Planning the best backyard wedding takes time and imagination on your part, not to mention some elbow grease from your wedding party and future spouse to help you get everything ready. Unlike a specially set up and decorated wedding venue, the backyard might take some work to make it ideal for your special day. You’ll have to plan to supply everything needed to get through your ceremony and reception party. This means anticipating the needs of your guests, including how you’ll serve them warm food and where they will go to the restroom. Once you have a vision for your wedding and a plan to execute it effectively, there are ways to make your backyard wedding a remarkable affair that guests will remember for years. You can do it at a fraction of the price of what a party at a fancy venue would cost you.
Here are some things to consider when planning the best backyard wedding for your budget:
Choosing the Outdoor Venue
A major motivating factor in planning the best backyard wedding is often the reduced cost. In large metro cities, you can be looking at thousands of dollars just to rent a venue for your wedding. For young couples trying to get a foothold in the world, it can be too much to afford to spend on just one day. If you’re looking for the best wedding venue and your budget is low, the backyard of your home or a loved one’s home might be the winner. With ample outdoor space, landscaping already in place, and no real cost to rent the space, you’re likely to save a lot of money that you can put towards other costs, like the food, alcohol, décor, and entertainment. You can afford a much nicer celebration this way, plus planning a party at your home or a loved one’s place is likely to be simpler than coordinating an event at a hotel or upscale event space, where everything you might need can result in an extra charge and fee, and you can easily go over budget.
Consider Renting the Perfect Home
If you love the idea of an intimate backyard wedding but don’t have enough space of your own to make it happen, consider a short-term rental that has the outdoor space you want. Whether it is an ideally located vacation home or a property that belongs to an acquaintance, you may find that renting a backyard space is much cheaper than the alternatives, especially if you live in a high cost of living area like New York or Los Angeles. As a bonus, you and your spouse can stay in the home the night of the wedding for a quaint preview of your honeymoon trip. Or you can have a sleepover with your friends and the wedding party the night before the wedding to celebrate your last night as a single person.
Constructing the Altar
Once you’ve figured out where to hold the wedding, it’s time to figure out how to layout the yard to host your guests and make your ceremony the focal point. Planning the best backyard wedding means delegating places in the backyard space for every portion of the world. Sketch out a plan for where you’d like to put the dance floor, seating for guests, and tables where you can sit down and eat. You can use any decks or balconies already in place and make your altar on these elevated pieces to give the altar a stable bottom. This will help everyone be able to see you when you have the actual ceremony and say your vows. Having an elevated altar also makes it easier to take good photos and videos of your ceremony.
Hiring an Event Planner
Some people think that an event planner is only for rich people or big weddings. However, event planners can help with weddings of any size or budget, and their services can be affordable for the average bride and groom. Event planning encompasses many of the things that may stress you out as you try to plan the wedding, including catering, table and chair rentals, hiring photographers, and other wedding professionals. With established relationships with wedding vendors, an event planner can easily locate the items you need for your wedding and take a lot of the planning off your plate, leaving you free to concentrate on important details like the dress. They can help organize things like the rehearsal dinner and help corral your wedding party in the crucial hours before the wedding takes place. If you suspect the party might get out of hand, you can also hire event security services to keep things light and stop anyone from getting hurt. This can be a prudent decision if you know that your guests are big drinkers, or simply want to keep things contained in the yard space without spreading into the house or down the residential street.
Incorporate Pets and Children
If your family is important to you, and you want to incorporate them into your wedding day celebration, a backyard location lets you do that without having to mind any restrictions made by a venue. By planning the best backyard wedding instead of going for a hotel ceremony, you can incorporate pets who might not be welcome in a hotel ballroom. A backyard wedding is great for accommodating a pet you share with your future spouse if you want this pet to play an important part in the wedding. A backyard wedding is also ideal for kids who may not be able to stay quiet and sit still in a church or hotel ceremony. They have plenty of space to run and tire themselves out at a backyard wedding without disrupting the whole ceremony.
Plan for Parking Space
One of the drawbacks of drawing a large crowd to a residential address is the lack of available parking. There are a few ways to solve this issue depending on where the home is located and what the parking situation is around there. For example, if there is a parking garage nearby, you can book out spots there for wedding guests to use. If there is an open field nearby, see if you can rent it and have valets park the cars there safely. You can always book a lot for people to park at and have a bus take them from the lot to the venue. Get creative and you’ll find ways to accommodate everyone who wants to celebrate with you.
Preparing the Venue for Guests
Lawn maintenance is a great place to start preparing the backyard. The process of performing regular maintenance to the grass and other surfaces that may be in the yard will reveal any sloped spots or holes that need filling before you welcome a crowd. Tree trimming is another necessary safety measure if the guests are going to be sitting in the yard right under the limbs of the tree. If a heavy, dead limb falls, it can hurt someone. Having a professional tree trimmer come out and attend to these branches keeps everyone safe and allows more natural light to come down on you as your ceremony takes place.
Planning the best backyard wedding means thinking about everything your guests will need all night long, including where they can store coats and bags, and having ample access to restrooms. If you are expecting a lot of guests and only have one bathroom or do not want all the guests using your bathroom, you can look into having a portable bathroom brought in and set somewhere in the yard or even in the front yard. These bathrooms can be affordable to rent and cleaner than you expect.
Creating the Perfect Backdrop
Part of planning the best backyard wedding is deciding how you’ll capture this day forever and setting up photo opportunities that meet your vision. Wedding photos are an important souvenir of the day and a part of your story as a couple. An ideal backdrop can be the beauty of nature as brought to life through garden care, or it can be one you create using photo props and décor pieces that appeal to you and match your themes. Use exiting outdoor structures present in the backyard, like gazebos or patios, to take unique photos. If you want a fun, retro way to involve your guests in the photography, you can put 90s era disposable cameras on the table for them to take candid photos or rent a photo booth.
Finding the Best Catering Company
Delicious food is a key part of planning the best backyard wedding and ensuring your guests leave happy. You may want to plan to serve some type of food at multiple points through the wedding, first at cocktail hour before the reception starts, then dinner, and finish up with cake or dessert. Change it up to keep guests guessing. Try getting exotic hors d’oeuvres like sushi rolls from seafood restaurants, late-night tacos, or Mexican food for a midnight snack for hungry guests. Coordinate the times you’ll offer the food with the times things are happening for the wedding. For example, while you are having pictures taken with your new spouse might be a good time for cocktail hour, so your guests don’t get bored waiting for you to come back and start the reception.
Don’t limit yourself to just catering companies, because there are plenty of ways to cater for your wedding. You can talk to restaurants, food trucks, independent trained chefs, and even high-end grocery stores to do the food for your wedding. You can then present the food on fancy platters or fine China you already have on hand or rent from a place that specializes in events. By ordering affordable but tasty food and presenting it in a fancy way, you can save a lot of money and still impress your guests.
Be Considerate of the Property’s Neighbors
If you’re planning to keep the backyard party going until the middle of the night with a DJ or even a band pumping out tunes, it’s important to notify the people who live right around the house, or you risk making enemies out of your neighbors by keeping them up. This way they can expect the disruption and give you and your guests some grace if you make a lot of noise. Most neighbors don’t mind you holding a backyard wedding as long as you let them know and end the festivities at a reasonable hour. Giving them a heads-up can prevent them from calling the police and lodging a noise complaint or coming over to yell at you and ruin your night. If you have space, you can even invite them to come by and enjoy some party food and celebration, which can lead to a beautiful long-lasting friendship between neighbors.
Make Clean-Up As Easy as Possible
Planning the best backyard wedding means also planning how you’ll clean up after the big event, and there are things you can do to streamline this process. Set out garbage cans and recycling bins where guests can easily access them to avoid trash ending up all over the yard. If you have hired catering or waitstaff, you can ask them to be in charge of emptying the trash periodically or appoint someone who wants to help to do it. This will keep the trash from getting backed up or piling up in one section of the yard.
Planning the best backyard wedding might seem stressful at first, but when the pieces all come together to make your ideal day a reality, you’ll see that the planning is well worth it. You can customize every part of the day and celebrate your love uniquely.