Getting married is a major life event that you’ll never forget. If you’re planning to walk down the aisle with that special someone, a backyard wedding is a great way to say your vows and tie the knot on a budget. Whether your outdoor space is large or small, it’s easy to plan a backyard wedding if you know where to start. From summer celebrations to a beautiful autumn ceremony, read on to learn how you can plan your wedding for a special moment right in your own backyard.
How to Get Started: Review the Logistics
Before you pick out favors and décor, start with the logistics. How successful your wedding is will depend on where you live, the time of year, and the weather. Try to nail down a date where you feel confident the weather will hold out for a glorious day. You should also determine whether or not you need a special license to get married in your backyard, as some locations still require a permit to perform official ceremonies in a private space.
You’ll also want to find out how to get the right amount of power for music, lighting, and more. An extension cord might do the trick but be aware that it also poses a trip hazard. Determine how much equipment will be needed for the wedding so you can get the proper power source set up. You’ll likely need a generator to create power for things like speakers and catering equipment.
In addition to permits and power, now is the time to clean up your yard and get it ready for the big day. Get rid of old dead plants, tree branches, and weeds to create a clean slate for your ceremony and reception. Come up with a layout for seating and the stage now so it will be easier when it’s time to set everything up.
Another crucial thing to keep in mind is wedding insurance. You might not think you need it in your own backyard, but it’s good to see what’s covered in case a guest gets injured on your property. Other things to consider include parking, notifying your neighbors in advance, and creating your official wedding program.
Once you’ve listed all of the logistics, the fun part begins. Think about the special features you’ll want to include in your backyard wedding. From a specific theme to your flowers, write down a list of ideas and tweak them as you go.
Do you want an outdoor dance floor or stage? How about separate tables and chairs for the reception?
Think of planning your backyard wedding the same way you would in any other venue. If you love music, add outdoor speakers so everyone can dance to your favorite tunes. A beautiful fountain can add a nice touch to an outdoor wedding, too. Brainstorm several different features you’d like to see so you can start planning ahead as early as possible.
Benefits of a Backyard Wedding
While a formal venue is always nice, there are plenty of awesome benefits to getting married in your backyard. First and foremost, you’ll save a ton of money on the cost to rent a venue which can run you into the thousands of dollars. That fact alone makes considering a backyard wedding worth the effort! Aside from saving money, here are some other benefits of hosting a backyard wedding:
- If your pets are part of the family, you can enjoy their company at the wedding. Most venues won’t allow pets, but you can certainly enlist your pooch to be the best man if you decide to get married DIY.
- Aside from the wedding itself, you can also host a backyard rehearsal dinner. Have casual food like barbecue catered in, or just cook some food on the grill for your wedding party to enjoy.
- Since your backyard probably has limited space, that means you can keep your guest list small, too. The fewer guests you have, the less money you’ll need to spend on things like food and entertainment.
- Backyard weddings give you the flexibility to choose any date you want to get married. Instead of planning around the “wedding season” to find an open slot, you can pick any day you like when you host your own backyard wedding.
- You might be nervous about getting married but doing it in a familiar place is a great way to calm those nerves and help you feel more relaxed and at home.
Have A Plan B in Place
There’s no way you can predict the weather to a T, so be sure you have an alternate “Plan B” in place just in case the storms roll in. Weather can change in an instant which means you might end up dealing with unexpectedly cold temperatures or a dangerous rainstorm. Draft up a reasonable Plan B where you can move everyone inside your home. If you’re insistent on keeping the celebration outside, reserve a tent that you can use in case of an emergency. Make sure someone can pick the tent up just in case you need it in a pinch. Ensure that the sides of the tent are covered to protect everyone from the rain. If the weather happens to be unseasonably hot, have plenty of fans available to keep the air circulation. If it’s cold, stock up on outdoor heaters. Having these safeguards in place will keep your stress level low and the wedding moving along.
Wedding planners are experts at creating the perfect timeline. If you’re doing everything on your own, it’s crucial to make sure you create a timeline that works. Do your best to schedule the ceremony somewhat early so the skies don’t get dark before you’ve said your vows. Try to avoid too much downtime between the ceremony and reception since the guests won’t need to travel between venues. If possible, try to schedule your wedding photos before the ceremony begins so you can mingle and visit with guests directly after the ceremony is over. If you can’t get pictures beforehand, consider a few fun backyard games or activities to keep everyone entertained while they wait. Finally, remember to be mindful of your neighbors and try to agree on an official time when the reception is over. You can always move the party to a local bar or another hot spot later in the night.
DIY Décor and Inspiration
If you’re planning a backyard wedding, you’re likely already working on other DIY ideas when it comes to themes and décor. Doing everything yourself gives you the freedom to create almost any style décor using any theme imaginable. Here are some suggestions to inspire you and prompt you to create a memorable theme with beautiful décor that’s all done DIY:
- Hang outdoor string lights throughout your backyard to create a warm, magical glow when the sun goes down.
- For autumn weddings, focus on beautiful colors like orange, red, and gold for décor, flowers, and bridesmaid dresses.
- Place clear glass vases on each table and fill them with freshly cut flowers you picked from your own yard.
- Laminate some of your favorite photos of you and your better half to protect them from the weather, then display them on rope or string and hang them from a tree or around a fence line.
- Consider jewel-toned plastic goblets in lieu of glassware. It’s a great way to serve beverages in a beautiful way without having to worry about broken glass.
- Use texture and patterns outdoors by adding beautiful printed tablecloths or runners over tables. A pair of sheer curtains can add a gorgeous, romantic touch to the stage, too.
- Get creative with seating and place a few vintage sofas and chairs outside. You can also use some hay bales as seating if you’re aiming for a wedding with a rustic or farmhouse theme.
- Instead of paying tons of money for custom invitations, consider printing some at home or through a local printing service. Create the layout and design using a simple program, then print them in full color on heavy cardstock paper.
Besides saving money and enjoying a smaller guest list, having a backyard wedding carries quite a bit of sentimental value, too. Imagine saying your vows right in the place where you grew up. If you don’t still live in the same house from your childhood, you likely still have plenty of wonderful memories from this special place. Your guests will probably feel sentimental as well, especially if they’ve spent a lot of time at your home and in your backyard. Have your furry friends join in the celebration, which is another great way to make this day more sentimental and special. Getting married in this place can create a very meaningful moment for you and your new spouse. Remember to enjoy the moment and capture the memories with lots of photos, family, and friends.
(Blog Contributor: Isabella Caprario)