Preparing Your Home for a Backyard Wedding
Some of the most charming things about a backyard wedding are that the setting is sentimental, intimate, and nostalgic. There are usually outdoor summer memories associated with the backyard. That’s especially true if it’s at your family’s home where you’ve grown up, where you’ll grow your own family, or at a relative or close friend’s place. In this piece, we’ll cover the key items to plan for in order to throw the ultimate backyard wedding!
Book a Wedding Planner
Don’t let your familiarity with the setting fool you into believing you don’t need professionals! Hire a wedding consultant to get started on the right foot. From there, you can make the choice to book the wedding planning package that makes the most sense for the goals you set.
Meet With Vendors Early
Eight to 12 months from your wedding day, start meeting with wedding vendors. Namely, photographers and videographers, florists, bakers, musicians and/or DJs, caterers, and officiants. Photographers and videographers will be able to assist you with planning various spaces for getting ready, first look, and family photos. They’ll also advise on the sunrise and sunset times, and what kind of lighting is required to capture the key moments on your shot list.
Prepare Your Yard for Planting
Florists can work with you on arrangements that will pair well with your garden and landscape. Depending on the time of year and climate, this is a great time to plant that bed of tulips, get started on those potted plants, and plan what kinds of plants you’d like to place in your backyard to play with the lighting and to complement your wedding florals. Once you have an idea of how you want the backyard to look on the day of, work backward to determine the best time to plant bulbs, lay mulch, wrap up grass treatments, and for other yard maintenance. It’s a great idea to consult a local nursery, too. They’ll be able to offer an array of remedies for preparing your yard, keeping your dog(s) off the lawn in the weeks before the wedding, and more.
Think About Indoor Storage Space
It’s common to want to contribute with home-baked goods or catered meals at a backyard wedding. Start discussing with caterers and bakers what kind of space is required to produce the amount of food and desserts you’ll need to feed your guests. The professionals will know how to plan for the appropriate amount and type of storage space you’ll need for food and beverage. A big item that’s easy to forget is exactly how much ice you’ll need for the number of guests and hours of the whole wedding day. Depending on your beverage menus, food, and guest count, you might need over 150 pounds of ice. It’s best to have a professional take care of the storage and distribution rather than worry about how much room you have left in your freezer.
Prepare for All Weather
Inclement weather is possible anywhere in the world. While we hope for the best, we need to plan for the worst. Depending on your region, be aware of the season in which you intend to marry. Is it likely to be rainy? At what points during the day and evening will it be windy, and how windy?
Think about the intensity of the sun and which guests will need to retreat in the shade in the hotter months. In the context of your wedding theme or style, the answers to these questions will give you a sense of direction around what kinds of tents, umbrellas, and shelter you may need. At this point, having a wedding planner to guide you through the best solutions for your backyard setting is going to save you a lot of time and stress. It’s not as fun to have to plan the logistics of “Plan B,” so hire someone to do that kind of heavy lifting for you.
Notify Your Neighbors
Give your neighbors ample notice about your wedding day plans and adhere to your community’s quiet hours and noise restrictions. Make a personal effort to touch base with your neighbors 8-12 months before the wedding day. Talk to them about how you’ll accommodate your guest parking such that it’s not an inconvenience for the neighborhood. Consider inviting neighbors over for a cocktail at the reception.
Parking & Accomodations
Between 6 and 12 months from the wedding, solidify your guest list and pay attention to how many out-of-town guests you expect to attend. Research a few different options for overnight accommodations nearby. And in case parking is a concern, explore options to arrange shuttle transportation to those local accommodations for guests.
Create a list of the vintage and antique home décor, flea market items, and thrifty finds from around your home. Make a checklist of the items you’d like to incorporate to add a personal touch to your wedding design. Check out vendors that specialize in backyard weddings for options that bring your wedding look together. A few months before your wedding day, gather all the decorative items you already have at home to store them in one place. That makes it easy to pull and place them during setup time.
Create Clear Signage
Guests may not intuitively know where the bathrooms are, when to be seated, or what to expect at a backyard wedding. Discuss what kind of signage you’ll need to inform them about the layout of your yard and the facilities. The more DIY you want to get with your signage, the more time you’ll need to set aside to get the signs ready. About 6-8 months prior to the wedding day, evaluate whether you want to hire a sign maker, or delegate the tasks to friends and family who want to help out.
Many hands make little work. Keep this in mind when you execute the wedding rehearsal in your backyard. A few months before the wedding, establish a plan for what you’ll need to do to reset the ceremony space right after the rehearsal and dinner.
Hide Your Personal Belongings
Last but not least, be aware that if it’s your own backyard, it’s going to feel very comfortable. Thus, it’s easy to lay your tablet, your reading glasses, or other personal items around the house. In the month of the wedding, store your personal items in a safe place and store any items needed for the day-of near the entrance to the backyard. That way, if there’s something that you need to grab at a moment’s notice, you don’t need to scour the house just to find it.
Hero photo courtesy of Cavin Elizabeth Photography