Top 10 Backyard Wedding and Reception Tips

Backyards are charming places to celebrate your special day without emptying your pockets. You get to surround yourself with the familiar sights and smells of your home while rejoicing a momentous occasion in your life. It’s hard to imagine anything more fitting for a wedding’s sentimental mood or the joy of a reception.

These weddings are delightful to plan — as long as you keep some essentials in mind. Keep reading for 10 tips for throwing a no-stress backyard wedding or reception, no matter where you live.

1. Plan the Layout

If you’re hosting both the wedding and reception in your backyard, you’ll need ample room. Consider hosting just one at your home if holding both in the same place will stretch you thin. This is your wedding day, and you want to enjoy ample space with your loved ones.

Think about trimming your guest list if you need more room. Backyard weddings are naturally intimate, and they’re especially suited for a small gathering of your closest family members. Enjoy your entire wedding day with the people you hold most dear, or plan a more private ceremony followed by a larger reception filled with all your friends and family.

2. Prepare the Yard

Choosing the perfect colour scheme and style is essential for any ceremony — even a backyard wedding. Start planting and sprucing up your yard months in advance so your flowers will be open and bright by the time of your celebration. The kind of flowers you can plant will depend on the season — some do better in the cold, while others only bloom in warm weather.

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Hire a landscaper for assistance with this part of planning. They’ll also check if your ground is level to ensure that tables and chairs will sit evenly. If not, they’ll put a foundation down.

3. Maintain Your Space

You’ll need to maintain your lawn up to the day of the wedding — even after you’ve landscaped. As you transform your yard into a matrimonial paradise, you want to prevent pests from undoing this hard work. Mosquitos thrive in warm climates, and ants reproduce in droves no matter the weather. Avoid letting these minuscule crashers overrun your service by investing in pest control and having insect repellant handy.

4. Find the Right Officiant

Select an officiant to perform the service. Some pastors and priests won’t conduct a ceremony outside a house of worship, so keep this in mind while conducting your search. You can also opt for a secular officiant. For extra intimacy, have a friend or relative officiate.

5. Rent What You Need

Secure the necessary equipment far in advance to ensure a comfortable ceremony — including outdoor tables, chairs and portable bathrooms.


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Even if you don’t plan on using a tent, rent one anyway in case of poor weather. In the best-case scenario, the sky will stay bright and clear all day. But if it doesn’t, you’ll need something to keep your guests’ heads dry — especially if your house isn’t big enough to fit them all.

6. Check Permit Rules

Many cities have rules set by the fire and health departments concerning permitting requirements, so ensure you can legally host the service before making major plans. Check your local noise ordinances, and review any requirements concerning the number of people allowed on your property. Your city clerk will have answers to most, if not all, of your questions and concerns.

7. Use a Generator

With music, lights and more, you’ll use a hefty amount of energy — and you want to ensure a full night of problem-free celebration. Have a backup generator or two to supplement your home’s power supply. Choose power sources that’ll serve your needs — you may use more energy than you think.

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8. Let the Neighbours Know

Be courteous and inform the neighbours a few weeks in advance so that they aren’t disturbed by the sudden noise and excitement. Coordinate with them and ask them politely to avoid mowing their lawns or running a leaf blower during your vows. If you’re close with them, you can invite them to attend and partake in the enjoyment.

9. Secure Parking Spaces

Along with permit rules, some cities have restrictions on parking. They may not allow street parking at certain times, which means you’ll need to find other spots to accommodate everyone. Use nearby church or school parking lots if this is the case. Have a valet service park everyone’s cars, or arrange for a shuttle to transport guests to your home.

Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

10. Consider the Time of Day

The weather warms up during peak daylight hours — especially in hot months — and you want your guests to stay comfortable. Arrange chairs and tables in shady spots. Pass out sunglasses and portable fans to help them beat the heat or have a Drink Station for refreshments.

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If you decide to seal your vows in the chillier months, provide blankets and heaters and arrange the seating in sunny areas.

Enjoy Your Big Day the Simple Way

While you have many unique things to consider when planning a backyard wedding, these are all part of the process. Everything will come together in the end to create a day you’ll remember for years to come.