Backyard Wedding Tips
Editorial Category: 
Thursday, May 23, 2019

What You Need For A Backyard Wedding

Welcome to The Bride Link podcast, your home for expert wedding planning advice! Today we're talking about what you need for planning a backyard wedding.

So if you're planning on having your wedding at your private property in your own home, this is the perfect podcast for you. First off and foremost, let's talk about some very, very important things. The number one thing that might be missing if you're planning on having a wedding in your own space is the appropriate number of bathrooms. this is a pretty important thing to have covered! Depending on how your house is laid out and depending on your guest count, you need to make sure that the number of bathrooms you have can accommodate that many people. It might be especially concerning if you're on something like a septic tank. If you're going to have too many people or you don't want them trafficking inside your home, or you're just kind of worried about the layout of the house. For example, maybe most of your bathrooms are upstairs, or through bedrooms, you might want to consider port-a-potties.

Ugh, I know! A Port-A-Potty doesn't sound like the fanciest thing for a wedding, but they do actually have really, really nice ones available. I've seen restroom trailers with hardwood floors inside and even a hand-painted portrait hanging beautifully on the wall. These are available for outdoor events, are air-conditioned and overall very nice...they're just pretty expensive. So be prepared for the expense and remember you're probably going to need one for men, one for women. Don’t forget that you may even need one that's handicap accessible.

Something else that can be pretty much a premium if you're doing a backyard wedding is kitchen space. If your event's going to be catered, you need to talk with your caterer about what's going to be needed. What is the required amount of countertop space? Do they need power outlets to use an oven or microwave, oven, sink, or anything like that? They'll need to be able to wash their hands to comply with safety standards and to keep your guests from getting sick. Although some catering companies are equipped to do a wedding in the middle of a field, and they're prepared for that, they just need to know in advance.

Kitchen space is definitely a concern, especially if it's needed and your kitchen is really small or really hard to access. Other things that you're going to want is renting a tent. You can't chance it with inclement weather. Just go ahead and pretend like there's a 50, 50 chance on your wedding day that it might rain so spring for a tent. That way you have the option to cover your guests and you don't have enough room inside your home. You're also going to need other hard goods like tables, chairs, and lighting. Adequate lighting is very commonly overlooked. If you don't have tons of lighting in your backyard, you need to think not only about lighting underneath the tent or in the reception area, but also lighting that can lead to wherever the parking is, if it's a long treck.

Someone also needs to look into renting generators as a power source because you’ll need power from multiple different points. If you pull too much power from one area its possible you can overload a fuse. Imagine all the light and music suddenly going off in the middle of your reception. We absolutely suggest calling and getting prices to rent generators. You’ll also need to understand that some generators can be noisy. Remember to ask questions about that when calling. How noisy are they? Do they have generators designed specifically to be quieter? Usually, higher-end models tend to be a little bit quieter. Lastly, when you're renting them, don’t forget to mention it's for a wedding! You’re definitely going to need some quiet time during the ceremony. As a wedding planner. I've asked food trucks that were using generators to turn them off for the ceremony because there were so loud you could just hear anyone talking. I think they totally hated me for it! So generators and power sources are definitely going to be addressed.

Next, you need to think about the landscape of your backyard. One, literally the landscaping, do you need to plant some bushes or some flowers? Or anything to make it look pretty and wedding appropriate? Two, you will need lots and lots of flat walkable space to be able to have a reception. If you have a hillside that's a little bit steep, consider guests who are wearing heels who would not be able to walk around without falling!

If you decide to use a rental company for your tent, you’ll need to talk to them in advance. A lot of times when doing a tent installation at a private residence, they're going to want to come on site and take some measurements beforehand. That way they can give you their best recommendations for sizing of your tent and if it's even possible to set up. Keep in mind things, if it rains before your tent is set up, the ground will still be soggy and wet. These are all things you’ll need to consider before you even plan your layout.

Now, let's have a chat about...bugs! Many wedding venues charge what they charge because they maintain their property for ideal party conditions. This may include a monthly plan with an exterminator to come to spray the area so guests aren’t attacked by mosquitoes around or flies. Definitely look into either having cans of bug spray around at the bare minimum and some citronella candles as well. Ideally reaching out to an extermination company and talking to them about having an outdoor event and requesting them to come to spray your property, if it's allowed that is. That way the bugs are nonexistent on the big day!

Something else that you need to think about is parking. Do you have enough parking? You need to expect at least one car for every couple. So if you're inviting 200 people,  if 200 people are coming to your wedding, you’ll need parking for about a hundred cars. When you're looking at that, don't necessarily just assume they can park in a field or wide open area. Go walk the field yourself and see if you have difficulties. For your guest to be able to get to and from that area it will need to be easy to walk for anyone in wedding attire and should also be easy to navigate. You should consider hiring somebody to offer valet services. Make sure any valet have enough space to fit all the cars.The last thing you want to do is line the streets with cars and the hundredth car pulls in and they ended up parking like six blocks away from your house because there's just not enough parking available. Another option is shuttle companies that can have people shuttled in while they park off-site.

Now let's talk about how upset your neighbors are going to be with you? Neighbors are really one of the number one things you need to worry about when you're having an event in your home. Because if you upset them, they might call the cops and then the cops might come and shut the whole thing down. So definitely work with your neighbors beforehand and let them know what you're thinking. That way if there's anybody that has objections, you already know what the objections are and who is objecting beforehand. Common objections I see in both private weddings, as well as wedding venues that are also residences, are parking is one, traffic, trash, and noise. So consider all these factors when you're comparing having an event at your private location versus just renting a wedding venue.

Here are a few more tips zx about the noise. Noise is probably the number one complaint that we hear with private events. You need to talk to your neighbors beforehand and you need to look into any local ordinances. Some places ordinance stipulate quite times starting at 9 pm other locations its 10 pm. It kinda just depends on the city or county that you're in and your HOA as well. Speaking about HOAs, there are all kinds of administrative stuff that you need to worry about if you are having a party and more specifically a wedding at your own home.

One insurance and liability, my goodness, is there some liability associated with having an open bar at your private residence and serving 100 people plus alcohol! Make sure that you cover all of your bases with your insurance agent and be completely upfront with them about what you're doing. You also might have to look into permits with either your city or your county ordinance and you might have to get permission from your HOA if you have one. Do all of these things first before you start planning, purchasing, putting deposits down or sending out your invitations. The last thing I want you to do is to start planning your backyard wedding just to find out that there's absolutely no way possible for you to have it there. You're just not allowed to do it.

Other than that, the last thing you're going to have to do is clean your house because you've got a hundred guests coming over!

If you need more expert wedding planning advice, just follow us @thebridelink!

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