While big weddings with sweeping staircases and swinging chandeliers are beautiful and glittering nights dancing in a glamorous hall, with the perfectly controlled environment for maximum effect sound like a dream, can we talk a bit about backyard weddings here? Backyard weddings are heartwarmingly intimate and playful and provide more than a dash of personality in every wedding. Something about hosting your wedding in the same backyard you grew up in or bought with your sweetheart which is charming and deeply sentimental, something that you will be able to look back on for years to come. While it is great if you have a home to your name or any of your parent's homes are available, but if not, you can still have your perfect backyard wedding by renting a home with a nice backyard. The vibe is warm and cozy, the decor is just the way you need it to be, and the rules are just yours!
If you and your partner don't like the grandeur of a huge wedding venue and the one-size-fits-all approach in ballrooms and decors and think you are cutting out something a bit more personal, a backyard wedding might just be perfect for you! While hosting a cozy backyard wedding might feel wildly romantic and perfectly charming, we assume you might need some inspiration and tips and tricks to pull it off. And that’s exactly what we have got here! Read on!
• "Yes" to pets: A backyard wedding means all the rules are your own (within the limit of course!). Unlike a venue, a backyard wedding allows you to make those little tweaks as per your preference. This means you can actually have your furry family members be a part of your special day. Pets are life-giving and there is no real reason why your pets should not be excluded from a milestone moment of your life. The great thing is that you won't be required to clear it with a venue or pay a deposit for that. Also, your pet will be in their natural habitat, which means they won't be nervous or out of place and can go back to chill if they think they had too much of the crowd!
• Smaller guest list: Backyard wedding is by nature a little cozy and intimate, which organically impacts the guest list, enabling you to go through your guest list and take your call on who you want around on your most special day. This way, when the wedding day rolls in, you are surrounded by people who truly matter to you! Also, if you have potential guests who didn't make the cut, you can always say how space was a limiting factor in your decision, and you had to stick to family.
• All the sentiments: It is truly a full circle when you get to say "I do" in the same garden you went butterfly chasing on as a child, or get dressed up all pretty to get married in your old bedroom where you got ready for your prom night too! It is undeniably sentimental, a feeling which is hard to recreate at any other venue and is priceless. Also, it is more traditional and symbolic when you get to ride away into the sunset with your loved one, as your family and friends gather in your family house and wave goodbye!
• Save up: When you choose to have a backyard wedding at your own or at a family member's home, you will naturally be saving up on your wedding budget significantly, as you won't be paying for a venue, its security deposits, or the per-person fees. This works out perfectly if you are wedding planning on a budget and are not keen on spending a whole lot of money on your wedding day. You can also use this saved money for an oncoming honeymoon or other elements of the wedding, like the decor, or food!
• Easy date availability: Having your wedding in your backyard means you don’t have to think about the date availability factor. This might seem like a small thing, but you will be surprised how quickly the wedding venues tend to book up. This opens you and your partner to the complete freedom to choose a date that works best for you and your fiance! This works out great when you are planning to get married during peak wedding season or at a weekend, which seems to invite a lot of wedding traffic. This is also perfect if you are getting married at very short notice and need a place urgently!
• Set the Mood: Just because you are having a backyard party doesn’t mean you need to compromise on your dream wedding theme. Go for just the vibe you want, and you will find it is fairly easy to recreate in your backyard. For a rustic wedding, add along with a family-style farmhouse table and tiny rustic elements, go for a loungey vibe adorned with chandeliers and fine linens if formal and classic is more your taste. And for our flower children, go for handmade macrame or dream chasers, gauzy drapes, barefoot ceremony, and flower crowns for optimum boho vibes. Pay close attention to your wedding dress too as it speaks volumes about your wedding vibe!
• Led by the weather: Considering that your backyard wedding is sure to be an outdoor event, take the weather into consideration, and take relevant measures. Hand out bug repellent or put out citronella candles in case of a summer wedding, aka mosquito season, keep umbrellas handy for the rainy seasons and cozy blankets and shawls handy for the colder months! Also, plan for a backup in case of unexpected bouts of rain.
• Designated space: Decide in advance which event will be conducted where, and frame the space in a manner that makes it obvious. If there is a star attraction in the backyard, like an age-old tree, or a backyard gazebo, or a lush green garden, find out ways to incorporate the same in your wedding events. Also, don’t forget to frame the space with fabric, floral arches, balloons, and such, and put adequate signage for easy accessibility.
• Rentals and sourcing: Hosting a wedding in your backyard opens up the requirement of several things which you won’t have to worry about in a traditional venue, like chairs, plates, tables, flatware, and glasses. For affordable options, drop-in to your nearest thrift stores to find a treasure trove of items for an artistically mismatched look. You can also choose rental options for a more cohesive and streamlined look.
• Prep your yard: Make your yard ready for the occasion way in advance, so that there are no bumps, heavy weeding, excessive grass growth, and such. Having the backyard in perfect condition on the day of your wedding will add to the magic, and let your guests experience the beauty of the space. If your gazebo needs fixing or your bushes need trimming this is the time.
• Amenities: For crucial amenities like restrooms and parking, make special arrangements. If you have a bathroom that is easily accessible from the backyard, it will be fine for a smaller wedding, but for a slightly larger guest list consider renting portable bathrooms. As for parking, access your area closely to ensure there is enough parking for all your guests. In case that is not possible, a reminder in the wedding invites of Uber in and out, if they aren’t coming in from far. You can also arrange for a valet or shuttle service to ensure things run smoothly.
• Keep your Neighbors in the loop: It is crucial to let your neighbors know well in advance that you’ll be hosting a wedding in your backyard, and they can expect a bit of activity at your side. Let them know whom they should contact if they deal with something unpleasant. Also check with the authorities about things like lighting firecrackers, noise ordinances, zoning issues, and permits.
• Power up: The last thing you need is for the setting to have an uncomfortable silence instead of ambient music and for the lights to all go out because of a power shortage. Add in additional sources of power and get a real generator so you don’t lose power right when the party gets started.
• Get help: Just because it’s a backyard wedding doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself. Since most wedding venues come with skilled staff members, it’s easy for them to keep things in-line. But at a backyard party, you are on your own, so don’t shy away from hiring professional help. They will keep the timelines in check and make sure your wedding day runs smoothly.
You can either have a half-and-half backyard wedding where you have your ceremony in a church or a courthouse and host your reception in your backyard, or you go all-in with the ceremony in the backyard too! The trick is in choosing the perfect location with either a natural or decorated backdrop, where you can frame the space with an arch or a tasteful backdrop. There are ceremony arches and backdrops for every wedding theme imaginable, so go for the kind which best suits your vibe. You can also DIY the same! We also strongly suggest aisle markers or aisle ways for creating visual interest, as sometimes the layout can be a little confusing in a backyard. Having a proper aisle gives structure to the setting, letting the guests know what to expect where!
The first thing to keep in mind is that you have enough space to accommodate all of your guests. Tents are a great way to designate a reception space, while still providing shade in a summer wedding. It also provides a way to facilitate floral and light installations. Recognize a theme for the wedding and ensure the reception area ties in the theme perfectly. You can also choose to go open-air and provide the guests with the experience of dining under the stars. You can exude the perfect garden party vibes with an abundance of fairy lights, fresh flowers, and strategically placed outdoor mood lighting and candles. Make sure that space can be quickly transitioned from one event to the next without much hassle if you are working with limited space.
Since you will not be switching event spaces much as you are working with limited space, you might want to squeeze in a cocktail hour for the guests to mingle right after the ceremony and until the reception starts. It allows you to transition from ceremony mode to party mode easily, without your guests getting bored and if you want to sneak in some wedding portraits during this time, this is perfect timing, as the guests wouldn't be needing hands-on entertaining.
While backyard weddings might seem like they are effortless and laid-back and are a breeze to pull off, there is in fact a lot of thought and planning that goes into it. Since there is no designated space for everything and a house is not usually designed to host an event at such a scale, you might need to choose your venue cautiously and plan meticulously. But when it is all done, we assure you, you will love your backyard wedding which is uniquely yours and perfect in every way!
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