The Complete Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding

Guide to planning a backyard wedding

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A backyard wedding is a beautiful way for couples who love the outdoors and want their wedding in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. The sentimental factor, budget-friendliness and the freedom to choose whatever wedding date you want makes a backyard wedding truly unique.

Here is everything you need to know to plan a beautiful backyard wedding.

1. Assess the Venue

Assess the venue for the backyard wedding

Assess the venue to be sure it will work for the event. Measure the space and make sure the venue is big enough to accommodate the tents, tables and chairs, food service and bar area, toilets and the number of guests you want to invite. It’s also important to have enough space for vans or trucks to deliver hire items.

If you have any differently-abled guests coming, ask them for any special requirements they need. Consider what the senior crowd requirements might be too.

Make sure the venue is easily accessible to both guests and vendors and there is enough space for guests to park safely near the venue.

2. Permits

Check with your city officials to see if you need any permit to host the backyard wedding. Check the city’s website for information on noise ordinances, fire codes and rules for street parking so you can get a clear understanding of the requirements for getting the permits if you need one.

3. Prepare Yard Early

To make sure the yard is in top shape for the wedding, you should start getting the yard into shape months before the backyard wedding.  You should start weeding, planting florals and maintaining the garden months before the wedding. If you would rather not do this duties yourself, you can hire a landscaper to handle it. Check to see if the ground is level for chairs, tables, food setup and the dance floor.

4. Weather Proof

Depending on the time of the year you are having your wedding, you might have to rent heater or fan. Depending on the weather you can supply hand fans, umbrellas and blankets to the guests. You would also want to be prepared for bugs and mosquitos by having bug repellants and citronella candles on ground.

No matter what season you have you plan on having the backyard wedding it’s always a wise choice to plan for rain. Have a quick-assemble canopy or tent on ground.

5. Set the Stage

Backyard wedding set up

How will you set up the ceremony? What do you want to be the focal point of the ceremony? It might be a fence, large tree or even the back porch of the house. Once you have decided on the focal point you can transform the space with a balloon arch or floral arch.

While setting the stage take into consideration how you would want the seating arrangements, do you want guests seating and facing you or do you want them in a circle around you? Is the ground flat or are there slopes? Will the seating arrangement offer enough shade from the sun for the guests?

Will you be having a cocktail hour after the ceremony? If you plan on taking wedding photos after the ceremony, you might consider having a cocktail hour as this will keep guests entertained and busy while you are taking the pictures. If you will be having a cocktail hour you also have to put this into consideration when planning the layout of the event.

For the reception, would you like to keep the seating arrangement of the ceremony or do you want a family-style table? Will you have space for the dance floor and food serving stations or will the food be served from the kitchen?

Drinking board game

6. Clean Up

Rent plenty of trash and recycling bins for collecting trash during the wedding.  Assign someone to empty the bins once they get full so you can keep everything nice and tidy. If there is nobody that can delegate the task to you should consider hiring someone or even asking your caterer if it’s a service she offers.

Also delegate one or two people to be in charge of setting up, taking down the party decor and coordinating the collections of rentals.

7. Bathrooms

If you are having an intimate wedding with not more than 20 guests the bathrooms in your home will be sufficient. If you are having a guest list larger than 20 people look into renting portable bathrooms. A general rule of thumb is to have one bathroom for every 50 guests. You can place a dispenser of hand sanitizer in each bathroom or set up a hand washing outside of the bathrooms.

8. Power

With the lighting, food prep equipment and sound system you will need another source of power other than the power from your house. To make sure there is no power outage during the course of the wedding you should rent a generator. Find out from the lighting company and DJ how much power their setup needs and discuss with the generator rental company so you can rent the generator that fit your needs.

9. Food and Drinks

BBQ chicken

Food trucks, BBQ and ordering food and having it delivered are the popular food choices for a backyard wedding. If you decide to go with a caterer who will prepare the food in your kitchen make sure they are aware of the cooking facilities you have so they can plan accordingly.

If you are hiring a caterer will the caterer provide staffs who will serve the food and man the bar? How many staffs will s/he provide for serving? Will the staffs stay as long as the food is served? Discuss all these with the caterer before hiring.

For the drinks, will you have a bartender or set up a drinks table and let guests serve themselves? If guests are serving themselves you can choose to stock up the bar with a selection of wine, beer, soft drinks and drinking water. Do not also forget ice and garnishes!

Whichever route you choose to go, make sure to stock up the bar with drinks guests would like.

10. Rental

A backyard wedding is just like any other outdoor events so you would have to rent a lot of decor items. Here are items you might need to rent for the backyard wedding.

Tents, Lighting, Generators, Dancing Floor, Ceremony Chairs, Ceremony Backdrop, Ceremony Decor, Photo Booth, Reception Chairs, Dinner Tables, Guestbook Table, Gifts Table, Serving Tables, Dessert Table, Linens, Table Decor, Centerpiece Vases, Place Settings, Bar, Food Storage Equipment, Portable Restrooms, Trash and Recycling Bins

Thrift and vintage stores are great for finding affordable decor. If you are looking at buying some of the decor you can find decor like linens, centerpieces etc.

11. Get Help.

Wedding planning can be very stressful and you will need all the help you can get. To make the planning process easier you can hire a wedding planner or day-of-coordinator. If you don’t want to hire a wedding planner, ask your friends and family to help with the wedding planning. Have family or friends be you day-of-coordinator or man the bar. Delegate people to help oversee the set up and the take down. Ask them for help in cleaning up after the party instead of hiring a cleanup crew.

12. Insurance

We all hope that everything will go well on the wedding day and there won’t be any accidents, but it’s better to prepared for all eventualities.  Talk to your vendors and find out what insurance they have, you can also contact your homes insurance to see what the insurance covers.

In most cases you will have to purchase an additional insurance for the aspects the homeowner’s and vendor’s insurance do not cover. You can then get a public liability insurance to cover these aspects. You can also talk to your wedding planner about this if you have one or an independent broker.

Drinking card games for bachelorette party

13. Neighbors

Notify your neighbors of plans to have your backyard wedding. Let them know what date and time you will be having the wedding and how many hours the event will last for. Let them also be aware of where your guests will park on the street in case they have any concerns. Make sure to notify them early enough – about a month or more before the wedding.

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  1. rachel frampton

    My sister would like to hold a backyard wedding this year, and that is why I told her that she should start looking for event table rentals. Well, I agree with you that she and her fiance must consider the senior crown requirements. I’ll also keep in mind to tell her that she should check her city officials’ permits.

  2. Rachel Frampton

    If I were to plan a backyard wedding with my fiance, we would surely hire an Italian catering service. Well, I also agree with you that it would be best to beautify the garden with new plants and flowers. Thank you for sharing here as well the importance of investing in umbrellas and blankets.

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