Your Ultimate Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding

Ultimate Guide to Backyard Weddings

Getting married is a major life event that you’ll never forget. If you’re planning to walk down the aisle with that special someone, a backyard wedding could be a great way to say your vows and tie the knot.  However – it may not be as “budget” friendly as you might think.  So, be sure to read on.

Start with the Logistics

Before you pick out favors and décor, start with the logistics. How successful your wedding is will depend on where you live, the time of year, and the weather. Try to nail down a date where you feel confident the weather will offer you a glorious day.  (Hint:  Summer can be way too hot in our area!  Think “Fall” and always have a “Plan B” for rain!)

You’ll also want to find out how to get the right amount of power for music, lighting, and more. An extension cord might do the trick but be aware that it also poses a trip hazard. And you might need multiple power lines – so make sure your line can handle the demand. Determine how much equipment will be needed for the wedding so you can get the proper power source set up. You’ll likely need a generator to create power for things like speakers and catering equipment.

Now is the time to clean up your yard and get it ready for the big day. Get rid of old dead plants, tree branches, and weeds to create a clean slate for your ceremony and reception. Come up with a layout for seating so it will be easier when it’s time to set everything up. Another crucial thing to keep in mind is wedding insurance. You might not think you need it in your own backyard, but it’s good to see what’s covered in case a guest gets injured on your property. Other things to consider include parking and notifying your neighbors in advance.

Once you’ve listed all of the logistics, the fun part begins. Think about the special features you’ll want to include in your backyard wedding. From a specific theme to your flowers, write down a list of ideas and tweak them as you go. Do you want an outdoor dance floor? How about separate tables and chairs for the reception? If your backyard is extremely sunny, you might want to plan to rent a tent.  Brainstorm several different features you’d like to see so you can start planning ahead as early as possible.

Your Ultimate Guide to Backyard Weddings

 

Benefits of a Backyard Wedding

While a formal venue is always nice, there are plenty of awesome benefits to getting married in your backyard. First and foremost, you’ll save a ton of money on the cost to rent a venue which can run you into the thousands of dollars. That fact alone makes considering a backyard wedding worth the effort! Aside from saving money, here are some other benefits and tips of hosting a backyard wedding:

  • If your pets are part of the family, you can enjoy their company at the wedding.
  • Aside from the wedding itself, you can also host a backyard rehearsal dinner. Have casual food like barbecue catered in, or just cook some food on the grill for your wedding party to enjoy.
  • Since your backyard probably has limited space, that means you can keep your guest list small, too. The fewer guests you have, the less money you’ll need to spend on things like food and entertainment.
  • Backyard weddings give you the flexibility to choose any date you want to get married. Instead of planning around the “wedding season” to find an open slot, you can pick any day you like when you host your own backyard wedding.
  • You might be nervous about getting married but doing it in a familiar place is a great way to calm those nerves and help you feel more relaxed and at home.

Tents & Planning Guide for Ourdoor Weddings

Your Actual Cost May be MORE Expensive

You will most likely need to rent chairs, tables, a tent, and a dance floor.  Tent rentals are always in demand, so don’t wait unit the week before to try to rent one.  And renting a tent is not a “cheap” affair.  They are expensive any many times exceed the cost of a regular indoor venue.

You still need a photographer, cake, officiant and a DJ.  And then you will need to hire a catering company.  Check to make sure they provide all the flatware, dinnerware, etc., or you may also need to rent those items as well.  The flowers and décor that you choose will also play a significant part of your expense.  And finally, you need to consider the alcoholic drinks.  There are specific liquor companies you can hire to serve or you will have to plan to purchase an amble supply along with ICE.   Lots and lots of ice!  And containers for the iced refreshments too!  Have plenty of water and non-alcoholic beverages for guests to grab.

You need to have adequate lighting for your guests’ departure.  Display lanterns or luminaries help indicate where guests exit.  Additional things to have on hand and very useful include bug spray, suntan lotion, flashlights, garbage bags, and paper towels.

Don’t forget about help putting everything out and together.  It’s a BIG job.  You need someone to put up the table, tablecloths, centerpieces and other décor, plus line up the chairs from the ceremony area and then back to the reception, and organize the refreshments.

Consider renting a Portable Bathroom.  Do you really want 75 people in and out of your one bathroom in the house?

 

Have A Plan B in Place

There’s no way you can predict the weather to a T, so be sure you have an alternate “Plan B” in place just in case the storms roll in. Weather can change in an instant which means you might end up dealing with unexpectedly cold temperatures or a dangerous rainstorm. Draft up a reasonable Plan B where you can move everyone inside your home. If you’re insistent on keeping the celebration outside, rent a tent that you can use in case of an emergency. Ensure that the sides of the tent are covered to protect everyone from the rain. If the weather happens to be unseasonably hot, have plenty of fans available to keep the air circulation. If it’s cold, stock up on outdoor heaters. Having these safeguards in place will keep your stress level low and the wedding moving along.

Timeline

Wedding planners are experts at creating the perfect timeline. If you’re doing everything on your own, it’s crucial to make sure you create a timeline that works. Do your best to schedule the ceremony somewhat early so the skies don’t get dark before you’ve said your vows. Try to avoid too much downtime between the ceremony and reception since the guests won’t need to travel between venues.   Consider a few fun backyard games or activities to keep everyone entertained while formal photos are taken. Finally, remember to be mindful of your neighbors and try to agree on an official time when the reception is over. You can always move the party to a local bar or another hot spot later in the night.

DIY Décor and Inspiration

If you’re planning a backyard wedding, you’re likely already working on other DIY ideas when it comes to themes and décor. Doing everything yourself gives you the freedom to create almost any style decor using any theme imaginable. Here are some suggestions to inspire you and prompt you to create a memorable theme with beautiful décor that’s all done DIY:

  • Hang outdoor string lights throughout your backyard to create a warm, magical glow when the sun goes down.
  • For autumn weddings, focus on beautiful colors like orange, red, and gold for décor, flowers, and bridesmaid dresses.
  • Place non-breakable containers on each table and fill them with freshly cut flowers you picked from your own yard.  Avoid GLASS – wind can topple them over and crash to the floor.
  • Laminate some of your favorite photos of you and your better half to protect them from the weather, then display them on rope or string and hang them from a tree or around a fence line.
  • Get creative with seating and place a few vintage sofas and chairs outside. You can also use some hay bales as seating if you’re aiming for a wedding with a rustic or farmhouse theme.

Amazing Outdoor Weddings

 

One of the bonuses of an outdoor wedding is the natural beauty around you.   Be prepared to keep your guests comfortable, and you will shine as the perfect host on your day.

 

Brides – Don’t Make These Mistakes

Brides - Don't Make These Mistakes

As you are preparing for your wedding day, you might want to refer back to this blog post to remind yourself exactly what a wedding is about – getting married to the one person who’s the love of your life.  The Wedding Day Ceremony and Reception is a celebration of your love and commitment to one another.  Enjoy the pre-wedding day functions and planning, but don’t make the following mistakes along the way:

Don’t……

Buy your wedding gown before choosing a venue.  The wedding venue or destination will be the single biggest choice that sets the tone of your wedding.  Consider the level of formality.  Is your wedding outdoors or a ballroom oozing Old World elegance?  If your wedding is in a grassy meadow or sandy beach, a long train that’s meant to sweep across the ground might not be ideal considering dirt and potential snags.  However, that look would work splendidly in a church ceremony.

Invite non wedding guests to pre wedding parties.

Forget about hidden costs.  10 Unexpected Expenses:

  1. Sales Tax
  2. Gratuities and Tips
  3. Gifts for the Wedding Party (Average gift $50 a person and 14 people = $700!)
  4. Delivery Fees
  5. Postage ($1.00 per invitation plus, and return stamps.
  6. Overtime Fees
  7. Bar Setup Fees/Uncorking Fee – if you provide your own liquor.
  8. Expanding Guest List.
  9. Cake Cutting Fee (some venues do charge for this).

Crash Diet.  Every woman wants to look her best on her wedding day, but few brides-to-be stop to consider how to get trim and toned the healthy way.  In the days prior to your wedding, don’t skip dinner and indulge in just soup or rice, because by starving yourself you are depriving your body of essential nutrients and you will be tired and irritable.  Severely restricting fat and carb intake can result in tired and baggy eyes.  And bottom line – you will regain all that weight quickly.

Skimp on bridal party gifts.  These friends are here for you and have spent hard earned money to participate in your special day.  Treat them like your friends and show your appreciation.

Schedule a long time between ceremony and reception.  Guests may skip the ceremony or reception if they have long periods in-between with nothing to do.  If you do need to schedule a long stretch between events, make sure your guests know well in advance that they will be on their own for a few hours before your reception begins.  Provide them with recommendations for nearby activities and entertainment, including lunch spots and your favorite place for a drink.

Control your photographer.  He/She knows how to capture the best shots that tell the story of your day.  A professional photographer will not need a “shot list”.   Do let him/her know of any special activity or person that you would like to capture.

Forget to eat on your wedding day.

Overdo DIY – especially last minute.  Have everything ready 30 days prior.

Forget, if you have kids, to hire someone to watch them ALL day.

Ignore your guests – make sure they have a good time.  Add some fun for them for the day like a hot chocolate bar, singing waiters, belly dancer, or perhaps hire a string quartet or live band.  Some country weddings have a petting zoo brought in and provide lawn games and an ice cream truck for mid-day treats. A Grazing Table is a new trend that provides an awesome array of food choices and treats.

Grazing Table by Bride St. Louis

Have such a crazy busy day that doesn’t allow personal time with your new husband.

Ignore your folks on your wedding day.

Allow roasts by inebriated guests.

Forget to have FUN!!!

 

Photo Credit:  Courtland Photography

Are you considering a First Look?

Bride St. Louis Wedding Planning - First Look

A “First Look” is the term used when a bride and groom decide to see each other before the wedding ceremony.  Many couples go back and forth on this decision.  While, a traditional bride might prefer to have her groom enjoy the first sight of her as she walks down the aisle, there are many benefits to having a first look.  Here are 8 reasons to have a “First Look.”

  1. Wedding days should be full of emotion and should not be stressful.  A first look can add so much beautiful emotion and happiness to your day.
  2. If you are Jewish you must see the groom before the wedding to sign the wedding contract.
  3. A First Look helps eliminate those “I think I’m going crazy” nerves that you often feel before the wedding.  Seeing your honey and sharing that time can provide instant relaxation and assurance that everything will be just fine.  While some fitters and nerves come back when you are about to walk down the aisle, it’s different.
  4. Photographers enjoy doing photos before the ceremony as there is less stress and more time to be creative.
  5. Many guys lock up when you come down the aisle.  They feel “on stage” and you often won’t get an honest response out of him.  He’s nervous too!  When he can see you before, he can take it all in, respond to how beautiful you are, laugh with you, cry with you, and most importantly…TALK TO YOU!
  6. When you choose to see each other before the ceremony you have time to touch-up makeup, are able to say things to one another and you are actually able to enjoy your time together before the ceremony.  While there are tears, you can take time to re-compose before your walk down the aisle.
  7. Many times the reception and the ceremony are very close together in time scheduled to eliminate a long wait time for your guests.  However, that means that once the “formal photos” are done, there is usually not enough time to do the really great candid shots.
  8. TIME with your groom alone!  The day will be very busy!  Guests will be congratulating you, wanting to ask thousands of questions, and you will have no time with your groom until the end of the day.  The First Look gives the two of you some time together.

If you’re traditional, it’s okay to skip it.  Remember that you can always change your mind – even on the day of your wedding!  Some couples prefer that the first time they see each other to be when the bride walks down the aisle in church.  It can be an exciting and emotional time, and you can share that with your guests.  Plus, the photos after the ceremony capture you wearing your rings.

 

Tips for Attending our Bridal Shows

 

Show are a rite of passage for the newly engaged and is a wonderful way to meet the top local vendors.  They are fun, inspirational, and exciting, but at the same time can be a bit overwhelming.  Here are some basic tips to help you make the most of your day:

  • Have fun and plan to make a day of it. There are many exhibitors, and you want to make sure that you have time to speak with everyone you need to.
  • One of the best things about a bridal show is that it gives you an opportunity to see what’s new and exciting, things you may not have thought of or considered.
  • Bring preprinted self-adhesive address labels with the following information: your name, address, phone number, email (create a new email address that can be deleted after you wedding) and wedding date. This will save you time and allow you to sign up for drawings or anything you want very quickly.
  • Wear comfortable shoes . . . you will be doing a lot of walking around and standing when speaking to all the exhibitors.
  • Bring along your fiance, a friend and/or family member. It is good to have someone to share the experience with and to offer a second opinion.
  • Many exhibitors offer show specials, so take advantage of them! Be prepared to book with the wedding professionals or schedule an appointment./
  • Enjoy it! Bridal shows/wedding expos are fun! Remember, if you don’t get it all done that day, check our website for another show in your area soon!

 

Come and spend an afternoon with us!  It’s weddings, weddings, everything weddings.

Top Spots for Engagement Photos

It doesn’t surprise me that there were lots of wedding proposals over the last few weeks.  And now that your wedding is official, here are some perfect locations for your engagement photos.  The St. Louis area has a plethora of iconic settings and eye-catching public parks that are prime for unforgettable photos.  (When the snow melts!)  So, all you new brides-to-be, now is a perfect time to schedule your session with Spring just a few weeks away.

Most of these are FREE public places.  Places not included are those that charge – like Missouri Botanical Garden or Union Station.  Have special interest and hobbies?  It’s always fun to incorporate your likes into these photos.  For example, if you love baseball, get some matching baseball shirts and have them personalized.   And, if you have pets, brings them along for a few snaps as well – and then have someone take care of them while you tend to photos of just the two of you.

A new option, is not only still photos – but video as well.  That’s a great way to introduce your special other, especially if you have not had an opportunity to meet extended family and friends.

This is not an all-inclusive list – but places that readily come to mind.  Do you have a special place that you think should be included?  Send it to us (bride@bridestlouis.com), and receive a $3.00 discount to our next Bridal Show on February 28th, 2021 at The Christy Banquet Center in O’Fallon.

Ballpark Village
Bee Tree Park
Butterfly House
Carondelet Park/Boat house
Castlewood State Park
Chesterfield Central Park
City Garden
City Museum
Creve Coeur Lake Park
Drace Park
Faust Park
Forest Park – Bridges, Walkways,
Fort Zumwalt Park
Graffiti Wall Downtown
Great Rivers Greenway – Bike Trail
Jaycee Stage – Historic St. Charles
Jewel Box in Forest Park
Laclede’s Landing (Neat Old Bldgs.)
Lafayette Park
Landing in St. Louis, The
Laumeier Sculpture Park
Longview Farm
Missouri River in St. Charles
Mississippi River Front
Moonrise Hotel
Muny in Forest Park
Oak Knoll Park
Quail Ridge Park
Sandy Covered Bride, The
Shaw Nature Reserve
St. Charles Gazebo on Main Street
St. Ferdinand Park
St. Louis Zoo
Tower Grove Park
Wineries
Washington Boulevard
Water Tower
World’s Fair Pavilion

 

Wedding Gown Shopping? 13+ Tips for Stress Free Wedding Gown Shopping

13+ Tipd for Stress Free Wedding Gown Shopping

13+ Tips for Stress Free Wedding Gown Shopping!

  1. Create a budget.   Most brides will spend about 10% of their wedding budget for their dress.
  2. Start shopping early.  It takes anywhere from six to twelve months from the time you place the order to when you bring your wedding gown home.  Bridal designers need four or five months to make it, and then you need to schedule fittings.
  3. Know what kind of dress you want. Love satin, hate lace…let your stylist know what you love and what you hate.
  4. What kind of wedding are you having? Destination wedding, outdoors, grand ballroom, barn/country….this decision will play some kind of role in selecting the right dress for the mood of your wedding.
  5. Most bridal shops prefer appointments, but most are happy to work with walk-ins too. Saturdays can be crazy busy, so why not try a weekday appointment for a more private and relaxing experience.
  6. Bring one or two people whose opinion means the most to you. The reality bridal TV shows show brides bringing a huge group of family and friends – and that just add drama and indecision to the process.
  7. Get ready for your appointment and bring items you want to wear down the aisle. Wear a strapless nude bra and a seamless thong or brief.
  8. Some dresses look better on you than on the rack. Let the stylist help choose a style which will flatter your body.  Keep an open mind.  Try different silhouettes to see which one makes you feel stunning.
  9. Forget about “sizes” in the wedding gown industry. Every designer’s size charts are different.  Taking in a gown is easy; letting it out is difficult.
  10. For most shops, a 50% deposit is required when you order.
  11. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” to the dress on your first attempt. When you know, you just know.  If you feel exceptional in that dress, it’s your dress.
  12. Move around – sit – dance a bit. You want to be comfortable.
  13. Gowns are made to order, so minor details can be customized or switched. You can add a belt to add some sizzle, or add some colored tulle underneath to add contrast.  Straps can be added or you might want to order a small jacket or fur for those cooler months.

And a few extra tips –

Fit is everything, which is why, when it comes to your wedding dress, alterations are everything. You can splurge on a pricey dress, but if it’s not altered properly it won’t look any better than a gown that’s a tenth of the cost.

Budget for Alterations:  Bridal Alterations can add up.  Some shops charge per service ($200 to shorten your gown, $150 to resew seams, etc.) while others charge a flat fee that covers anything you’ll need to make the dress fit you perfectly.  Design changes can cost anywhere from $50, to cut a sweetheart neckline, to hundreds of dollars.

Don’t Buy a Gown to Small:  Never buy a too-small dress, thinking you will lose the weight.  It’s easier to take in a larger dress, than to let a smaller one out.

Wear your Wedding Shoes:  A seamstress will adjust the hem based on the shoes you’ll be wearing at the wedding.  If you haven’t picked out your wedding shoes yet, bring a pair with a comparable height.  Your hemline should gently graze the ground, so that you don’t trip.

So, where are you buying your dress?  Be sure to choose a reliable, bridal store that cares about helping you be your very best on your special day.  There are some disreputable stores, that have poor service after the sale.  Even some of the larger chains have bad reputations.  There are both good and bad online bridal stores – and once you purchase your dress, it’s yours.  Use care when going that route as well.

Be a beautiful, happy bride in the dress you love!