How to Get Married in Your Own Backyard

A couple kissing during an outdoor wedding

A lot of people are opting for backyard weddings for their intimacy, affordability, and memorable experiences. Deciding to celebrate your special day in your own backyard definitely has its benefits! However, whether it’s your own house, or a friend’s or family member’s, there is a lot to consider.

Logistics

Choosing to host your wedding in a backyard, whether it’s yours or someone else’s, can seem like the perfect way to cut costs and make the day easier. In reality, backyard weddings have their own set of challenges, logistics being one of them.

Before you make a final decision to open your home to your wedding guests, make sure your yard is actually big enough to accommodate all of the people you plan to invite. And not just your yard, but also your driveway. The logistics of your backyard as a wedding venue also includes the layout of the space, how many chairs and tables you can comfortable fit, the DJ booth, speakers, decorations, and overall flow.

Couple doing paperwork on computer

Permits and Insurance

Although paperwork is not the most exciting part of planning a wedding, it’s important to know which permits you need in order to host your wedding in your backyard. What exact permits you need will depend on where you live. If you’re not sure, call your city and check. For some places, a liquor permit is required if you plan on serving alcohol.

Two other things to think about include insurance for your personal belongings and any rental equipment, liability insurance, and noise restrictions. Every city has their own local bylaws about allowable noise allocations, and specific hours for when outdoor music must be shut down.

Lawn

Outdoor weddings offer gorgeous backdrops full of nature, but having a group of people in your yard can cause quite a bit of damage to your lawn. Expect to do some extra lawn care in the weeks after your wedding.

Before the wedding, remember to spruce up your yard, since everybody will see your lawn. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, consider hiring a professional landscaper.

A couple visiting their neighbor

Neighbors

Unless you live pretty far out in the country, chances are you have neighbors nearby. Hosting a large party in your backyard could be a disturbance to those who live around you, whether it’s people parked on the street, or loud noise. The polite thing to do is alert your neighbors well in advance that you’ll be hosting a backyard wedding.

Restrooms

Depending on how many guests are expected, you might need to rent a portable restroom to accommodate all their needs. For a backyard wedding with only 30-50 people attending, a house that has 2 or 3 bathrooms should be enough. However, if you have a guest list of 100 or more people, you’ll want to look into extra options. Luckily, there are fancier bathroom rental options available these days.

Catering

As with any kind of party, food is a huge factor in keeping your guests happy. For smaller, more intimate weddings, a potluck dinner might be just right. Homecooking is also an option if you’re only expecting a small group of close friends and family. If you’re planning a much larger guest list, you should consider hiring a caterer. That way you don’t have to worry about cooking or even clearing the dishes. Make sure to work with the caterer in advance so they know if they’ll have use of the kitchen or need to provide extra accommodations depending on your menu’s needs.

A string orchestra playing outside at a wedding

Vendors

A lot of people choose to do a backyard wedding because they want to DIY everything. This can be a really difficult task, especially if you don’t round up some help. Think of some things you might want to hire someone else to take care of, like a DJ. Planning a wedding is a big undertaking, but more importantly, you don’t want to be running around taking care of any surprise issues on the day of.

Vendors to consider hiring include a caterer, DJ or live music, photographer, florist, and baker.

Officiant

Be sure to let the officiant you want to hire know that you are planning a backyard wedding. Not all officiants are willing to give you their blessing outside of their place of worship.

Weather

You should always have a backup plan whenever you arrange an outdoor event in case of bad weather. If you’re planning on hosting a wedding in your backyard, and it starts to rain, are you able to go inside? Or will you rent tents? Plan this out well in advance so you don’t have to panic on the day of your wedding.

Cleanup

Usually when you have your wedding ceremony and reception are at a venue, they take care of the cleanup. If you’re planning on hosting it at your house, you need to figure out who’s going to take care of the cleanup afterwards. You could opt to do it yourself, but that wouldn’t be a very fun way to spend the first moments of your honeymoon. For a smaller wedding, consider enlisting the help of your close friends and family, or for a larger wedding, look into hiring a cleaning service to get it done.

Additional Resources
Find Amazing Vendors