There’s something so welcoming about a backyard wedding. For some, the idea of inviting friends and family for such a significant occasion is made all the better by hosting it on one’s property. The memories made at one’s private home or that of a close family member are invaluable.
However, there’s a common misconception that backyard weddings are easier to host than renting a venue space. We asked wedding pros to chime in on the pros and cons of backyard weddings, along with some often overlooked considerations for planning.
1. The Freedom
“You can customize your wedding and make it personal since it’s your home,” expresses Heather Rouffe of Atlas Event Rental. “It’s a blank canvas where you can use the natural elements to create the look. You don’t have to go far and can get ready in your home.”
Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events agrees, stating: “One of the greatest pros of having a wedding in your own backyard is that you have complete control over everything. You can create what you want, design how you please, bring in what you want, and you have access to your ‘venue’ at all times. So, you can take your time making it how you want it to be. If you’ve been wanting to make changes to your backyard, this gives you an opportunity to do it with purpose.”
2. The Cost
“It is a common misconception that, because you are not paying for a venue or a food and beverage minimum, you will save money,” explains Laura Maddox of Magnolia Celebrates. “However, keep in mind that even off-premise caterers have F&B minimums and you’ll need a rain plan that will inevitable involve a tent that will cost just as much if not more than a venue. Then, add on the need for extra bathrooms, power, lighting, etc. and you spend quite a bit more.”
3. The Space
Oleta Collins of Flourishing Art says: “Remember guest count. Each chair requires two feet per person at minimum. At this, people feel cramped. Please allow six to eight feet between tables. Try and do a Google Earth map of your backyard and pencil in what you are thinking if you have a hard time. If you have a large guest count, you can bypass a formal dinner and just do heavy appetizers and a small ceremony area.”
This includes parking, too, which Shannon Tarrant of WeddingVenueMap.com reminds: “If you are inviting 100 people to your backyard wedding, that usually means at least 50 cars will need to be parked. Do you have the space? Is there a parking lot close by that you can contract? How far will your guests have to walk?”
4. The Logistics
“There are many things that couples overlook when planning a wedding in their own backyard,” shares Chang. “In some places, you need to get a permit so you’ll need to research that. You also need to think about noise and how to control that, since you’re in a residential neighborhood. Power is also a concern and you’ll need to figure out what you and can’t handle, and whether a generator is needed. Also, since you own the ‘venue,’ cleanup is all on you so you’ll want to make sure you plan for that and have a team to help with cleanup and trash removal.”
Tarrant adds: “Ask yourself, does the home have city water or well water with a septic tank? If the home has city water, it can handle the amount of flushing that comes from a large group of guests. But you still have to consider if you want 100 people coming in and out all night long. I’ve seen damage to carpets and floors, broken items, spillage, and even stolen items. If the home is on septic, it cannot handle the high volume of usage over a short period of time.’
“You will also need extra lawn care both before and after the event to clean up anything that was destroyed in the production of the event,” says Maddox.
5. The Little Things
“Don’t forget to remember the bussing of tables,” reminds Collins. “No one wants photos of their wedding with dirty dishes in their photos. Will they have trash cans to handle the guest count and will the waste company be able to remove all the waste in a timely manner? A regular garbage company will charge for additional cans, but it will be worth it. Or, have a temporary dumpster for the wedding. If you are going green, have an extra green waste can delivered for the week of the event.”
“You really need to get down to the nitty gritty of what is needed as you need to ensure everything is brought in — proper staff, etc.,” states Rouffe. “It’s a lot of details that most people are not used to in comparison to when they have an event at a venue.”
For many, the freedom and control of a backyard wedding are well worth the effort, but all of our wedding pros shared the same sentiment about planning: Don’t do it alone!
There is a lot to manage when planning a backyard wedding and it’s far from impossible, but having a planner to support you along the way is the key to success. Not only will they help with logistics leading up to the wedding, but they’ll ensure you don’t have to lift a finger on the big day — especially after all of the heavy lifting you’ve done.