backyard wedding

As wedding budgets retract, and guest lists shrink, the backyard has become the wedding venue of choice for many savvy couples. But backyard weddings are not for everyone.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you make yourself and others around you crazy in an attempt to make everything ‘just so’? If your answer is yes, you might want to cross a backyard wedding off your list. Unless, of course, you want to drive yourself and your significant other looney – but in the end have the most wonderful wedding possible. Kinda like I did.

Perfectionists and at-home weddings can be a volatile combo. There are so many extra details involved with planning a backyard wedding at home that it can be overwhelming for anyone – but especially those who have a penchant for perfection.

Not only will you be trying to eliminate everything on your wedding day to-do list, you’ll also want to make your home extra special for your big day.

If you’re like me you’ll be re-decorating the interior, power washing the exterior and landscaping the heck out of your yard.

Of course, not all couples planning an at-home wedding spend months fixing up their place. Some people don’t lift a finger on home improvements. If that’s the case, planning can be a whole lot easier.

However, there are still things to keep in mind if you are planning a backyard wedding.

The Backyard Wedding Essentials Checklist

  1. Call your local town hall to find out if construction is planned for your area around the time of your wedding. The last thing you want is a muddy, noisy, messy road on the day of your wedding.
  2. A week before your wedding,  let your neighbors know what you are planning, and warn them of potential noise, and traffic. Also, if you are having an outdoor ceremony, let your neighbors know what time it will take place, so they won’t be out with their leaf blowers and lawn mowers during your ‘I do’s.’ Once neighbors know of your plans, they might offer up parking space, or lend a hand.
  3. Unless you are have a teeny, tiny wedding, you’ll need to rent tables and chairs. You may also have to rent linens, glassware, and dinnerware.
  4. It’s probably the least romantic thing about your wedding, but it’s probably one of the most important: toilets. No matter where you decide to have your wedding, you’re going to need at least one. If you are having your wedding at home, you might decide that guests can use the washrooms in your home, but after giving it some serious thought, you might change your mind. Do you really want your guests traipsing in and out of your home? Can your plumbing system take the wear and tear? Is it possible that your septic system will be overstressed, causing a plumbing nightmare on the biggest day of your life? (Ever see Meet the Parents?)
  5. If you are having a backyard wedding, it makes sense to use protection against the elements. I’ve heard horror stories of daring couples whose decision to marry out in the open left them, and their guests, all wet. And rain is not your only concern. A hot sun blazing down on you and your guests will not only cause discomfort; it can cause sunburn and heatstroke. If you’re a risk-taker and don’t want to bother with a tent, make sure you have some sort of back-up plan in case the weather doesn’t co-operate.
  6. Invite your caterer over before the big day so s/he can scope out your kitchen. S/he’ll need to know how much space there is to work in – as well as fridge and stove details.

Although the words wedding and home can be a match made in heaven for many, they are not for everyone. Depending on how elaborate the wedding is, they can be more costly and stressful than a wedding elsewhere.

For us it was all worth it. Will it be worth it for you?

Photo: Hanna and Mathew’s real wedding photographed by Katelyn Demidow Photography

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3 Comments  |  Filed Under: At Home Weddings, Outdoor Weddings

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  1. Posted by Kayla on September 13th, 2014 at 12:58am

    I am having a backyard reception at the end of November. Luckily we have adjoining houses to use double toilets. One side is for cocktails, canapés, lawn games, sitting, socialising and photo booth ( it is also where the caterers are cooking er warming up food lol ) and the other side is where we have purchased online white marquee tents with our tables and chairs.

    You can always check out your local school or community centre to rent or borrow chairs. We are renting ours from GoHire.

    The ceremony is at 4pm so no stress with too much heat, and dusk we will have citronella candles in full force.

    Many hire companies offer great deals and packages for everything you could possibly need, and caterers offer the utensil, dish, glassware hire as well.

    We are purchasing our own wine glasses so when the caterers clean up and leave, we can keep drinking.

    Alcohol, go online or check out groupon for deals to stock up!
    Speaking of alcohol, you need somewhere to store it! We are hiring a little cooler trailer that needs to be plugged in. Plenty of ice and buckets with refreshments scattered around.

    We have been stocking up on decorations for the last few months leading up, and will have a working bee with many family/friends helping the day before.

    The beauty of having a backyard reception is that you don't have to leave right at 11, and you don't have to clean up until the next day - after breakfast! :)
  2. Posted by Mimi on October 23rd, 2014 at 6:56am

    We are having a backyard (I prefer calling it garden) wedding at home too year and it's amazing if you look around the house, how much you already have, from decorations to furniture,
    Chairs are cheap to hire, $2.50 each for a weekend, foldable and there is sooo much on eBay you can get for cheap from invites to decorations.
    I will be preparing a lot of the food ahead with my family and instead of a sit down meal, we will have trays of canapés going around at first, then a lolly bar, a cocktail bar and a savory bar where people can help themselves and mingle :)
    Will save on the cake by making a tower of cupcakes with a giant cuocake on top!
    We want our wedding to be stylish but also fun and relaxed.
  3. Posted by Natalia on January 21st, 2015 at 12:14am

    Hi we have sent out save the dates for our big dream wedding in August and we are thinking of changing our mind and having a small private backyard wedding how do we word this into invites?
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