How to Plan a Backyard Wedding

A bride and groom sitting at the head of the table outside with their wedding guests throwing confetti in the air.

Backyard weddings can be beautiful and comfortable. With a backyard wedding, you call the shots. There’re no venue rules, no pack-up times, and no ugly venue carpeting. It’s just you, your guests, and the fresh air. But because the backyard wedding is more freeform, there are also planning steps to take that are unique to this type of celebration. There are the issues of space, lighting, dinner prep, etc. A good venue should run like a well-oiled machine, so when it comes to planning a backyard wedding, you should aim for this kind of ease. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Rain Plans

A backyard with a white tent set up for a wedding reception.

First and foremost, you need to make a rain plan. If you have no rain plan, guests will be forced to squeeze into the house. To avoid forcing your guests to squish together, rent a tent. Also plan for small rain accoutrements like umbrellas and towels, just in case. If the house can fit a ceremony space, then great! Consider setting up plan B inside. Your guests will feel grateful as they watch the backyard turn into a lake from the comfort of your home.

Communication with Home Owners

Let’s say your backyard wedding is taking place in your parents’ backyard. You’ll want to talk through with them all their rules and boundaries. This can include how much they’re willing to alter their yard and which bathrooms the guests are allowed to use. This way, there will be no confusion or questioning on the big day. If the backyard and home are yours, it’s still important to talk to your partner and discuss little details. The more of an idea you have about where everything will and can go, the better off you’ll be.

Start Yard Prep Early

A woman planting pink flowers in a garden bed.

Once you decide you’re having a backyard wedding, it’s a good idea to start working outside right away. This way any flowers or plants you put in will be flourishing by the time of your wedding. Once you’ve talked through any changes with the home owners, you can start beautifying the yard. You could also start spraying the yard for bugs, talking through a plan with a mosquito prevention company. They might suggest you spray a few times, so you’ll need to have time for the cycle to be complete.


Another part of any backyard wedding planning is housing guests. Will your guests stay at the house? Likely, there isn’t enough room for all the guests, but will you have any at all stay with you? These are questions you need to ask yourself before the big day. Start pricing nearby hotels and try to get a rough estimate for those who’ll likely want to stay overnight.


A dance floor in the evening with lights.

Backyard receptions are a bit different, so you’ll want to think this part through. Think about what your reception space looks like. Will the dancing and eating take place in the same area as the ceremony? If so, you’ll want to allow time for changing scenes. While this is going on, make sure you provide somewhere for your guests to go and something for them to do. It’s possible to shift things around while guests are still in the yard if you plan for the change to be simple enough. Plan just enough so that the shift goes easily and your guests aren’t bored.

Backyard weddings can be beautiful and simple. But just like any wedding, they can take some real thought and time to plan out. Think of your backyard wedding as you would any other and start early with your plans. After that, all that’s left to do is get hitched!

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