A backyard wedding can be elegant and memorable, but planning one can be tough. An indoor venue gives you a defined space, and its existing layout and décor can help you make theming and decorating decisions. A backyard is a blank space, allowing you to build your entire venue from the ground up. Here are some tips for hosting a backyard wedding.
You can’t control the weather, but there is no reason to be miserable on your big day. Consider renting a tent to provide some shade and protection against cold, heat, or rain. Portable heaters or misting fans can also go a long way toward providing your guests with some comfort from the elements.
Walk through your backyard looking for tripping hazards or obstacles, and then minimize them as best you can. Outdoor flooring can help to level out a rough or uneven surface. Dig out small rocks and create pathways around obstacles you cannot move. Also think about parking areas, restrooms, and other practical needs. If any guests are older or disabled, make sure they will be able to safely navigate the area. Use clear pathway markings and dedicated lighting for an evening wedding.
Theming and Décor
Sit in your backyard and take a look around. Let the sights and sounds of nature inspire the theme and décor for your wedding. Consider timing the wedding to showcase a glorious sunset or a full moon, or let the colors of nature become the inspiration for your wedding colors.
Remember that just a handful of a few big items, from wine barrels to chalkboard signs, can set up your theme, whether you prefer haute couture black tie or vintage chic. Then tailor your menu, tableware, and smaller party decorations to reinforce that theme. Also think about lighting and sound, which can have a dramatic impact on the overall feel of your wedding.
Sight Lines and Guest Flow
Remember that your guests are at your wedding to witness your vows, so it is vital to make sure the sight lines are clear. Consider using elevated stages for the main events so that everyone can see well. Once everything is in place, sit in a guest chair in the back to confirm your sight lines, and then walk the guest paths to different stations such as the restroom facilities and buffet table. Adjust on the fly as needed.
Talk to your vendors in advance to find out what they need. Caterers likely need refrigeration, or at least big coolers. Cake designers may need a long, flat table for assembly. All vendors will need a bit of space to store their personal items. You might want to let vendors use part of the house, or you might prefer to set up small service tents. Designate someone you trust to be the point of contact with vendors on the big day.
Don’t forget that you will need to provide your own electricity for a backyard wedding. Be sure to add up everything from the lights to the DJ equipment when figuring out how much power you will need. Long extension cords from the house may be sufficient, as long as you carefully secure and cover them to reduce tripping hazards. Alternately, you could bring in portable generators. Provide plenty of ventilation and keep them well away from the festivities to reduce noise levels.
Planning a backyard wedding can be both exciting and overwhelming. Start early, think through all of your needs, and work with rather than against nature, and you can host a backyard wedding your guests will never forget.
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