Planning a wedding is no small feat. With so many things to think about, it can be a stressful and overwhelming task for anyone, especially a bride-to-be! While hiring a venue and planner may be a costly affair, planning your own backyard wedding isn’t as easy (or budget-friendly) as it may seem!
So, as our gift to you, we’ve put together this helpful guide and planning tips so your dream backyard wedding can go off without a hitch. We don’t want to scare you, and perhaps not all of these tips apply to you or your space, but hopefully, they help reduce the stress around your big day!
Space, Tables & Seating for Wedding Guests
If you’re lucky enough to have a big backyard or space to host a lot of people comfortably, our hats go off to you! Not everyone is that lucky, and it can have a huge impact on your wedding guest list. Obviously it helps to have standing food options or creative ceremony seating. Still, you need to consider from the outset how many people you can comfortably fit, BEFORE you send out any invitations. Think about your tables, will you use large, long tables or smaller round options? There’s a multitude of options available; make sure you have the right choice for your yard.
You’ll also want to ensure you have adequate seating, even if your food is canapes and standing options. You’ll have children, elderly guests, and even those who just need a few minutes off their feet; so make sure you have some proper options available for them.
As much as it pains to think about, you want to be prepared for any weather on your wedding day, especially rain. If you don’t have a perfectly romantic barn in your backyard, you’ll need to hire a marquee or quick assemble canopy on standby for any unwanted rain. Measure your space beforehand and map out how your seating arrangements, dance floor and food placements will change. If it’s rainy and cold, you might want to consider outdoor heaters or blankets for guests. It’s your night, but you’re still a host, and you want your guests as comfortable as possible.
Catering and Bar Staff
There are loads of different options for your wedding catering and bar staff. You can hire a catering company to do it all, from cooking and table service to managing a full bar, or have them provide the food and you organise food and bar staff yourself. It’s important to clarify whether any paid staff will stay through the entire night, or just while food is served; you don’t want to get caught out once the dance floor is in full swing! A reputable catered will talk you through the amount of staff needed and other details for the night. Which brings us to our next point.
What food will you provide?
You can hire the best caterer in the world to do the food at your wedding, but without the proper equipment, they won’t have much success. It’s extremely tough to produce food for so many people in a residential kitchen, so for a backyard wedding, it can be best to opt for food-stuck style catering, pre-prepared food or a BBQ.
Something a lot of people don’t consider when planning an at-home wedding is the tableware. We’re talking about every plate, fork, spoon, wineglass, salt shaker and more. The last thing you want to do is run out of cutlery or champagne flutes at your wedding! If you opt for full catering, or you have a very small guest list, it shouldn’t be a problem. For everyone else, however, it can be a big and often painful task.
Map out how many you will need for the food you are providing (and don’t forget dessert!) and make sure you have enough to last you the evening, and then some. Talk to your local equipment hire about costs, delivery & collection, as well as clean-up. Some companies are willing to take them back unwashed, which is a real lifesaver.
Set Up & Pack Up
Unfortunately, when you host a wedding at home, you don’t have the luxury of walking away and having someone else to pack up and clean the venue. The set up is fun and exciting, but after the wedding, trust me, the last thing you newlyweds will want to do is clean up the mess and pack everything away! Even if you’re planning the wedding and organising the pre-setup, see if you can have someone else coordinate everything afterwards, so that you can enjoy the first few blissful days of married life!
Accessibility for guests and caterers
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to accessibility for your big day. Do any guests need wheelchair access? Can everyone access the bathroom easily? Modern venues are built with these things in mind, so when hosting your backyard wedding, they need to be thought about and planned for. One or two bathrooms in your home are enough for a small wedding, but if you have a lot of guests, look into renting portable toilets to ensure there aren’t long queues or any plumbing issues interrupting the night!
Depending on your catering plans, you’ll need to ensure there is adequate room for a truck or setup near the yard. Parking can also be a big issue for weddings. If you don’t have a spare block or enough street parking for guests, you may want to organise a car-pooling situation.
Music, Lights, Photos!
These are probably at the top of most peoples list when they think of things to organise for their wedding; and for a good reason. Music, lights, and photography can make or break the atmosphere and memories of your wedding. Think string lights, soft acoustics, a DJ for later, and you;ve got a full night ahead! Don’t forget to hire (and do a trial) with your wedding photographer to ensure you’re completely thrilled with their work, these are photos you will treasure for the rest of your life. A photo booth is a fantastic and affordable way to bring the party together as well as capture great images of the guests. Even if just for an emergency, it pays to have a generator on hand in case your fuse box can’t take the additional output!
Make sure your yard is prepped!
You want your lawn looking its very best for the big day. Make sure you’ve taken care of any weeds or unsightly areas and opt for clean, green perfection. Edge the lawn, trim any dead tree branches, put down new mulch. Plan to mow the lawn a few days before the party. This will allow grass clippings time to settle into the thatch layer so they won’t end up on guests clothing or tracked into the house and avoid watering the grass for a day or two before the party. If you have pets, be sure to make a final thorough inspection of the lawn for any droppings before you begin setup, and then again the morning of – you don’t want wedding guests taking home that sort of wedding favour!
And last but most certainly not least – consult your neighbours. Chances are they will be more than happy for you (and hoping to catch an invite), but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Make sure they know how many people are coming, where they are parking, and how late you think the music will go on. You want to be on the same page so there’s no unnecessary police visits or tense neighbour relations.
All in all, a backyard wedding can be a magical experience. You can customise or make it a little quirky, but most of all, it’s yours! With careful planning and all the right help, your backyard wedding can be the perfect wedding, at an affordable price tag!
If you’re looking to improve or lay some lush lawn for your upcoming wedding, talk to us at Go Turf. No matter how much or little turf you need, we can supply, deliver and install it for you. Just another thing you won’t need to worry about!
Image via Bridal Musings