In 2020, backyard weddings boomed, because of the dreaded C-word, of course. However, even in the past few years, backyard weddings have become more and more popular as couples choose to skip the pricey venue and set up their own venue, right outside their door! After all, there’s no place like home.
If you’re considering a backyard wedding, or you’ve already decided, here are my tips to make the most of it!
Whether you use your own backyard, or get married at your childhood home, or on the property your parents own, planning a backyard wedding has its perks.
Wedding venues inevitably have restrictions, rules, and regulations. This can be anything from what time your guests have to be out of there, what kind of alcohol they can serve, and whether your dog can come.
But, when you make your own venue, you get to make all the decisions! If you have pets that you want at your wedding, it’s much easier to include them when the celebration is in your backyard. You get to decide if your wedding is a casual one, or a black tie affair, and you get to make the rules when it comes to what time the party’s over, when you stop serving drinks, and pretty much everything else!
You also have full control over your decorations – there won’t be any surprises, and you’ll get to choose every last detail.
Your home inevitably has sentimental value – whether it’s your parents’ house that you grew up in, or its a home that the two of you bought together. What better place to celebrate the start of your lives together?
Venues are certainly beautiful, but there’s something so special about inviting your guests to the place where you’ve made so many incredible memories. Plus, after the wedding day, you can revisit your ceremony site for years to come!
While there’s nothing wrong with investing in your wedding day, some couples just can’t justify spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on a venue for one day. A backyard wedding is a great way to save money, so that you can invest in the things that matter most to you – whether that’s a kickass wedding photographer, or a long honeymoon abroad.
If you’re planning your wedding in 2021, there’s still a lot of uncertainty, and it can be stressful to think that you could lose your deposit on a venue. Get married in your backyard, and you’ll have a lot more flexibility, and a lot less stress if rescheduling becomes inevitable!
Once you’ve decided that a backyard wedding is for you, it’s time to get to work! Here are some ideas to help you decorate, plan, and execute your dream wedding.
One downside to having your wedding at your house, is that you’re inevitably going to have to do some cleanup afterwards (however, it’s your wedding day, so feel free to use that as leverage with some of your friends).
One of the first decisions you’re going to have to make is the guest list, so think about your ceremony, and think about who you just can’t imagine the day without. Some couples keep it to just family, while others want to invite a few close friends. It’s easy to get carried away with the guest list out of fear of hurt feelings, but remember – this is your day! If your aunt’s friend who you’ve met once wants an invitation, don’t feel pressured. Keep the guest list short, and only invite the people that you want to be there. And of course, don’t forget to consider the size of your backyard!
After the sun sets on your backyard wedding, you’ll need a way to keep things lit! Your backyard probably isn’t already set up with cozy but chic outdoor lighting, so consider getting some string lights! They’re warm and inviting, without being too harsh. You can string them up along the fence, or on the beams of a tent.
You’ll need somewhere to stand when you say your vows, and an arbor is the perfect solution! They provide an intimate “altar” for the two of you to stand under during the ceremony, and are super easy to make.
The easiest option, if you have a large tree (or maybe two closely placed smaller ones) in your backyard, is to drape some fabric over the branches to create a natural arbor! If the tree branches aren’t quite making the correct shape, you can use some string tied to the branch to hold up your fabric.
If you’re a little handy, you can also make an arbor out of wood! All you need is a few wooden beams, and you can make your arbor into a triangle, a simple rectangle, or an arch if you’re feeling fancy. Ask your florist to make you some arrangements to match your bouquet, and you can zip tie them to the beams!
One or two long banquet tables is easier than having a bunch of smaller ones, and creates a great cozy atmosphere where everyone can sit together and chat during the reception. Instead of dividing up your guests, a banquet table gives people the opportunity to meet each other, or catch up with those they haven’t seen in a while. You can also decorate the entire table with candles and centerpieces, and it’ll be much more impactful than having a smaller setup split up between tables.
While we always hope for the best, we have to be prepared for the worst. If it rains during your backyard wedding, it may not be ideal to have everyone crowd in the house. A tent is the perfect solution! A white canvas tent is perfect for any wedding, and even if the weather is perfect, an open-air tent can add a boho touch to the day. I always recommend draping lots of greenery – from the ceiling, the doors, and all around, this will instantly make your tent look much more wedding chic.
You’ll need to keep your guests entertained throughout the night, and the best way to do so is to set up some games! Lawn games like cornhole or croquet are perfect, and will keep kids and adults amused all night. You can also set up some board games, or even trivia. If there’s a game that the two of you love, incorporate that into your day!
Even in the summer, evenings can get chilly, so it’s important to plan ahead! Portable heaters are a lifesaver, and can be rented for the day to keep your guests warm. If you have a tent, closing the doors and zipping it up in the evening will retain more heat.
You can also set up a bonfire – even if it isn’t cold out, a bonfire is always cozy and a great way to end the night. You can have some s’mores, and end your backyard wedding with relaxing by the fire.
Some couples want their backyard wedding to be upscale and elegant, while others choose a backyard wedding because it takes away the pressure and is more casual and flexible. If your style is more laid back, you can treat this like a gathering! Ask your guests to BYOB to save money, and just relax, and hang out with your closest friends after the ceremony.
For some more inspiration, check out this tiny wedding in Wichita. And if you’re ready to start planning your own, contact me!
2023 Caitlyn Cloud
Design by Caitlyn Cloud Designs
Kansas City Wedding Photographer
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I am proud to be an inclusive wedding vendor! I love working with all types of couples in love.
Whatever your gender, sexuality, religion, race, I want to help you celebrate your day!