The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding

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.

 Sentimental Value

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)

Sara and Jeremy’s Southern California Backyard Wedding

Sara and Jeremy are the sweetest, most kind people you’ll ever meet, and we are so happy to be able to spend their beautiful day with them! Their wedding was in Sara’s parent’s backyard, and was beautiful, cozy, and love-filled event.

From the Couple:

How did you two meet?

– Jeremy and I met through a mutual friend! On the night we met, he taught me how to slackline and it was an instant connection from there! We continued hanging out a bunch. Going on hikes, running around the Rose Bowl and talking for hours on my front porch. The rest is history!

How did he/she propose?

– Jeremy and I were in Washington State with my family. My favorite hike in the world is the hike up to Tolmie Peak Fire Lookout in Mt. Rainier National Park. Jeremy said he really wanted to do that hike since he has never done it before. Little did I know, he had planned an epic proposal on our hike AND given my dad the ring before the hike so I didn’t accidentally find it in our backpack. When we got up to the lookout, we start taking pictures infront of the incredible view and Jeremy asks to take “one more picture”… Then he drops down on one knee and proposes! My dad was our secret photographer and it turned out he had done the entire hike with a bottle of champagne in his backpack so we could have an engagement toast! It was so perfectly “US.”

Why did you choose the theme of your wedding? 

– We are both extremely laid-back people. We don’t like big fuss or anything fancy. So we know we didn’t want some expensive, fancy wedding . It ended up being a wonderful, laid-back nights filled with tacos, margaritas , and barefoot dancing!

What made you pick your venue?

– We planned our wedding on a very tight budget. We both come from big families so we needed a cheap venue. As we searched and went on countless tours of too-expensive venues, it hit me that there was nothing else I’d rather get married than the house where I grew up! So we got married in the front yard of my house.

Did a particular moment in your day stick out to you personally?

– Obviously, our first look was so amazing and absolutely memorable. Also, seeing Jeremy wait for me at the end of the aisle was a moment I’ll never forget. Also, my sweet Uncle Jack was our officiant which was just so amazing for me. That helped calm my nerves! As someone who is extremely close with their family, another memorable moment was saying goodbye to my parents before we left for our honeymoon. I kept saying to myself “This will not be like the Father of the Bride! I will say goodbye to my Dad!” And thankfully, my dad and I shared sweet hug before we hopped in our getaway car.

What kind of personal details did you incorporate into your wedding?

– One of my favorite details was wearing a ring from my grandma who passed away a few years ago. It felt like she was there with us which made the day even more special to me. Another detail we LOVED was having our canoe out! We both love the outdoors and we wanted that to show in the details of our wedding. The canoe was the perfect addition to our rustic-y wedding decor!

Do you have any advice for couples planning their wedding?

– Our advice is to not go into major debt for one day. Now we do not judge anyone’s wedding dreams, but we both feel that a wedding is supposed to be about the marriage of 2 people and not about the decorations, flowers, favors, etc. We feel so much better knowing that we didn’t start our first year of marriage in major debt from our wedding. We tried to keep that mentality during our planning and it helped remind us that it’s our love that we have for each other and not the material things.

Anything you want people to know about your wedding?

– Our wedding was completely DIY through the grace of our wonderful friends and families who put in hours of work for our wedding! Everything from the flower to the decorations were all done by us!!And it made it even more special. And not to toot my own hom, but I’m proud of myself for making and arranging my own bridal bouquet!

Venue: Private Residence

Hairstylist: Brittany Leavitt @electroflapper

Florist: DIY flowers from The Los Angeles Flower Market and Costco

Caterer: Fiesta Tacos

DJ/ Live Band: iDj Entertainment



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