Outdoor weddings are the best! I might be biased because I run a wedding venue in my backyard, but hey. We all know weddings are, or can be, expensive. And, while many families go the wedding venue route, you might not want too.
I have experience in both circles. My two daughters were married in our backyard before there was even a thought of a wedding venue business on our property. Both were very DIY and lovely.
I wrote an eBook on this very topic called – Backyard Wedding Basics – and I created some wedding planner sheets too. While this eBook was written a few years ago It’s a great starting point if you are considering a backyard wedding.
Back to our subject – is my backyard big enough for an outdoor wedding? While there are many things to consider, let’s cover the basics. The guest list will be a big factor, you will need to know approximately how many will attend so you can plan wisely.
This could require a big area if many are in attendance. People will need to park safely! There will be car doors opening and guests will need room to back out. It’s a nice idea to let the neighbors know what is going on. Also, keep a parking area open close to the reception for your vendors (cake, food, DJ, photographer, officiate, etc.) to drop things off at.
Be sure to designate rooms for the bride and bridesmaids, grooms and groomsman, parents and grandparents to change clothes in. A lot of the wedding party will dress before coming to your property. Just be sure everyone knows the plan. We don’t want confusion on wedding day… did I really say that, lol!
Will you rent tables and chairs? What about linens, will you rent or use plastic ones you can throw away? Will you be expected to pick up the rentals yourself or will you have them delivered? Are you responsible for returning things? Where will things be stored, before and after the event?
Will guests be allowed in your house to use the restroom or will you rent portable restrooms for the event? And, if you do rent, where will they be at? You don’t want them to far away, but you don’t want them in the photos either.
The food serving area will take up room in your yard. It’s best to have separate areas for food, dessert and even the beverage area and or bar. People need room to move around so they are not bumping into each other.
The one complaint I hear most from guests is the congestion and inconvenience of the food service area at many weddings. Try to leave plenty of room when you are planning.
Remember, give each guest table room for chairs to move in and out, without disturbing their neighbor. If there is to be a dance floor in the middle of the tables or even off to the side, be sure to get the dimensions so you can mark off the area before setting up the tables.
How will you dispose of garbage and where will you set receptacles at around the yard? Oh, and make sure you have enough receptacles.
If you have monthly garbage service, you might need to call for and extra can or two that week. We have a waste management station close to us and we take our own garbage to the dump.
There are just a few other things I would like to mention if you are DIY-ing an outdoor wedding. You might need to get extra insurance for the day of the event. Be sure and ask your homeowners insurance.
Also, make sure you have plenty of help. There is nothing worse than when a sweet mother is so busy putting out fires that she didn’t get to enjoy herself at the wedding.
Now all you need to do is design your backyard while considering all this information you have just been given.
You can head over to WeddingWire and create a seating chart for your backyard outdoor wedding too. I’m pretty sure it’s free. I’ve had a bride or two bring this same seating chart page to me at the venue, love it!