Getting married in your own backyard (or the backyard of a relative or friend), is a really cozy, sentimental way to tie the knot. As a wedding photographer who got married in a backyard herself (when COVID hit, my husband and I had to come up with a plan B), I’ve got the scoop on planning a backyard wedding, and this guide will tell you everything you need to plan the perfect day!
Before we dive into how to plan one, here are the perks of having a backyard wedding – for those of you who are still on the fence.
Getting married in a place that’s special to you makes your wedding day even more meaningful! Most couples tie the knot on a parent or grandparent’s property, and if it’s a place you spent a lot of your childhood in, that can be really incredible.
Traditional venues can be great, but the reality is that most of the time, it’s a place you haven’t and won’t spend any time in after the wedding is over – tying the knot in the backyard of a home that means something to you gives it a more personal touch!
The wedding venue is usually the biggest chunk of a couple’s wedding expenses. Getting creative with your venue and getting married in a backyard allows you to save money, and spend more on other parts of the day! But, this doesn’t mean that backyard weddings are “cheap” or that the lower cost makes your day less valuable or important.
Instead, it means that you can decide what’s important to you, prioritize how you spend your money and allocate your budget, and create a more personal, meaningful experience!
While it’s totally possible to find a dog friendly wedding venue, it definitely narrows down your options. Planning a backyard wedding makes it so much easier to include your four legged family members, and you won’t have to worry about venue restrictions or rules when it comes to your dogs.
Most backyards will be smaller than a traditional venue – so with a guest list that’s smaller and more intentional, your wedding will be more intimate and cozy. You’ll get to really spend time with your partner, and with every guest! A backyard wedding is a great way to prioritize hanging out with your loved ones and celebrating the beginning of your marriage.
When you get married at a venue, there are often rules about which caterers you can hire, what kind of alcohol you can have, how late everyone can stay, and other restrictions that you need to keep in mind. But, having a backyard wedding means that there are no rules!
Well, there might be some rules – which you’ll of course talk about with your partner and with whoever’s backyard it is. But, you have a lot more freedom and flexibility to decide how your wedding day will go! You can decorate however you want, decide which vendors you want to work with, and completely customize your day.
Once you’re ready to start planning your backyard wedding, keep these tips in mind for a stress free day!
It can be easy to get caught up in the pressure to invite everyone you know, but with a backyard wedding, it’s so important to keep it intimate. The exact size of your guest list will depend on what feels right to you, and how many people your backyard can accommodate, but as you’re making a guest list, think about who you truly want to be there on your day!
After you’ve chosen the perfect place to host your backyard wedding, make sure to let the neighbors know what’s happening. This will prevent any issues if there’s loud music they aren’t expecting or lots of cars parked on the street. Of course, you’ll be respectful of noise ordinances and of the people who live nearby – but most likely, if they’re aware ahead of time, they’ll be more understanding!
Buying wedding decorations can get expensive, and since you likely won’t be using them again after the day is over, it’s not great for the environment. A really good solution to buying new decor is to rent these items instead!
These can add a really nice personal touch to your wedding as well – you can rent rugs, tables and chairs, lighting, and just about anything you need.
It’s always good to be prepared for inclement weather – if you’re having a backyard wedding, the owner of the property may not want to host all of your guests in their home. Decide ahead of time what you’ll do in case of rain, talk about whether inside the house is an option, and be prepared!
Many couples rent a canvas tent – you can get ones that zip all the way around to really protect from the elements, but there are also ones that just have a roof. This allows you to stay outside even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, and can also provide shade on a hot day!
You’ve gotta eat! Catering is a great option for a backyard wedding, but you can also hire a food truck – my husband and I had cheeseburgers, and it was a super convenient, delicious way to feed all of our guests.
Another thing to consider is whether your guests will use the bathroom in the house. Depending on how many guests you’ll have, and how the owner feels about it, it might be a good idea to rent a portable restroom! This doesn’t have to be a port-a-potty – there are also bathroom trailers available for weddings that are much more spacious, clean, and portable!
If you’re planning on tying the knot with an intimate backyard wedding, you’ll need a photographer to capture all that fun.
From bringing extra bobby pins, hyping you up, helping you figure things out as you plan, to being your third wheel (but in a way that makes you forget the camera is there at all), I’ve got you covered! Contact me, and let’s talk about your dream wedding day.