If you have access to a private property to host your wedding, then consider yourself extremely lucky! Not only does having a backyard wedding save you a ton on renting a venue, but it also offers you more flexibility when it comes to the timeline, and sometimes a much more relaxed atmosphere. However, there are some serious logistical items that need to be considered before committing to a backyard wedding.
Even a small wedding will mean more cars than usual parked on the property, so considering available parking options is a must. Is there an abundance of street parking? An open field or lot? A nearby business or church that will let you use theirs? Or will you need to have guests park off-site and offer a shuttle to the property?
First consider if you want guests going into the house or not. The backyard weddings we’ve hosted have been about 50/50 on this, so there is no right or wrong answer here, it’s simply what you prefer. If you want the house off-limits, then you’ll need to rent port-a-potties. If you are using the house, consider how many bathrooms there are, how easy they are to find, and if you are on a septic system, make sure it can handle this influx in people using the bathrooms. There will be a lot more flushes than you normally have, and nobody wants backed up bathrooms on their wedding day.
3. Level surfaces
This is important for chairs at the ceremony and tables during the reception. Remember, what may seem like a slight slope with nothing on it may become much more noticeable once you’re sitting in a chair that’s leaning or trying to eat on a crooked or wobbly table. Consider the slope of the yard when planning your layout to avoid uneven ground.
4. Cost of rentals
When you’re starting from scratch, everything will need to be rented, from the chairs and tables to a tent for a covered space just in case it rains or to protect you and your guests from the sun. While you may be saving on the venue, these costs can definitely add up. The good news, is that you can save on delivery fees by allowing things to be brought in a day or two early and picked up a day or two after the event.
5. Power and outdoor outlets
You’ll need power for lighting, but most importantly for the DJ or band. Make sure there are outlets, or nearby power sources for where the DJ will need to be set up for the ceremony and reception
Keeping a backyard looking lush and green during the summer takes a lot of work. If the owners take care of this regularly and enjoy gardening, then you’re in luck, but if not this will be a big undertaking. It costs quite a bit of money to update landscaping, install lighting, keep things watered, etc., not to mention the time it takes to maintain it. If it’s not your property, this is a great area to offer to help so the burden doesn’t fall completely on the property owner. Last week I shared Kirsten and Kris's backyard wedding on Bainbridge Island, and this was a perfect example of a gorgeous property and the work they did prior to the wedding day on the landscaping. This couple went to the parent's home on the weekends to help plant flower beds, lay gravel on the pathways, trim trees and keep the lawn watered and mowed. It was a team effort and a great way for the couple to show their appreciation for allowing them to host their wedding on the property.
I love weddings on private properties, and as long as you take these logistical items into consideration, I have no doubt you’ll be able to host a successful backyard wedding!