*Clicks heels together* “There’s no place like home!”
Amidst all of the COVID-19 madness, couples have been trying to find safe yet adequate ways to still partake in their big day. A backyard wedding is a simple, safe, and affordable way to still throw your big bash! Whether it is at your childhood home or your grandparent’s lakehouse, backyard weddings can be amazing. However, with these benefits come a few extra planning details you should take into consideration, such as, your backyard isn’t actually a wedding venue (yet).
Backyard Wedding Benefits
You Can Save Money
Wedding venues can be one of the most expensive items on your budget list, but that fee, essentially, gets slashed when you have a backyard wedding. You don’t have to worry about deposits, headcount fees, or any hidden charges that you will inevitably get hit with. The decor is another money-saving factor. You will already have natural elements that you can do whatever you want with. You will still have to rent everything else you need, but the combined cost of those rentals will still be less than that of what you paid for an entire venue.
Reserving a venue fr a specific day you want can be a pain. This problem becomes obsolete when planning a backyard wedding. You have the freedom to choose whatever date works for you and your guests.
Small Guest List
Backyard weddings, by nature, tend to be smaller and more intimate than at a real venue. Along with COVID-19 restrictions and actual space restrictions, these are all perfect reasons to have a smaller guest list. If you have a large family or a lot of friends and are worried about what they may think of your decision for a smaller wedding, gently remind them that space is a restriction beyond your control.
Fur Friends Welcome
All of your fur babies can be included in your big day no problem! You won’t need to approve it with a venue, pay a fee or worry about loading up your pets and their belongings for travelling to a venue. They can go right back inside to their familiar home when they are ready.
What could be better than marrying the love of your life where you played as a child or getting dressed in your childhood room? You are in the literal most comfortable space you could possibly be in. The nostalgia of a backyard wedding is one that can not be recreated at another venue and is wildly underrated.
Backyard Wedding Logistics
Setup and Maintenance
Plan in advance for maintenance to be done to your yard to give flowers time to bloom, plants time to get fuller, and space to be cleared. Hiring a landscaper may even be a good idea to check one less thing off your to-do list.
In addition, you must check that the ground is level for chairs, tables, and a dance floor. If you plan on renting a tent for the reception, ensure that the professionals assembling it check and let you know ahead of time if they need to lay a foundation down so everything is level. Landscapers can also check this.
All of the factors needed to plan your wedding will demand far more power than most homes can handle. So you don’t blow a fuse or put the neighborhood in an unfortunate state of darkness, you should rent generators to accommodate the extra power needed for lighting, sound, and food prep. You can ask your generator rental company or a wedding planner (if you hired one) for assistance in choosing the right power sources.
If your guest list exceeds more than 20 people, you will need additional facilities to keep up with the demand. When you think “portable toilet”, you think of some small, green, unsanitary box that stinks, but there are plenty of upscale options out there. You can rent a toilet trailer that includes lighting, sinks, mirrors, and more space. We recommend adding small toiletries such as breath mints, hand sanitizer (because COVID duh), safety pins, bandages, etc. This adds a little personal touch to your rest area that your guests will be thankful for, we assure you.
This will save you the headache of tons of people walking through your house and making a mess of it.
Insurance and Permits
You don’t want to think of anything bad happening on your wedding day, but it is imperative that you are prepared in the event something does happen. We recommend you contact your homeowner’s insurance company for coverage details. You should also check with your vendors and see what insurance they carry for things such as bartenders.
Also, before you book any vendors, you should check with your city officials to find out whether or not a permit is required to host a large party at your home. There could be fire codes, noise ordinances, zoning issues, or health department regulations you must adhere to.
It’s important to notify your neighbors well ahead of time of your wedding plans. We recommend maybe a month or two in advance for them to get their affairs in order. You should give them as much details as possible, such as when your ceremony starts for extra quiet time and where your guests intend to park (some neighbors may even be willing to let you park in their driveway if you’re close enough).
Something to consider, you can also give them a small gift or favor as a token of your appreciation for their patience. This little gesture can go a long way to some.
You need to have a plan in place for parking. You can check with your city officials on this as well. Some neighborhoods or communities have specific times where street parking is not allowed. If this is the case for your community, you could consider hiring a valet if you don’t have enough space to park the cars at a nearby lot. Be sure to tell your guests of this ahead of time so that they know not to leave any valuables in their car that you could be held responsible for.
Potentially one of the most important factors to consider, a large group of 20 or more people can produce a lot of trash over the course of one day. You will need to rent plenty of trash and recycling bins and your caterer may even take care of emptying them throughout the day if you ask.
A backup plan should always be considered when planning a backyard wedding because the weather is unpredictable. If your house is large enough, you can just move the party indoors, but if it is not or you would rather stay outside, rent a tent! We recommend renting a tent as an insurance policy anyway. Make sure to have fans or heaters in the event that it is super hot or super cold as well to keep you and your guests comfortable.
Having a backyard wedding gives you the freedom to plan and choose just about anything you want for your decor, including your color scheme. There are no restrictions from a hired venue. You can draw ideas from your flower beds or trees for a more natural look or spice things up with pops of color shown through your bridesmaid’s dresses, linens, flowers, or any other accent decor.
Arguably, the most important part of the day is the ceremony. It’s why everyone is there! Once you have decided on the best location in your backyard for the ceremony, you will need to set the scene with an archway or backdrop. Arches and backdrops are ideal for your videographers and photographers because they create a focal point and dimensions. And trust us when we say aisle markers? Add them! They are beautiful in pictures and videos and don’t add too much mess.
The answer to whether you should have a cocktail hour or not is always YES! This is a perfect time for your guests to unwind and mingle in a more casual way. It’s a good transitional period from ceremony mode to party mode! Also, if you plan on taking pictures after the ceremony, this is a good way to keep your guests entertained until you return.
We have already discussed the importance of a tent for weather mishaps or reception space. Tents allow for more decor to be used such as hanging floral arrangements or light fixtures as well. A tent is not necessarily the only ideal option, though. There is a certain elegance and romantic feel to dining under the stars. If you opt-out for a tent, you can hang florals or lights in the trees and use tall centerpieces on your tables. Without a tent, you have more space for tables and serving stations as well.
Speaking of lights, lighting is so important in creating ambiance and a certain mood for your wedding, especially for a backyard wedding where built-in light sources are not to your disposal. You can add some string or twinkle lights in the trees, lanterns with candles, chandeliers, or votives to create a very romantic vibe while ensuring you and your guests have enough light to celebrate safely.
Weather and Nature
We all want nice weather and no bugs for our backyard wedding, but as the Rolling Stones’ sang, you can’t always get what we want. However, with the right level of preparedness, you can come close to getting exactly what you want! We recommend you provide insect repellant for your guests and incorporate some citronella candles into your decor to keep the bugs away. You can provide blankets for the chilly guests and hand-held fans for the warm guests.
If you’re having your wedding during the day, we recommend providing sunscreen and sunglasses in case your guests forget their own. And if there is even a slight chance of rain (which there never is in Baton Rouge, but we digress), be sure to have umbrellas to hand out.
Below we have provided a checklist for rentals you will likely need for your backyard wedding:
- Ceremony Chairs
- Ceremony Decor
- Cocktail Tables
- Dinner Tables
- Trash and recycling bins
- Ceremony Backdrop
- Portable Restrooms
- Serving Tables
- Gifts Table
- Food Prep
- Storage Equipment
- Guest Book Table
- Photo Booth (which can be provided by your favorite local company Complete Weddings and Events)
- Dessert Table
- Overhead Decor
- Place Settings
- Dance Floor
- Table Decor
- Centerpiece Vases
Complete Wedding Experts in Baton Rouge
If you’re planning a wedding, you’ve come to the right place. At Complete Weddings + Events, our team of photographers, videographers, DJs, and event consultants specialize in wedding services to make your day a success and make sure you’re just worried about enjoying it. Contact us today to learn more about our wedding packages best for your special day! Complete Weddings + Events, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans’ leading provider of event and wedding photography, videography, lighting, coordination, DJ services, event rental & photo booth rental.