Whether you’ve always dreamed of having an intimate wedding or if Covid-19 has given you no other option, having a backyard wedding can be surprisingly amazing!
And if you’re looking at your backyard and thinking “Uhhh no way”… don’t stop reading! It doesn’t have to be your backyard. It doesn’t need to be a backyard at all, actually. There are lots of wedding venues designed to host intimate weddings that have the same homey vibes as your childhood backyard.
Are you still with me? Ok, good! Here are the top 5 reasons why backyard weddings can be awesome!
For every wedding – no matter the size or location – I always recommend that my couples take all of their portraits outside. The light and backgrounds are typically better, and being outside makes people feel much more relaxed. Imagine taking family photos inside a loud, crowded church. Now imagine taking family photos outside under the trees, with a cocktail in hand. Yeah, it’s a no brainer.🍹
Well, with a completely outdoor backyard wedding, your entire day can feel that relaxed! Your reception can feel more like a fancy dinner party with close friends. Serve family style meals, BBQ, or oven baked pizza. Include yard games and a lounge area. Have live music and an outdoor bar. Let your dog roam free (while wearing a bowtie, of course).
It’s also nice to spend the morning getting ready in a home that’s familiar to you. (Or a venue that’s so comfy it feels like home.)
This is obvious, but you can save a lot of money by getting married in a friend’s backyard or by renting a small venue with nice outdoor areas. Some venues may even offer a discounted rate for only using a section of the property.
After saving on venue costs, you can put that money toward your other vendors, or you can do something really special for yourselves. Upgrade your honeymoon, buy each other wedding presents, or just save it!
But before you get too excited about all the money you’ll save, remember the added benefits of having a venue. They may look expensive at first glance, but they can include the cost of rentals, permits, parking, insurance, and staff to set up and clean up. 🤔
You may see this as a pro and a con 😂, but backyard weddings are a great option for couples with lots of support from friends and family. It’s always complicated to have “too many cooks in the kitchen”, but if your brother offers to build an awesome ceremony arch, or if your retired chef grandma wants to cook something special, take them up on the offer! They can take over as much or as little as you want.
Several of my 2020 weddings were rescheduled more than once, and it was a huge relief to them when family members picked up some planning responsibilities.
If your parents offer their lake house for your wedding, they’ll probably be very involved in the planning. Be sure to consider that before deciding on a location.
If you’re the type of person who likes to put their own spin on traditions, or completely throw traditions out the window 🙃, this route may be for you.
If you and your fiancé have busy schedules and need to get married during a peak wedding season, this route may be for you. Most venues book popular weekend dates 1-2 years in advance. If you’re having short engagement or simply aren’t prepared to book a venue so far in advance, consider a venue that isn’t commonly used for weddings or a location that’s not a wedding venue at all.
If you want a hands-on approach to planning your wedding, this route may be for you. You’ll have complete control of all decor and the layout of the space, without worrying about venue rules.
One downside to all this? Because you have SO much flexibility, you may feel a lack of direction. Be sure to lean heavily on your vendors when it comes to planning and building a timeline. Your photographer and coordinator will be able to look at the space with fresh eyes and offer advice.
In most backyards, after you clean up the landscaping, plant some flowers, and make sure the grass is growing, you’re working with a blank slate. You can decorate the space any way you’d like and drastically change the feel. Exciting, right??
This is another opportunity to work closely with your vendors. Your florist will have ideas about what plants and centerpieces would coordinate best with the existing landscaping, fill large spaces, and match your style. Ask your coordinator where to set up tables and how to transition the space between your ceremony and reception. Ask your photographer what direction your ceremony should face to make the most of the background and light.
This last tip is so so important! The last thing you want is a beautiful ceremony that you’re not able to see because the sun is shining directly in your eyes. 😎
String lights, greenery, wood, and natural colors look great outside. (As a side note, I think all weddings should have more string lights! They provide amazing atmosphere and they photograph really well.)
Alright, can you tell that I LOVE photographing backyard weddings? In 2020, the majority of weddings were small (under 30 guests) and were held at a small venue or backyard. And they were all so freakin’ fun!
Weddings don’t have to be extremely stressful to plan. Get those negative thoughts out of your mind right now.🙅🏽♀️ If you personalize your day to make it feel like YOU, and if you choose a location that helps make that possible, your wedding will be amazing. 😄
For inspiration, I recommend reading this article from Brides.
To start planning the logistics of your wedding, I recommend this article from The Knot.