How To Create A Dream Backyard Wedding

More and more people are opting to keep weddings intimate and save money for other things. If this sounds dreamy to you, follow along as we explore how to create a dream backyard wedding. While you can find Airbnb rentals to host a dream wedding, using your own backyard will eliminate the tedious search and expensive cost of a venue. Your own space or the yard of a family member or friend allows you to keep the wedding intimate. Usually, a backyard isn't as large as a wedding venue, making it well-suited for a smaller gathering. 

According to Golden Horseshoe Inn, an intimate wedding permits the couple to truly enjoy the day and make it about their love rather than everyone else, as many large weddings do. They can focus on the things that matter to them as a couple and have time to take it all in, visit with guests, and maybe even steal a minute alone. Save money, create an intimate environment, and walk down the aisle with little stress with a backyard wedding.

Choose the right season

For an outdoor wedding, the time of year is essential, especially in your own backyard, since there may be little to no shelter should hazardous weather conditions come out of nowhere. A soft snowfall is romantic but challenging to predict. A sunny summer day always works, yet high humidity can make people miserable. 

Although you may dream of a specific season, it's essential to consider how guests feel, travel conditions, and how unpredictable the weather is. According to Sugar Hollow Retreat, June is the sweet spot for an outdoor wedding. April and May bring rain showers, and July and August see high humidity. Other months in many climates are just too cold. You can't predict the weather. If a particular season suits your personality or the unique area you live in, then go with it. It's your day. Keep in mind that some months are riskier, and early summer tends to lighten that risk.

What's the vibe?

Before you design an invitation and send out details, decide what kind of mood you want to set for the wedding. Romantic? Super casual or formal? Using your backyard gives you a lot of options. According to The Osprey's at Belmont Bay, there are three types of formalities for a wedding: formal, semi-formal, and casual. Formal is a black-tie event with plated food and elegant decor. Semi-formal is similar to a cocktail hour with a traditional setting but less pomp and circumstance. Casual is laid-back, low-key decor, and often, buffet-style food. 

The options are endless. You and your partner must decide for yourselves what suits you best. Remember, the event is taking place in your backyard. That can both limit and increase your possibilities. There may not be room for formal tables and chairs but space for a fire pit and s'more station. Think of all the ways you can make the yard work for you. When it comes to your wedding vibe, let it reflect who you are as a couple.

Afternoon or an evening under the stars?

You and your soon-to-be Mr. or Mrs. Dreamy should envision a day or evening gathering and choose what's best for you. Depending on the choice, you can give guests suggestions on attire to help them dress comfortably for the temperature. Consider the season when deciding. It's okay to ask friends and family to bundle up on a chilly day but asking them to sit outside when you know it'll be below zero in the evening is a bit much.

Daytime ceremonies and receptions in the backyard are perfect for a wedding with some activities, such as badminton or a pool party. A time before dusk is ideal if there's an ordinance in the neighborhood about music. Weddings at sunset and after are the perfect backdrop for those with a romantic vision. Can't decide? Wedding Ideas Magazine suggests choosing a time of day that holds sentimental value to you. Maybe a first date, or the time of day the proposal happened? That's a romantic thought and a great way to decide when you can't make up your mind.

Come one, come all

It's your backyard wedding, so you can do whatever you want. Thrill your fur-baby-loving guests by allowing them to bring their dogs. Mention on the invitation that all are welcome — including Fido. There are some things to take care of if you're a pet-loving couple that wants to invite everyone, including furry friends.

Make it known on the invitation that the wedding is pet-friendly, so those with allergies are aware. Remember that not all dogs are well-trained (like yours) and might try to snatch food and drinks. Plan on keeping those things out of reach. Do you and your significant other have a good sense of humor? You'll need it if one dog begins a barking chorus that spreads to the others. If you're good at laughing things off and don't expect perfection, it can make the ceremony fun or stressful if you find it annoying. According to Rustic Wedding Chic, you must inform your photographer that they will be working around dogs. Be prepared for cancellations if they aren't comfortable with the idea.

Rent the necessities

You're probably trying to save money because you're wise like that. Still, you will need to purchase some things for the big day when getting married in your backyard. Collect what you can from friends and the occasional shopping trip and make a list of items to rent. Some items are obvious, such as a tent if you'd like a cover for the ceremony and reception. According to WeddingWire, there are a few other things to take note of that you may need to rent. 

They suggest renting the tables and chairs and don't forget what types of tables are needed. It's not just the guests. Musicians need an area to set instruments, the gifts need a place to land, and you may also need tables for wedding favors and dessert. Plan on dancing the night away? The backyard needs a smooth, even spot, so renting a dance floor is the best solution. Almost anything is rentable. You should know what you want to purchase, borrow, or rent for the day.

Design a backdrop

It's time for you to shine, and you only get to do this once (hopefully), so go all out on a stunning backdrop where you lovebirds will exchange vows. According to efavormart, a backdrop is a quintessential element at a wedding because it calls attention to the entire event's decor, highlighting whether you've chosen traditional, modern, or any other style. Start with your theme or mood-setting in mind and let your imagination run wild. You can decorate with balloons, flowers, or lush greenery. Feel free to draw inspiration from the best outdoor decor trends.

The best benefit of a backyard wedding is that some yards are already the perfect backdrop. Even a small, suburban yard might have a little corner of just the correct number of flowering bushes to exchange vows. If you can't seem to find that sweet spot, creating a backdrop will take care of it. 

Look up at the trees, for starters. Branches are a great place to hang some breezy fabric and flowers as a backdrop. Is one of you in the relationship the handy one? Build a wooden trellis or arch that can turn into a garden swing. It's a romantic notion that can stay with you and forever remind you of your special day. You can rent backdrops as well.

Prepare the necessary amenities

If using a backyard, there is probably a home involved. Does the house have the necessary amenities? Parking is one of those necessities. A driveway can only hold so many cars. Call the city if you aren't sure how much street parking is allowed or if you can park on both sides. In the worst-case scenario, you may have to let the lawn hold some of the cars. Hopefully, guests who know each other will carpool. You can suggest this on the invitation. Uber and public transportation are good options if you're in the city. 

The second thing not to overlook is the restrooms. The guests will need them, and one home may not be able to handle it all. No one wants to deal with clogged toilets on their wedding day, and guests don't want to wait in long lines after enjoying drinks from the open bar. According to Wayfaring Weddings, plan on one restroom per 50 guests. Also, the wedding party may take time in the restroom. If there are more than 50 people, porta potties are the way to go.

Light up the night with twinkle lights

Even at an afternoon wedding, the sun will eventually set, and you and your partner need to prepare the yard so everyone can see their drinks and one another's impressive dance moves. The romance can really shine in the evening with the correct lighting. Decorate outdoor trees with lights or your deck and patio. Candles shed a soft light and create an ambiance that exudes sophistication. You can place them along railings and on the tables or set them on props to line the aisle. Opt for LED candles or if using real ones, make sure every candle is in a heat-safe container, protected from the wind and from being knocked over. 

According to Smart Candle, the LED technology in fake candles means they won't overheat, they're fire safe, and no one will get accidentally burned. Thankfully, they also look realistic as they glow and flicker against the night sky. If you aren't into doing the lighting yourself, check for lighting companies in your area that you can hire to light up your evening wedding.

Install an outdoor sound system

Have you ever been to a wedding without music? Talk about awkward silence. Music helps get people in the mood and makes it easier to have conversations without feeling like everyone can hear you. Plus, the walk down the aisle deserves a soundtrack. If your backyard doesn't already have one, you can install a sound system before the big event or hire a band or DJ if the area allows it. If you don't have the time or money for a new system or DJ, find the right place to set your best Bluetooth speaker. As long as it's a decent one, the sound carries well. The only way to know is to test it out before the wedding. 

If you're using your own speaker or speakers, create a playlist. It may sound overwhelming, but compiling a list of songs for your reception and wedding is fun. Once you get started, the music will start coming to your mind. Kennedy Blue suggests using four methods to help get your wedding music juices flowing. Create the list with your fiancé, ask for requests from guests (add this to your wedding blog or the invite), have some friends over for a playlist creation party, and use platforms like Spotify to make a collaborative list with guests. 

Alert your neighbors

If the backyard wedding is in a neighborhood, it's best to give your neighbors a head's up. You don't need the guy next door mowing his lawn while you yell, "I do!" Neighbors are usually understanding and will find it heartwarming that you're throwing an intimate wedding in your backyard. They'll appreciate the head's up so they can avoid accidentally interrupting your nuptials. 

Spend a Saturday morning about one month before the wedding going to your closest neighbors and giving them the wedding details, including the date and time. Make it clear that you aren't expecting stealth mode from your neighbors, just a little patience during the time set for the ceremony. After that, they can carry on with life as usual. Wayfaring Weddings suggests if you can't get to them in person, it's okay to email, make a phone call, or write a note. About one week beforehand, give another reminder since a few weeks will have passed. 

Show off your BBQ skills

When you're a guest at a wedding, the delicious food is one of the best parts. Take advantage of the opportunity to save money and plan a casual BBQ using your trusty grill for your backyard wedding reception. If you don't want to do the grilling yourself, you could ask a few friends to help you with the cooking.

For a casual wedding, Affordable Wedding Venues and Menus suggests serving the best food you can afford in your budget. What matters is you feed your guests. If BBQ ribs are too expensive, serve burgers instead. Of course, there's always the catering option for a backyard wedding if you don't want to deal with the food. It's essential to pay attention to the time of day and how people dress. Don't serve food dripping in BBQ sauce for your black-tie affair or a quiche-style brunch for an evening wedding.

Design an outdoor photo booth

Many wedding venues provide the couple with a photographer (for a price, of course). You won't have that option, and there's no need to run out and hire a photographer (though you can and still enjoy a photo booth). With the natural backdrop of a backyard, you can easily design a fun photo booth so your guests can create goofy pics for your wedding scrapbook. 

Since everything is taking place in the backyard, look for an area that needs little work to look good or a spot where you can set some things up. You don't need a lot. A stack of hay bales is a good start and add from there. Sheets, hanging tinsel, and even old art or photo frames all work well to serve as a backdrop. Take advantage of the trees and hang items from above. Collect fun props, such as sunglasses and mustaches, for everyone. Make sure there is good lighting. According to A Practical Wedding, you should bring in as much light as possible. Make the area bright by plugging in lamps if necessary. Since everyone has phones, you don't need to set up a camera. You can make a cute sign that says, "selfie station," and your guests will take the hint. However, if you want professional-looking pics, set up a camera with a tripod and remote.

Walk the yard and see what needs improving

Your backyard may not have the perfect design for a wedding, but with some imagination and creativity, you can transform it into the venue of your dreams. Grab your future spouse's hand and take a stroll around the yard. Scour every area that will be involved in the entire event. According to Rock Water Farm and Landscapes & Hardscapes, it's important to remember that wedding photos memorialize the day, including any landscaping you see in those photos. It's easy to focus on where you'll exchange vows, but remember, people will take pictures from all angles.

You don't want to dig everything up and start from scratch. That only creates stress, and no one needs that. Look at what you can freshen up, including removing weeds or laying down fresh mulch. Pot some flowers and place them all around if it's the right season. If you don't use a lawn service, consider hiring someone before the wedding to get the yard in the best shape possible.

Have a backup plan

After months of planning, it's disappointing to change everything due to weather or other catastrophes. Unfortunately, Mother Nature is out of your control. A backup plan gives you peace of mind. According to The Gardens of Cranesbury View, rain on a wedding day signifies fertility, the cleansing of tough times and sadness, unity, a fresh new chapter, and the last tears a bride will cry. That's hopelessly romantic, and you may want to start wishing for rain. Still, your guests probably aren't as romantic as you, so include a backup plan in your wedding to-do list.

The obvious option is the house to which the backyard belongs. Another possibility is a nearby venue you can switch to if you know bad weather is coming. You must keep your sense of humor and remain flexible with a backyard wedding. Changing the date last minute may be your only option if severe weather strikes and you have no other choice.