Wedivite’s backyard wedding planning checklist is all you need to get started on planning your dream wedding in the comfort of your own backyard.
Think of the romance; twinkling lights, floral archways, and a breath of fresh air in your own private venue. Your closest friends and family will be there to gather for an intimate wedding and celebrate your marriage.
Plan the intimate backyard wedding event of the season with this checklist for planning your backyard wedding. Here’s what to do:
Choose a Date & Consider Landscaping For the Season
First, choose a wedding date! The options are endless when planning a wedding in your own backyard. One of the perks of a backyard wedding is that the venue is open whenever you want it. 🙂 So choose a date, and then get to work! Consider what your backyard will look like in the season you choose for your wedding. Plan ahead and plant whatever flowers, trees, or shrubs you need to get your backyard looking like a dream wedding venue by the time the Big Day rolls around.
Calculate The Guest List Carefully
Unless your backyard is abnormally large, there’s going to be a limit on how many guests you can host. How many guests can your backyard reasonably accommodate? Make sure that an intimate guest list is included in your backyard wedding planning checklist. You may have to edit the guest list and cut a few people from it a few times before sending out the invitations. It’s a difficult process, but it’s better than having an overcrowded wedding. Plan out the space beforehand, and see how many tables and chairs you can realistically fit in your backyard. Be careful to not overcrowd the reception space. After all, your guests need room to dance! If your dream is to have a more intimate wedding, a backyard wedding is the way to go.
Save The Date With Wedivite Digital Wedding Invitations
After the wedding date is chosen and the guest list is complete, send out your free digital wedding invitations. You’ll save time & money, and your guests will be so impressed by your environmentally-friendly wedding.
Make Sure The Backyard Is Flat Enough For Tables, Chairs, And A Dance Floor
Another important step is to determine how to make your backyard suitable for your wedding event. Make sure that the ground is level enough for the wedding aisle and for guests to be seated during the ceremony. For the reception, make sure that there is enough flat ground space for tables, chairs, and a dance floor. Set up lawn games if there’s extra room. Your guests will love playing giant Jenga or corn hole as a fun wedding reception idea.
Formulate A Parking Plan
Another major decision point is where to put all the guest’s cars. Don’t wait until the day of the wedding to determine what guests will do about parking. Is there ample parking near the front yard? Perhaps guests can park on the street? Will your neighbors offer extra room in their driveways for the day? Can you hire a valet service? Get creative with solutions. If a valet service is just out of the budget, can you hire a little brother or newly licensed cousin, niece, or nephew and their friends to park guests’ cars for them? Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Backyard Wedding Planning Checklist: Designate Space For Your Guests’ Needs
Of course, there’s a limited amount of space to work with for backyard wedding planning. Consider what you’ll need for the outdoor space; tables, chairs, gift and cake tables, lighting, party tents, a generator, and portable restrooms. Make room and plan out the space before your outdoor party rental supplies are delivered. Also, you definitely need to rent portable restrooms. A good rule of thumb is that weddings with over 20 guests need a portable restroom. Your home’s septic system won’t be able to keep up with too many guests. (And they will have a very long line for the bathroom!)
Backyard Wedding Checklist: Prepare For Nature
Speaking of your guests’ needs; prepare for nature. Stock up on guest-size sunscreen, bug spray, or umbrellas for your wedding guests from Amazon. If your wedding day will be a hot one, an excellent idea that could double as a ‘Thank You For Coming’ gift is a portable, hand-held fan. Think of your guests’ needs when it comes to choosing wedding favors. Perhaps a pair of customized wedding day sunglasses would be a major hit for your friends and family to take home!
Backyard Wedding Planning Checklist: Rent What You Need Early
Speaking of tables, chairs, and other outdoor party supplies, rent what you need early! Of course, there are several options for purchasing these items. But if you want to save money, it may be more cost effective to rent a reception tent, chairs, tables, and portable restrooms. Check with local rental companies early on to ensure that you will have what you need on the wedding date you’ve chosen.
Invite Wedding Vendors To Come See The Backyard Before The Day Of The Wedding
If you choose to hire a caterer as part of your backyard wedding, invite them over beforehand so they can see what they’re working with. Will they prepare the food in your personal kitchen? Or do they have a food truck or tents to work in? Invite the caterer before the wedding day, and make sure they have what equipment or power sources they need to cater your wedding.
On the same note, if you plan to hire a DJ or band for your backyard wedding, invite them over to see the property before the wedding day. See how much space they will require to perform and if they need power sources. It’s much easier to sort this out before the day of the wedding!
Backyard Wedding Planning Checklist: Apply For Local Permits
While interviewing potential vendors, ask if they apply for local permits, if applicable. Depending on your location, there may be local ordinances to be aware of as part of your backyard wedding planning checklist. Your Wedding At Home states that there may be tent permits needed, showing exits and the floor plan inside of the tent in case of a fire. Check local ordinances to see if this applies to your wedding event.
Work With The Lighting For Your Backyard Wedding
Timing is everything when it comes to outdoor weddings. For backyard weddings especially, it’s necessary to work with the light. Plan your ceremony for golden hour; your photographer will thank you!
Avoid having the ceremony during the hottest part of the day. Set up the guests’ chairs in the shade, if possible. And make sure they won’t face the sun during the ceremony. Rent air conditioners to keep guests cool in the summer, or space heaters if your event will be chilly.
In the evening, light up the night with lanterns and candles. Set the mood for a night of romance under the stars with lanterns hung from trees. Grace the tabletops with candles and white linens to set with the natural scenery.
Ensure your guests have a lit walkway, and rent lighting for inside the reception tent, the portable restrooms, or for the dance floor.
Backyard Wedding Planning Checklist: Clean Up Time
Another item of importance often overlooked when planning a backyard wedding is the trash service. No matter how many guests your wedding will have, there’s bound to be more garbage than what your weekly pickup service is willing to get. Rent a dumpster. Plan beforehand and designate a place for the dumpster along the side of the house, or wherever else it will be out of sight (and smell!).
Alternatively, if you plan to hire a caterer, ask them before booking if they take care of the trash service. This may be included in their service fee. If they don’t, be sure to place plenty of trash cans around the backyard for guests to use. Decorate them or choose something neutral so they don’t stand out and aren’t too noticeable. As a final note, choose trash cans with lids so they don’t smell. And if you have a friend or family member willing to help out on the night of the wedding, designate someone to take out the garbage cans before they get too full. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Be A Good Neighbor
Before your backyard wedding, let your neighbors know that you will be hosting an event. And if you want to really go the extra mile, invite them!
Another factor to consider is that there might be a noise ordinance in your neighborhood. If you plan on partying late into the night with blasting music, your neighbors are a lot less likely to complain if they are part of the party. 🙂
Have A Backup Plan For Your Backyard Wedding
Have a backup plan. In the event of rain, where will the guests go? Is there enough room in the house to host all of the wedding guests? Consider a tented reception, with tented sides, to provide shelter from the hot sun or to stay dry in the case that it rains on your wedding day.
Get Wedding Insurance Just In Case
Wedding insurance is a good idea to purchase just in case something unexpected comes up. The Wedding Protector Plan by Travelers Insurance is an option to insure your at-home wedding.
The Backyard Wedding Planning Checklist By Wedivite
If you want to know what it was like from a real bride to DIY her own backyard wedding, read Marie and Ben’s story here!
And lastly, for any backyard wedding skeptics out there, Father Of The Bride is an excellent wedding movie that’s definitely worth binge-watching! Enjoy this scene & watch Steve Martin as George Banks pull a plan together for his daughter’s backyard wedding.