Thinking of tying the knot in your backyard? Read our guide!
With the average cost of your wedding reception taking up nearly 40% of the total wedding budget, finding a venue that not only meets your style preferences but also your cost expectations can be challenging.
One of the ways to change this dynamic is to consider a venue that is a little closer to home. That is, at home! Now, of course this won’t suit everyone – with smaller block sizes and apartment living becoming increasingly popular, the big suburban backyard is not as common as it used to be. But, if you do have a large space with potential, then read on – here is guide to planning an amazing backyard wedding!
SO, WHY HAVE A BACKYARD WEDDING?
1. You Can Manage Your Budget
Holding a wedding in your backyard will generally enable you to get the most out of your budget. Most venues will have minimum spend requirements, deposits, per-person fees or restrictions requiring you to purchase through them with a mark-up built in. Of course with a wedding at home you will be required to hire furniture, serving ware, and organise external catering, but bypassing commercial venues allows you the financial freedom to completely manage your budget and achieve value for money.
2. It is Available Whenever You Want
One frustrating thing about searching for commercial venues is sometimes the lack of availability, especially during peak season. Some of the more popular venues can book out 1 or 2 years in advance! Holding a wedding in your backyard means you have the freedom to pick a date that suits you.
3. It is Perfect to Accommodate a More Intimate Gathering – and Your Fur Babies!
If you are looking to keep the wedding guest list quite small, then a backyard wedding is a perfect solution. You are only really limited to your space and imagination! And the best part? Your fur baby can attend any part of the day and evening that you want.
4. You Can Add a Personal Touch
Being in your own backyard means the space is already filled with elements that ooze your own personalities and taste. This makes it so much easier to integrate your wedding decor and style and have total control over the overall look. Plus, if you’re the sentimental type, you’ll have the memories of tying the knot in your backyard to make your home even more special.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
1. Zones & Flow
One thing you will need to think about is the layout of your space, and how you want the guests to flow through. Think about where the ceremony will be (if applicable), then where guests will mingle whilst you’re offsite having photos, where guests will be eating and dancing, where food and drinks will be, and even the location of casual seating. It is a good idea to subtly separate these areas into zones, through the use of furniture or decor.
2. Styling & Colours
Now this is the fun part. Think of your space – what is a permanent feature? What is the colour scheme? Natural elements? Textures? These will all form the base of your overall theme and style. From there, you have the creative freedom to design a bright garden party, romantic evening soiree, or anything that you want!
3. Furniture Hire
Hiring furniture may seem like an inconvenience to some, but it really is such a fantastic perk of a backyard wedding. Basically, you have a blank slate to choose the colours and style that you want – you are only limited by space and budget. You might find it helpful to make a basic diagram of the space, and play around with furniture ideas and placement, so you can get a feel for the type and quantity of items that you will need. Make sure you shop around to find the best prices too!
Without being locked into a commercial venue you have the freedom to choose whatever kind of catering you want. Fancy a food truck? Great! Want a cute drinks cart? No worries! Dream of a three-course seated meal? Perfect! Again, you are only limited by your space and budget. Think about your space, your kitchen facilities, the kind of food you want to serve, and the overall experience that you want to achieve. Some suppliers will provide serving ware with their package, so make sure you check what is and isn’t included.
Of course, you also have the option to completely BYO drinks and food, which has the potential to save you a substantial amount. Alcohol is generally a large cost at commercial venues, so by purchasing your own and either hiring someone to serve or having a self-service area, this is a great benefit.
Make sure you identify your power outlets outside, and the feasibility of additional power sources if required. Some suppliers or items may need a power source to operate, especially if your event is at night – think DJ, band, lighting, photo booth, food truck etc. Double check with your supplier too – they may already have their own portable power source organised!
Your lighting choice will not only serve the practical purpose of making sure your guests can see at night, but also give you another opportunity to complement your style and theme. Think festoon lights, strings of fairy lights, delicate chandeliers, statement pendants, candles …you can never have enough lighting!
Unless your backyard is completely covered, you will need to have a wet weather plan. Now, this isn’t as stressful as it sounds – think ahead and strategise your Plan B from the start, so in the off-chance you do have to switch to it, you will at least be prepared. On the other hand, a very hot and sunny day may also be a cause for concern – think about installing some shade, like umbrellas or marquees to provide some comfort for your guests.
Now this is a very important one. To prevent your guests traipsing through your house to find the toilet and avoiding lengthy queues during the night, consider hiring a portable toilet or two. There are several companies who offer these services in a range of quality levels and budgets. Make sure you think about where these will be located as well!
9. Neighbours & Local Council
As a friendly and responsible resident, it is a fantastic idea to let your neighbours know that you’ll be having an event, and to advise them to expect some noise, and additional cars parked in the street. Reassure them that you will be adhering to council rules, and to approach you if there are any concerns leading up to the day. Make sure you inform the local police too, so they are aware should any concerns come through to them.
Although there may be a little extra work involved organising a backyard wedding, the benefits truly outweigh the effort. So, what are you waiting for? Stay home and create something magical!
Photography: Andrew Ho Photography