Yes this is more common than you might realize. It is not because you are throwing an epic rager. It is really because of noise ordinances, parking & neighbors. True story, the cops were called twice for Lauren’s wedding in the large blog post image above.
plan a backyard wedding that is over the top & memorable… (without cops)
There is something special about backyard weddings. You are dealing with the whole sweater weather vibes. It feels different compared to traditional wedding venues. Perhaps you are starting to consider a backyard as your location. It doesn’t have to be your backyard. It could be the backyard of a relative, a countryside property or AirBNB you rent.
How hard or simple is it to plan a wedding in a backyard? When you hire a wedding venue, they usually have every service included in the rental price. If you host it in the backyard, then you must rent everything. Including chairs, tables, hire a catering service, decorations & more. Follow our advice for easy backyard wedding planning.
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Before inviting guests & hiring a caterer, you need to tour the property first. This way you know what you are working with. Most wedding venues tend to be open spaces without columns or barriers. This is great for planning seating charts without restrictions. What do you do if your event is taking place in a residential space?
Weddings need different areas to happen:
– where do guests park
– a space to welcome guests
– lead them to their seats
– you need a ceremony space
– where will high-tops go for cocktail hour
– where to set up your reception
– where will caterers setup
– where will portable restrooms go
– where will the generator be setup
Keep in mind backyard weddings tend to be intimate & cozy
Request the owner to help you get measurements of the space to know exactly how many chairs and tables you can setup. This is crucial to know if it works for your plans so you can adjust accordingly. If you want a lavish and large wedding, maybe it is time to look into other options.
You need to see the available space for your catering service. Is it a large kitchen? Is the kitchen off-limits? If you are able to have a prep tent outdoors that is a plus. Bathrooms & parking are also important when organizing a backyard wedding. Consider renting air conditioned portable restrooms & a valet parking service.
the sooner you start submitting permit applications the better… permits take time
Now that you have a location confirmed it is time to head to your local authorities. Ask about the permits needed to host an event inside a private property. Investigate the ordinances and neighbors associations. Are there any noise curfews after certain hours? Where will your guests park?
This is a biggie, you need to have an open discussion with neighbors. If your neighborhood has an e-mail chain then tell them all at once. Give them a heads up of your start AND end times. Let them know to expect over flow of guest parking.
cool neighbors will offer their drive ways & property for guest parking
Take your community game to the next level by inviting your closest neighbors. Not only does it help you score points with them, but you are also ensuring they don’t call the cops on you. Even if they don’t attend your wedding they will be less likely to report you for noise complaints.
The existing décor of the backyard might dictate the style you choose. Perhaps you are dealing with a beautifully trimmed English garden or a rustic, vintage setting. The architecture of the house itself might also point you in the right direction.
use DIY rentals to decorate trees, barns, tents & event arches
When you have the guest list & theme ready, it is time to think about rentals. Most backyards may not have enough chairs & tables to fit a dozen plus guests. This is when you need to start considering rentals. In addition to tables & chairs, you will probably need tablecloths, cloth napkins, charger plates, crystalware & silverware.
Talk to your caterer first to know what is included with the price, sometimes they bring the serving plates & coffee service. You need to know the details about each plate needed for salad, soup, main dish, dessert & so on. The same goes with your bar service double-check it includes cups, straws, citrus garnish, mixers & ice.
Another commonly forgotten thing about throwing a party at a residential venue is the lighting. You need more than outdoor uplighting in your tent. You also need it for guest walking paths & catering tent for food prep. Check the needs they have in advance.
the biggest issue with outdoor events is a lack of power & lighting
You need power and lots of it! Your DJ needs power, the caterer might have a coffee station. Your string lighting will need to get plugged in. We recommend you hire a tent company that provides generators. This needs to be on the other side of the house to dampen the noise. We recommend a 200 amp service generator if you are expecting 200 guests.
Bonus Tips: Run dedicated 20-amp circuits to the (4) corners of your tent from the generator. Get a thick feeder cable (approximately 100′ long or less) to reduce the amount of voltage drop between the generator & tent. If you are having chandeliers installed in your tent put them on dimmer switches so they are not too bright during dancing.
The only thing you can expect for weather is the unexpected. Having a rain plan becomes extra important when organizing a backyard wedding:
– is the ground level
– does the grass get soggy
– is the tent setup on high ground
– are you installing a subfloor as a precaution
It is not only rain, but you could also have a windy or extra sunny day, and your guest might be uncomfortable. If you wish to have an outdoor ceremony, try to have your ceremony in a shaded area. Have small handheld paper fans available for guests to use.
Finally, you need to think about when to start prepping the space. Maintenance for a backyard might take a couple of months. You need to trim trees, plant gardens, lay mulch. You want to make sure the grass is not too high & that the clippings are cleaned up.
our contractor poured a concrete pad for our ceremony just (2) days before the wedding!
You don’t want to wait until the last minute to finish tasks. Just running extension cords to your tent can take a full day. The more you get done before the wedding the more you can relax. The same goes for the day after. Everyone will be too exhausted to cleanup. Hire a professional team to take care of it all.
tell us in the comments below if you have any questions about planning a backyard wedding
It is not that hard to plan a backyard wedding. As long as you know all the details that you need to take care of in the first place. We hope you are on your way to planning the wedding of your dreams. It is important to enjoy this process. Follow our advice & you will be so glad you planned a backyard wedding. Congratulations!