and cause an unpleasant sight or smell.
- Weather- Weather happens. It’s best to have a Plan B just in case it rains or even if it’s unseasonably hot or cold. With enough planning, your Plan B can be just as incredible as Plan A. If your house is large enough, move the party inside. If you’d rather keep it outdoors, put a hold on a tent early so that it’s ready to be picked up in case you need it. If you do go the tent route, ensure that the sides are completely covered to protect against the rain, bring in small fans to beat the heat, or rent propane heaters to keep your guests warm. The hope is that you don’t have to go to Plan B, but it’s best to have a plan in place ahead of time so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.
- Timeline Suggestions- There are a few things to keep in mind when planning a timeline for a backyard wedding. First, and most importantly, you want to work around the light. Try to avoid having your ceremony during the harshest light to ensure you get beautiful photos. Second, because guests won’t be traveling between events, you want to ensure there is no downtime. You might consider doing all your photos before the ceremony so you can go straight to cocktails with everyone else. But, if you’d rather wait, you can also plan an activity or set out yard games to keep them occupied until you finish taking photos. Lastly, you want to be considerate of your neighbors. You might need to cut your party short — or ask everyone to head out to an after-party at a bar — so you’re not keeping your neighbors awake until the early morning hours.
Kara has been with Wedding Favors Unlimited for 2 years. She’s been giving wedding and style advice for the past 5 years from bridal magazines to bridal boutiques. Feel free to ask Kara a question below!