Planning a wedding is a huge task. Planning a full-on backyard wedding ceremony & reception is an even bigger task! Instead of opting for a turn-key event venue with an outdoor option, it’s your dream to get married in your parent’s backyard with your favorite people. Ok, I get it! While having a backyard wedding is so special and romantic, there are many things to consider and plan to ensure the smoothest celebration possible. Here are some things you might want to think about and consider for your backyard wedding.
Time to Plan? Do you have enough time to pull everything together without stressing out yourself and those around you? “Backyard wedding” sounds simple but there’s actually a lot more to plan than just going to a venue that already has a terrace for your outdoor ceremony or a tent for your dinner reception. You really have to take care of everything yourself. So unless you are super organized and super determined to planning all the details yourself, hiring a wedding planner might be your best investment.
Is It Even Possible? How many guests do you plan on inviting? Will you be having your ceremony in the backyard as well? Do you have space for a separate ceremony area? Do you envision your backyard reception to be cocktail style with canapes passed around, food stations/buffet style, BBQ style, or a more formal plated 4-course dinner? Each style will require different amount of space. For example, a sit-down meal will require a lot more space to setup tables and chairs as opposed to a more casual cocktail reception with only cocktail tables needed. Answering these questions will help you determine if your backyard is big enough. Consult a rental or catering company, they will help you determine if your space is do-able or not for what your dream wedding.
Shelter Your Guests. The must-have for your backyard wedding is a tent to shelter your guests! If you do not have a covering for your guests, what will be your Plan B in case of bad weather? Unless your house is a mansion, chances are you won’t have an indoor space big enough to hold all your guests should there be inclement weather. It’s not only in case of rain, if there’s a bit of wind, it can help with things too, such as the delicate decorations not tipping over or menus and place cards not flying away. And if it’s not rainy or breezy, the sun can be an issue as well. Yes, there is such thing as too-much-sun. It can be blazing hot or too bright, your guests will have difficulty seeing and the heat can be a problem for many people cause them discomfort.Friendly reminder! Even the sturdiest tents cannot withstand heavy rain or strong wind. So really consider the season you want to get married and if your region is known for inconsistent weather. You might really want to think about wedding insurance too!
Floor It. What’s a wedding without dancing? Yes, ok… unless you’re in the middle of the corona virus, then no dancing is allowed. But if you’re planning your outdoor wedding for after the pandemic, don’t forget the dance floor! Even if it’s not the entire floor under your tent, at least have a dance floor installed. Your guests will enjoy dancing so much more when it’s not on grass, patio or concrete. You might also want to prepare some flip flops for the ladies so they can dance the night away without hurting their feet.
Rent Them. Make a list of things you have to rent besides the tent and dance floor. Tables, chairs, linens and silverware are a must. These are things that your caterer can help you iron out along with cooking equipment they will be needing depending on the style of food you choose.
Light It Up. Other than the obvious that you need lights in your tent for the evening, you can also bring in lights in many other areas of your backyard wedding. You can incorporate lots of lanterns on the tables, along a dark path or if your outdoor space has stairs, you can line up lanterns on the steps as well. How about wrapping string lights around some trees or hanging Chinese paper lanterns off some branches? These little details can be so romantic! Remember, just don’t use real candles in the paper lanterns in case they fly away and cause a fire <wink>
Keep ‘em Cool & Warm. When are you hosting your wedding? Is it in the summer when it’s really hot or in the fall when it’s chilly? In the summer, you might want to rent some equipment that will help cool down your guests. In the fall, you might want to rent some outdoor heaters to keep you guests warm as they celebrate with you into the night.
Power Up. Seems like we could be forgetting one very important thing? You need power for your wedding! Not only for the beautiful string lights you will install on the ceiling, cooling or heating equipment might need it too. The band and DJ will definitely need to be powered up as well. You can easily rent generators to help with this.
These are just the very basic things to think about before you start planning a backyard wedding. In my next blog post, I will dive deeper in more detail tips for planning an outdoor wedding. Stay tuned!