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.

 

Tips to Cutting Your Guest List

With many brides opting to have fewer guests at their wedding, the question often arises as to how to cut your wedding guest list without stirring up any tension.  You and your future spouse probably know a lot more people combined than you realize.  So – here are a few tips on how to cut your list to a reasonable and affordable number without drama or hurt feelings.

  1. Rule #1 – If you haven’t spoken to a relative in years, don’t feel obligated to invited them to your wedding. It’s not a family reunion.
  2. Do you have friends that you’ve grown apart from or no longer speak to frequently – that’s an easy cut.
  3. Your work connections could be huge, so only those who are truly good friends should be invited.
  4. Make your wedding an ADULTS ONLY event. Give couples with kids ample notice to arrange for alternative care for the night.  Those couples might really enjoy a kid-free night.
  5. Remove Plus Ones you’ve never met. If you’ve never met the person, why buy them a dinner?

A wedding is a celebration for you and the person you’re marrying – and should be shared with those closest to you.

Smart Spending for Your Wedding

 

It’s easy to get excited about your dream wedding, but your fairytale wedding could turn into a less joyful situation if you go into debt.   Even before creating your budget, you and your partner need to decide which details are important for both of you.  It’s funny – no one will remember the little details, like the color/type flowers you might have opted for, but they will remember if they had a good time.  Don’t skimp on food and entertainment as these elements have a huge impact on your guests’ enjoyment.

However, food doesn’t have to be expensive.   You could choose to have a cocktail wedding or perhaps hire a food truck.  A few weeks back we published a list of venues that allow you to bring your own outside catering companies – many independent catering companies would love to be of service and can provide a competitively priced menu.  Secondly, trim your guest list.  That’s one of the biggest ways to save money.  Ask yourself, “Would you take this person out to an expensive dinner at any other time?”  If the answer is “No”, scratch them from the list.   How well do you know that person?  If you hardly remember their name or recognize them, scratch them from the list.

One thing I don’t recommend is to try to tackle everything yourself – like preparing your own food or baking your own cake!  Hire a professional!  They know how to do the job and you really don’t need that stress.  Hire a florist but choose in-season blooms.  Do hire a professional photographer.  Don’t depend on family or friends for your photos.  So many brides have cried the blues when their photos didn’t turn out to be what they expected.  Photos are the only thing you will have after the day is over.

Our new Wedding Planning for the St. Louis/St. Charles and Southern Illinois Bride is now available!  Request your FREE copy today by sending your request to bride@BrideStLouis.com.

Elopements and Small Weddings right here are the trend!

 

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Did you know that every Wednesday at the St. Louis County courthouse you can get married by a judge?

I had the chance to observe brides and grooms lining the hallways waiting their turn to be called before the judge.  As many as 28 couples waited their turn and then were called to the front of the court room with their two witnesses.  In front of all these strangers they committed to loving one another forever.   Five minutes and done.  I doubt that any of those couples every thought of this ceremony as the wedding of their dreams.  And sometimes couples are turn away because there is not enough time!

Sometimes couples decide that the larger, formal wedding just doesn’t work for them.  They instead decide to “elope”.  (You don’t have to leave town to elope.)  This decision might be precipitated by military deployment, family issues, or just because they want to forgo the expense and time consuming traditional wedding.  

Getting married is a very important step in your life and even If you are considering such an “elopement” there are better options.  Perfect Elopements (www.PerfectElopements.com), a consortium of wedding professionals, is a company that brings everything together for you to have a beautiful wedding ceremony without the huge expense and you can schedule your wedding with just a few days, or sometimes, hours notice.  Flowers, cupcakes, photographer, and an officiant starting at just $395.00.  Just because it’s smaller doesn’t mean that it can’t be beautiful.  You show up with your rings and your license.  That’s it! 

Andrea and Lee

 

There are several packages from which you can choose – some include more extensive photography, music, and sand ceremonies.   There are lots of additional options you can add such as dove or butterfly releases.  But most importantly it’s a beautiful, sentimental, ceremony that is romantic.  And best of all, every package include a professional photographer to capture the wonderful memories of this day.

And now Perfect Elopements has completed their own venue JUST for small elopements and weddings called The Tuscany Gallery (www.TuscanyGalleryandEvents.com).  It resembles a small Italian Courtyard at night with a garden like feel – but indoors!  Perfect for winter ceremonies.   They offer two elopement package and three small wedding packages, that can include a small reception as well.  

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If you know anyone wanting to get married, share this information with them.  Help them have a day full or wonderful memories.