If getting married in the backyard surrounded by flowers, nature, and, of course, your nearest and dearest, sounds your kind of thing, then get prepared for some serious planning. Backyard weddings may be glorious (and, let’s face it, way less expensive than a lot of the alternatives), but if you want the ceremony to go without a hitch, you’ll need to get your behind into gear well in advance of the big day.
Cozy up to the neighbors
Unless you want the ceremony to be interrupted by a gang of angry neighbors, it’s best to give them plenty of advance notice about your plans. As well as being “the right thing to do”, it will also help avoid any logistical nightmares if any of them are planning events on the same day. If someone’s hosting a big family gathering, for example, you might want to check how this will impact on the available parking- two households welcoming a large number of visitors might result in the need for more parking spaces than the street can handle. Equally, if someone’s planning a big cookout in their own yard, you may want to see if they can rearrange to another day to avoid your romantic ceremony being spoiled by the smell of barbecue meat.
Before you even think of hiring a caterer, check whether you need to get the green light from the homeowner’s association beforehand. “Weddings are rather massive events. Before you commit to a backyard wedding, check with the HOA to ensure that you’re not violating any regulations. Things from parking to quiet hours to decorations may all be strictly monitored,” Smith-Garcia, the homeowners association website editor, told the Huff Post.
Prepare the Garden
Half the fun of a backyard wedding is getting to say your vows in a beautiful, fragrant oasis. If your garden is more eyesore than paradise, make sure you get it up to speed well in advance of the big day. Weeds should be plucked, rosebuds deadheaded, the lawn mown, and the flowerbeds prepped. If the yard looks a little bare, it may be worth buying in some planters and extra flowers from your local garden center to really up the wow factor. You may also want to think about adding some extra pieces of garden furniture to enhance the yard’s aesthetic and add a little extra functionality– the Budget-Savvy Bride recommends some patio porch swings for both their great look and the added seating they’ll provide.
Plan for the Weather
While it may be nice to think the gods will be smiling down on your wedding day, it pays to plan for the worst weather while hoping for the best. Get a contingency plan in place in case of a sudden downpour – a tent or canopy needn’t cost the earth and trust us when we say your guests will be grateful for your forethought if the skies should open.
Create an Ambiance
Just because you’re holding your wedding in your backyard doesn’t mean you have to rely solely on the chirping of birds for your musical accompaniment, and the sun and the stars for your lightening. Create a memorable ambiance by introducing some soft outdoor lighting (strings of fairy lights draped through the trees will look stunning for an evening event), and don’t forget to make sure your playlist is up to date with your favorite romantic tunes.
Think about the Practicalities
Depending on how big your guest list is and how small your house is, you may need to think about introducing some additional toilet facilities. Few guests will thank you if they spend the majority of your big day stuck in a never-ending queue for the bathroom. These days, there are tons of upscale, discreet portable toilets that come with everything from mirrors and lightening to sinks and heated towel rails. Make them even more comfortable by introducing some homely little touches like luxury hand sanitizer, fluffy towels, breath fresheners, safety pins, and cotton balls.
Keep it Clean
Don’t underestimate just how much trash a group of 20+ people can accumulate over the course of a day. Make sure you bring in plenty of trash and recycling bins to accommodate the increased requirements, and if possible, put someone on trash collection/ emptying duty throughout the day to avoid the bins overflowing (if you’re bringing in outside caterers, this is usually a service they provide, although check in advance if there’s an extra charge).
Bring in Reinforcements
Don’t underestimate just how stressful and demanding a wedding can be- while it may be tempting to think you can manage everything yourself, don’t take on more than you can chew. Even the most well organized, multi-tasking alpha couples can crack under the strain of planning a wedding, so don’t feel shy about asking for help, wherever and whenever needed. If you have the kind of big, helpful family that love to get involved, don’t be afraid to take advantage of their offers by assigning them each a role in proceedings (they’ll probably love to feel they’re contributing to your big day, regardless of what you give them to do). If your mother is an expert baker, ask if she could help with the wedding cake. If your brother loves to feel important and/ or wave his arms around in front of moving vehicles, put him on parking duty. If your family isn’t the kind to get their hands dirty, you may want to consider calling in the professionals. One of the main draws of a backyard wedding is the cost savings it has over other options… which means you should have a few dollars to spare for a caterer, a dishwasher, or even a full-blown wedding planner. Remember, your wedding is the most special day of your life, and if it’s likely to go smoother with a little bit of help from your friends (whether paid or otherwise), then be sure to bring them on board.