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The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Dream Backyard Wedding

Image: A couple getting married in their own backyard. This is the wedding ceremony. How to Plan a Backyard Wedding? Planning a backyard wedding can be just as exciting and memorable as a traditional venue...

couple getting married in their own backyard Image: A couple getting married in their own backyard. This is the wedding ceremony.

How to Plan a Backyard Wedding?

Planning a backyard wedding can be just as exciting and memorable as a traditional venue wedding. From the location to the budget, guest list to vendors, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. Here's a breakdown of what you need to plan for your dream backyard wedding:

Location for the Wedding

If you're hosting your wedding in your own backyard or a friend/family member's property, make sure the space is suitable for your event. Ensure you have enough space for your guests and check if the location permits outdoor/backyard weddings. Contact the local authorities to inquire about permits, guest limits, and any other requirements.

Wedding Budget

Setting a budget is essential for any wedding, backyard or otherwise. Calculate how much money you have saved and can save each month leading up to the wedding. Consider contributions from family members as well. This will help determine how much you can spend on your special day.

Figure Out Priorities

Identify your top three wedding priorities together as a couple. Whether it's a specific dress, a favorite food truck, or a photographer you've been following for years, allocate a portion of your budget to make these must-haves a reality. Once you've secured these essentials, you can focus on other details.

Guest List

Deciding who to invite can be challenging. If you prefer an intimate ceremony with close family and friends, limit your guest list to immediate family, best friends, and close relatives. For larger backyard weddings, consider the space available and your budget for catering. Remember, it's your day, so invite people you genuinely want to celebrate with.

Planning Timeline

Booking vendors and essentials as early as possible is crucial. Confirm your location and date, then prioritize hiring vendors that align with your vision. Whether you have a year or a month to plan, create a timeline that includes securing the location, setting a budget, booking vendors, and finalizing the necessary rentals and decorations.

Day of Wedding Timeline

One of the advantages of a backyard wedding is flexibility with your day's schedule. While it's essential to stick to a timeline, having your wedding at a private property allows for more adjustments if unexpected delays occur. Create a detailed timeline to ensure a smooth flow of events from hair and makeup to the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing.

family having dinner at a backyard wedding Image: A family having dinner at a backyard wedding

Things to Consider When Planning an Outdoor Backyard Wedding (The Logistics)

backyard wedding near a cornfield Image: A backyard wedding near a cornfield. This is an overhead view of the ceremony taking place.


Determine how much space you'll need for the entire event. Consider the size of the tent, catering requirements, and room for the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing. Spend time at the location with your parents and friends to gather additional ideas and suggestions.


If your vendors require power, consult with each of them to understand their specific needs. Renting a generator may be necessary to ensure adequate power supply for the band, DJ, lighting, and catering. Discuss power options with vendors and consider having a backup generator on hand for lights and sound systems.


Research and obtain any necessary permits well in advance. Different areas have varying requirements, so it's crucial to ensure your backyard wedding complies with local regulations. File the necessary paperwork ahead of time to avoid any last-minute issues.


For smaller weddings, using the existing bathrooms in the house might suffice. However, larger outdoor events may require renting portable restrooms. Make arrangements based on the number of guests, and remember to have at least one bathroom stall for every 25 guests.


Consider the weather conditions in your area. If rain or high humidity is common, plan accordingly. Ensure your tent is suitable for all weather conditions and evaluate backup options in case of unexpected rain. Being prepared will ensure a seamless experience for you and your guests.

a bride and groom getting married in their own backyard Image: A bride and groom getting married in their own backyard


Depending on your location, a tent may be essential. If you're in an area with unpredictable weather, a tent provides protection from rain and creates a cozy atmosphere. Research different tent options and consider renting from a company that provides additional rental items like tables, chairs, and glassware.


Evaluate the available parking space for your guests. If there's limited parking on-site, consider nearby public parking lots or ask a neighbor if they have space available. Hiring a shuttle service for pickups and drop-offs can also alleviate parking concerns.


Speak to the property owner or check with your homeowner's insurance to see if you can obtain special day-of coverage for the wedding. Having insurance will provide peace of mind and protect you in case of any unforeseen incidents.


Be considerate of your neighbors and inform them about your wedding plans in advance. Send them a friendly note to let them know about the event and provide earplugs as a gesture. Clear communication and thoughtfulness can help maintain a positive relationship with those around you.


Make a plan for collecting and disposing of trash generated during the event. Coordinate with your caterer or rental company to handle trash removal. Alternatively, purchase extra-large trash cans or pop-up bins for easy and efficient cleanup.

Backup Plan

Always have a backup plan in case of rain or inclement weather. Ensure your tent is large enough to accommodate the ceremony if needed. If you don't have a tent and rain is forecasted, consider moving the ceremony indoors or finding an alternative covered area. Flexibility and preparedness are key.

The Benefits of Throwing a Backyard Wedding

a backyard wedding ceremony taking place near a pond Image: A backyard wedding ceremony taking place near a pond

Cost Savings

One of the key advantages of a backyard wedding is the potential for significant cost savings. By eliminating the need for a traditional venue, you can allocate more of your budget towards other elements of your wedding. Depending on the size and scale, a backyard wedding can be an affordable alternative.

Pet Inclusion

If you and your partner are pet lovers, having a backyard wedding allows you to include your furry friends in your special day. Unlike some traditional venues that don't allow animals, your backyard can be a dog-friendly zone. Picture your beloved pet walking down the aisle as the ring-bearer—a truly unforgettable experience.

Creative Freedom

Decorating the space for your backyard wedding provides a wonderful opportunity for creativity. From planting flowers that match your wedding colors to arranging seating in unique formations, you can design a personalized and magical setting. Outdoor receptions offer various possibilities to make your wedding truly one-of-a-kind.

Flexibility with Dates

Unlike venues that may be booked years in advance, hosting a backyard wedding allows you to choose any available date that works for you. You won't have to worry about losing out on a prime wedding date because you have the freedom to select the perfect day for your celebration.

Relaxed Atmosphere

The intimate setting of a backyard wedding creates a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Without the restrictions of a traditional venue, you and your guests can truly let loose and enjoy the festivities. Consider setting up a lounge area near the bar to encourage mingling and create a cozy ambiance.

Setting Up the Wedding Ceremony and Reception Sites

Wedding Ceremony Site

When selecting the location for your ceremony, consider meaningful backgrounds such as your childhood home or a picturesque tree. Analyze the sun's angles to ensure guests won't be squinting during the ceremony. Apps like Sun Seeker can help determine the optimal positioning for your outdoor exchange of vows.

Wedding Reception Site

Take advantage of the flexibility a backyard wedding offers by getting creative with your reception setup. Long tables with cafe lights, yard games like Giant Jenga or Cornhole, and outdoor bars or lemonade stations are just a few ideas to consider. Make the reception uniquely yours and let your imagination run wild.

Backyard Wedding Rentals Checklist

Here are some essential rental items you might need for your backyard wedding:

  • Tent
  • Tables (for dinner, cocktail hour, desserts, etc.)
  • Chairs for dinner and ceremony
  • Linens for tables
  • Dishes and glassware
  • Portable restrooms
  • Generator and extension cords
  • Centerpieces and decorations
  • Bar equipment
  • Trash and recycling containers
  • Lighting setup
  • Ceremony backdrop

Frequently Asked Questions About Backyard Weddings (FAQ)

How much does a backyard wedding cost?

The cost of a backyard wedding varies depending on various factors. A smaller, more intimate backyard wedding can be done for around $4,000 to $10,000 for 50-60 guests. It's possible to create a beautiful and affordable event by being resourceful and creative with your budget.

Is a backyard wedding tacky?

Not at all! Backyard weddings are unique and can be just as beautiful and memorable as traditional venue weddings. They allow for personal touches and a relaxed atmosphere that many couples and guests appreciate.

Should we hire a wedding planner or plan ourselves?

Hiring a wedding planner can alleviate stress and ensure everything runs smoothly. However, if a planner isn't within your budget, you can plan the wedding yourself or consider hiring a day-of coordinator to oversee the event's logistics and timeline.

What is the best month for an outdoor wedding?

The best month for an outdoor wedding depends on your location and climate. Research average rainfall, temperatures, and humidity for your area to determine the most suitable months. Avoid extreme weather conditions and plan accordingly.

Can a backyard wedding be cheaper?

Yes, a backyard wedding can be a more cost-effective option. By eliminating venue costs, you can allocate your budget towards other elements such as catering, decorations, or photography. The size and scale of your backyard wedding will ultimately determine the overall cost.

Can a backyard wedding be inexpensive?

Absolutely! A completely DIY backyard wedding with homemade decorations, food, and a simple rental tent can be done for around $3,000 for 40-50 guests. With careful planning and resourcefulness, you can create a beautiful and inexpensive backyard wedding.

What kind of food is suitable for a backyard wedding?

Food options for a backyard wedding are versatile. You can choose a fully catered meal, hire food trucks for a casual atmosphere, or even organize a potluck where guests bring their own dishes. The choice depends on your budget, preferences, and the overall vibe you want to create.

What should you wear to a casual backyard wedding?

There are no hard and fast rules regarding attire for a casual backyard wedding. Opt for a traditional white dress, a beautiful yet affordable option from stores like Forever 21 or Lulus, or wear whatever makes you happy. Customize your look to match your style and enjoy the day.

Where can I find photo inspiration for backyard weddings?

For photo inspiration and real-life examples of backyard weddings, check out our blog for a showcase of breathtaking DIY backyard weddings. You can also follow us on Instagram for more wedding photo inspiration, planning tips, and entertaining wedding memes.

With this ultimate guide to planning your dream backyard wedding, you'll have all the information and inspiration you need to create a magical and memorable celebration. Whether you choose a small, intimate gathering or a larger affair, a backyard wedding offers endless opportunities for personalization, creativity, and savings. Remember to enjoy the journey and make your day truly yours.