Maybe it’s thanks to the classic chick flick, Father of the Bride, or just fond memories playing in tree houses, catching fireflies and watching the hydrangeas bloom in the spring. But whatever the reason, many little girls dream of someday marrying the love of their life in a simple yet beautiful backyard ceremony. Unfortunately sometimes those fantasies prove super problematic. First, it’s not just the yard you have to consider. Is there outdoor electricity for running globe lights or the DJ’s system? Where will all those guests park, and do you really want your little brother or crazy cousin playing chauffer? Is there a rain contingency? What will your neighbors think? Don’t get us wrong. In some cases, a backyard wedding can definitely be the stuff of dreams, a perfect special event venue! But before you put all your wedding planning eggs in that basket, banking on a “free” and sentimental venue, let’s look at the logistics and what it really takes to make it work, so you don’t end up with a planning nightmare on your hands.
Will the Backyard Work? What to Consider
Most brides have two specific things in mind when choosing to host a backyard wedding. They want simplicity and nature, one of which is a definite with a backyard, but the other one – simplicity – not so much! Because even if your yard is naturally beautiful, there are still a lot of things you’ll need to arrange. And planning them without the assistance of a wedding planner, or venue coordinator, can be particularly stressful!
Here are some crucial considerations before settling on any venue, including your backyard.
- When you pay for a wedding venue, you’re paying for more than just a location. While each venue differs, most are also providing access to electricity, ample (and safe) parking, tables, chairs, linens (or connections to rentals), and much more. They’re also offering plenty of clean restrooms, which might not be glamorous to think about, but are definitely something your guests need you to consider!
- Will your other wedding vendors, like caterers and DJ’s, have everything they need to perform their jobs to the best of their ability?
- If the “backyard” you have in mind is more of a forest, or a hillside, like at your family’s lake house for instance, will elderly guests be comfortable walking to your proposed ceremony site? (If not, do you have a golf cart or vehicle than can help transport guests?)
- Lured by the idea of a low pricetag on a backyard wedding? Just remember that you’ll only be saving if you can rent or hire everything you’ll need to create a wedding venue out of your space for less than it would cost to rent an established wedding venue! In some cases this is possible, but often it turns out to be much more expensive than brides initially expect.
- Will hosting a wedding put undue stress on your parents or the relative whose yard (and house) you’ll be using? Do you need to arrange special services like lawn care and gardening leading up to the event?
- Depending on where you live, and your relationship with your neighbors, will you need a special permit to host an event at your home? (If so, make sure to plan in advance, since some permit requests can take months or more to process!) Also, be sure to ask about alcohol consumption, noise ordinances, and other city rules that may dictate aspects of your wedding.
- What will you do if it rains? No one besides Alanis Morissette wants to think about rain on her wedding day. Unfortunately every outdoor wedding needs a contingency plan. For spring wedding this means having access to indoor space or cover from rain, but also preparation for muddy venues. For winter weddings, it means having adequate heaters on hand, and some place safe from elements like snow or even sleet.
- As we mentioned, there are lots of beautiful ways to host backyard weddings, and you can find the proof in plenty of wedding magazines and Pinterest boards. But if you’re in love with the idea, not the reality, of hosting a wedding in your own backyard, consider a rustic outdoor wedding venue instead.
That allows you to enjoy all the nature your heart desires, without all the extra planning it takes to create your own pop-up wedding venue!