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.

 

Outdoor Places for Low Cost Ceremonies

Recently we had a future bride ask about outdoor places with gazebos or gardens that could be used for wedding ceremonies.  (She was looking for FREE or almost free!)   So – I tossed together some locations that come to mind.

Alton Gordon Moore Public Park

Bellevue Park, Belleville.  It has a beautiful gazebo and a medium size lake.

Forest Park – Waterfall off Lagoon Street, The Muny Entrance (Gazebo and beautiful lake in front of the Muny), General Grounds, the Basin area, and Old World’s Fair Pavilion are my favorites.

Wedding Planning by BrideStLouis.com

 

Faust Park – By The Village, Outside the Butterfly House, or at the Thornhill Mansion grounds that is behind the Butterfly House.

Missouri Botanical Garden – That’s not free, but it is beautiful.

Kiener Plaza – The old Kiener Plaza was a beautiful setting.  The new one is a bit busy all the time.

Carondelet Park

The Water Tower off Grand

Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit.   It’s $5.00 per person to enter, but it’s worth it!   They have a beautiful lake and in spring they have 1000s of daffodils.

Oak Knoll Park in Clayton.   There is a sunken garden area to the West of the building and also a small lake.

Bee Tree Park in South County.

The City Garden has a nice waterfall

Tower Grove Park – Most everyone knows about the ruins, the lily pond, and the many, many gazebos.

Wedding Planning by BrideStLouis.com

Castlewood State Park off Manchester Road in Ballwin

The J.C. Stage in St. Charles on the Riverfront.  It cost a little to rent, but it’s very nice.  They also have two other smaller pavilions.

The Arch Grounds.

Lafayette Square & Park

Wedding Ceremony locations by BrideStLouis

Laumeier Sculpture Park

Queeny Park in Manchester

Chesterfield City Center Park

Wedding Venues by BrideStLouis.com

 

St. Ferdinand Park in Florissant – Both Lake & Gazebo.

Various New Town Locations in St. Charles

Drace Park in Des Peres – not well known, but very nice.

Longview Farm off Clayton Road in Town & County.

Creve Coeur Lake Park

Kirkwood Trail Station (Get married inside the train station.  A great location when the weather is bad.)

Fort Zumwalt Park

Quail Ridge Park in St. Charles County

Wedding Venues by BrideStLouis.com

At some of these locations you can reserve a shelter.  For almost all locations I recommend you check with the various authorities for any permits that may be required.

We, of course, would love to hear any additional suggestions from you that we can share with our readers.

Are you planning to rent a tent for your outdoor wedding?

Outdoor weddings can be very beautiful, but with the hot St. Louis weather and possibly storms have you considered renting a tent for your event?  If you are only days away from your wedding and rain is predicted, chances are you won’t be the only one looking for a tent at the last minute.  Tents are NOT a cheap alternative to a banquet hall, and there are some things you need to consider.

Exterior Image 2 BSL

First and foremost – does your location have ample space for a tent?  Do they even allow tents?

Second – what size tent will you need?  The amount of guests will determine the size.  If you have up to 100 guests a 30X60 canopy should be fine.  Guest counts of 150 require a 40X60 canopy and any guest count over 200 requires a tent at least 40X80.   

Third – What type of tent do you want?  A pole tent works best on a grassy area and is secured with stakes.  There will be at least one center pole supporting the tent.  A frame tent can be place on relatively any surface and there are no center poles to obstruct your view and event layout.  However, we always suggest the pole tent, when the location is suitable, because of their pretty and high roofline.  It looks great from the exterior and interior.   (Photo credit – Patricia Lyons of Easton Events.)

outdoor-wedding_patricia-lyon

There is a lot more expense to a tent than just the rental.  There is the labor to set up and tear down the tent, delivery charges, and there may be charges for liners and drapery.  If lighting is not included, what type of lighting will you provide?    Chandeliers are popular options in a white wedding tent, but again you are looking at some additional bucks.  And, is there electric service available?  Do you want a dance floor?  Add that to the tab as well.   

Did you know that tents act like greenhouses, so heat can build up, so when the temperature soars over 75 degrees, you will need some options, like fans, to keep everyone comfortable.    Tents that have side flaps that roll up can help when the temperature is high, and these flaps are very useful if a storm blows through.

Tent Image 1 BrideStLouis.com

Here are three local companies that are experienced in our area with tent installations:

Event Partner, www.EventPartners-stl.com, 314-729-7776

Weinhardt Party Rentals, www.WeinhardtPartyRentals.com, 314-822-9000

Fund Ways of Missouri, www.FundWaysofMo.com, 636-250-4100.