How to Get Married in Your Backyard
Does getting married in your backyard sound like a fun alternative to a traditional wedding? Can you envision all your family and friends congregating at your house to celebrate your big day? Does seeing your dog at the end of the aisle bring a smile to your face?
If so, a backyard wedding might be for you!
Couples are turning to backyard weddings as a way to keep their wedding on schedule and bring their friends and family together during the pandemic, and we couldn’t agree more that backyard weddings are a fun, unique alternative to traditional weddings.
From decorating your yard to saying, “I do” in a spot that might have sentimental value to you, backyard weddings are an amazing way to get married. And they’re Covid friendly.
Hosting an event as meaningful as your wedding at home takes careful, upfront planning, and there are many considerations and ideas to think about when making decisions for your backyard wedding.
Lucky for you, we have researched how to have a backyard wedding and are ready to spill the beans.
Here’s how to plan a wedding at home and have a killer backyard wedding.
Planning a Backyard Wedding Ceremony
Having a wedding in the backyard sounds simple, but there are many things you need to consider while planning your backyard bash. Here are some ideas to get you thinking.
Like most weddings, the first thing you need to determine is, whose backyard will you use? In order to identify the right space, you’ll need to consider if your backyard is big enough to accommodate your preferred number of wedding guests. Is there rain coverage or will you need indoor space in case of bad weather? Where will guests park their cars? If your home and backyard are equipped for your event, great!
If not, you will have to come up with other ideas. You could ask your parents, a friend or even find a rental on VRBO or other sharing service that would accommodate you and your wedding guests.
Before you ask a friend or family member to host your backyard wedding ceremony, make sure this is the best option. Planning and hosting a wedding is not a small task, and you don’t want to strain your relationship with your loved ones by hosting a wedding at their home if it’s not the perfect fit.
A backyard wedding requires more than the typical vendors involved in making a wedding happen. Your home and yard are becoming your wedding venue, and with this comes involvement with additional vendors to make your big day run as smoothly as possible.
Rent a Tent
Having a wedding ceremony in your backyard exposes you to the elements, so you will need a way to protect you and your guests from the weather. Renting a tent provides an outdoor shelter to do just that. The size will depend on the number of guests you have and what you plan to store under the tent like food and a dance floor, so work with the tent rental company to determine what will work best for you.
Music & Dancing
Speaking of dance floors, you will need to create your own for your backyard wedding. You could dance in the grass, on a patio you already have or rent a portable dance floor. A portable dance floor provides a hard, even surface for your guests to dance the night away and helps keep them safe while they Electric Slide and Dougie all night.
You also need to consider your music setup. Will you hire a DJ or band? Or will you use your own playlist?
If you hire professionals, they might have their own speakers and technology setup they can use. However, if you are using your own playlist, you will need your own speaker and technology setup that can play your music loud enough for everyone to hear.
Hosting a wedding at your home creates another problem that needs solved. Where will everyone go to the bathroom?
Depending on the size of your home, your bathrooms might not be enough to handle 150 people coming in and out all night. You also probably don’t want people going in and out of your house if they don’t have to.
That’s where renting portable bathrooms can help.
When most people hear portable bathrooms, they think of the nasty ones at the local park. That doesn’t have to be the case for your wedding.
There are plenty of nice and sometimes even luxurious portable bathroom rentals that will accommodate your guests during your wedding.
Food & Catering
There are many options for food when you get married in your backyard. You could prepare your own food, hire a caterer or even hire a food truck to park on your street for the duration of your wedding.
If you use a caterer, they could bring prepared food to serve at your wedding, or you could find a company that will cook fresh food in your kitchen. If you choose the second option, the caterer will likely want to check your kitchen to make sure it is big enough and has the necessary items to make cooking easy for them. Otherwise, they will have to bring their own setup which will cost extra.
Food trucks are all the rage right now, and if you have a favorite hometown food truck, you could ask them if they do events and if they would be willing to prepare and serve food at your wedding. Some food trucks don’t do events, but will happily prepare enough food for you to cater at your wedding.
Table, Chairs & Dinnerware
Creating your own wedding venue means you need to provide your own tables, chairs, dinnerware and centerpieces. Find a rental company that provides reasonable prices and decide if you want to enlist them for setup and take down too.
Hiring a professional cleaning crew could be a good investment. Cleaning your home takes time, and you will have a ton of things going on leading up to your big day, so hiring a professional cleaning crew could save you the time and stress involved with cleaning your home, both before and after your wedding.
Additional Considerations and Backyard Wedding Ideas
Turning your home into a venue and hosting a wedding in your backyard requires additional considerations you wouldn’t have to consider if you were having a traditional wedding. Here’s what else you should consider when planning a wedding ceremony at home.
If you are planning to get married in your backyard, make sure you have a plan for inclement weather. Depending on the size of your wedding, a good tent might provide enough coverage in case of bad weather, but if not, then you need an alternative. This could be your home if it is big enough, or you could have a backup venue booked just-in-case.
Where will all your guests park when they arrive for your wedding? Talk with your neighbors and see if they might allow your guests to park in their driveway or on the street outside their house. You could also plan to have guests park at a local church or other facility and hire a shuttle bus to take them to and from your home. Since your home is the venue, deciding on a parking situation is going to land on your shoulders and is something you need to consider when planning your wedding.
Neighbors & the City
Speaking of your neighbors, you might want to inform them that you will be hosting a big event at your home. With music, dancing and a large group of people, your party could get pretty noisy. Letting your neighbors know ahead of time is courteous and will hopefully keep them from complaining about the noise.
If your city has noise ordinances or any permitting requirements for large gatherings, you will need to know this too. Go to your city or county’s website and see if they offer any information, so you can have your wedding without any visits from local officials.
Backyard Wedding Livestream
Will there be a livestreaming component to your wedding? In our post on virtual weddings we talk about how to have a virtual wedding and what you need to consider when making Zoom a part of your wedding. If you want to have a backyard Zoom wedding with virtual guests, check out that post for ideas on how to add a virtual component to your big day.
Preparing the Outdoor Space
Allow for plenty of time to prepare the outdoor space for your wedding reception and ceremony. Making your backyard look pretty and presentable might be more than a weekend project, so don’t wait until the last minute to start picking up leaves and trimming the trees. If you don’t feel like landscaping, you can always hire a professional. And don’t forget to add some ever so popular string lights to bring your backyard to life!
Will There be a Theme?
Do you and your partner love Halloween? Are you asking for Honeyfund gifts for your honeymoon to Hawaii? Do you have a Harry Potter obsession?
Adding a theme to your backyard wedding could be a great way to add you and your partner’s personal charm to your big day. Your home already has your character in it, so adding a theme to your wedding could be another way to add a unique twist to your wedding.
Communicate with Your Guests
Good communication with your guests goes a long way towards having a smooth wedding day, and a backyard wedding is no exception.
Letting them know where to park, what to bring (i.e. rain jackets) and expectations for people entering or not entering your home will help your guests understand what you want from them during your wedding.
Also, make sure you are clear that no one will be staying at your home, unless you want that to happen. You don’t want cousin Terry staying at your home because she was under the impression that family was invited to stay there when that was not the case. Blocking off rooms at a local hotel will keep this from happening and help your guests find reasonable accommodations for your wedding.
Check Your Homeowner’s Insurance
Finally, since you will be hosting a large group of people at your home, check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see what it says about property damages and personal injury damages. The last thing you want is to be liable for someone else’s actions on your property while trying to have fun at your wedding.
Are Backyard Weddings Covid-Friendly?
Backyard weddings can be COVID-friendly, if you make it that way. Getting married outside is more COVID-friendly than being inside and limiting the number of guests will also reduce the risk of people being exposed to the disease. Requiring people to wear masks and providing plenty of hand sanitizer will also make your wedding more COVID-friendly.
One major thing to consider is the restrictions on large gatherings in your city or state. If your state is limiting gatherings to 10 people or less and you invite 100 people to your wedding, you might have a visit from local officials asking you to break up your party. This is the last thing you want on your wedding day, so absolutely check your state’s guidelines before planning a large gathering in your backyard.
How Expensive are Backyard Weddings?
The cost of backyard weddings varies from couple to couple. Some couples enjoy DIYing everything while others prefer to hire vendors to handle everything for them. Even though you are saving money on your venue, that doesn’t necessarily mean your backyard wedding will be cheap.
You will also want to consider the trade-offs of having a backyard wedding. If you have to DIY everything on your own that could create more stress and take up more time than paying extra for a venue. It’s up to you to decide if that trade-off is worth it.
We did our research and found backyard weddings ranging from a few thousand dollars up to $10,000. Here are some articles that will give you some backyard wedding ideas and show you the spending breakdowns of couples who had a $4,000 wedding and $10,000 wedding in their backyard.
Backyard vs. Traditional Wedding
There are opportunities and trade-offs to having a backyard wedding instead of a traditional wedding.
On the upside, having an at-home wedding saves you the cost from having to book a traditional venue and lets you have your ceremony in a place that has sentimental value to you.
You can also have more freedom to design, decorate and add unique twists to every aspect of your wedding. If you are a prominent DIYer, a backyard wedding could be perfect for you. Even if you don’t like to DIY everything, you could hire a wedding planner to help bring your backyard wedding ideas to life.
On the downside, you might have more coordination to handle because your home is your venue. Parking becomes your detail to plan and clean-up and setup are on you instead of the venue.
When considering a backyard wedding, consider these trade-offs before making your final decision.
Your Backyard Bash
Getting married in your backyard is a fun, unique alternative to a traditional wedding. Your home turns into your venue and it has the potential to be a wedding your friends and family talk about forever. If you are looking to curb the traditional wedding and plan a fun alternative, a backyard wedding could be exactly what you are looking for.