Should You Have a Backyard Wedding? 7 Questions to Ask Yourself

A bride and groom standing next to a wall at their backyard wedding.

Backyard weddings can be some of the most beautiful, fun, and intimate ways to celebrate you and your partner joining together in marriage. But what if you’re not sure if a backyard wedding is right for you? Here are some questions to ask yourself as you consider whether or not to host your own celebration!

1. Do you have enough space?

Depending on the size of wedding and amount of guests you’re looking for, it’s important to know if you logistically have enough space to host the type of wedding that you want. Remember, you’ll need to have enough space not just for guests to sit and eat, but also for the ceremony, for dancing (if you choose to include this in your day), for tables for food, gifts, the guestbook, and more. And it’s not just in the yard itself where you need to consider the space you have available—consider your options for guest parking, vendor parking, work space, and more. Really take a look and make sure you truly feel comfortable with the amount of space needed to accommodate everything you’re hoping to have for your wedding day.

2. Are you comfortable limiting the guest list, if necessary?

A table set up for a backyard wedding reception.

Even with a large and spacious backyard, hosting a wedding at a home generally means you will have to limit your guest list a bit, both for space concerns and for logistics we discussed above, such as parking. You’ll also need to think about the facilities for your guests—will they be using the restrooms in the home or will you rent some portable options for the day? If your home has a septic tank, know that most can’t support too many people, so it’s a good idea to rent something if you’re planning on having a lot of guests. The last thing you want is a septic tank issue in the middle of your wedding!

3. What is your budget for the big day?

Although utilizing a backyard space for your wedding will absolutely save you money in venue fees, of course, it’s important to remember that you’ll likely need to consider some costs that you may not necessarily need at a traditional venue. You’ll need to rent a lot more than you might at another location, so it’s important to account in your budget for rental fees for things like tables, chairs, and even dishware and cutlery.

4. Do you want to hire someone or DIY it?

A bride and groom hugging at their backyard wedding surrounded by candles and twinkle lights.

Many couples assume that having a backyard wedding automatically means they’ll need to do all of the planning and executing themselves, but backyard weddings are actually a perfect option for utilizing a wedding planner, if you want one. A wedding planner will be able to consult on placement of the space, decor and vendor options, and just generally help move things along smoothly on your big day. The good news, though, is if you’d rather just get it all done yourself (with the help of family and friends), that’s a possibility too! Just sit down and take a look at your options and see what kind of workload is reasonable for you and your people to take on, and what might be better passed along to a professional.

5. Do you have the time and resources for the set-up and take-down?

The nice thing about using a wedding-specific venue is that there is often already a plan in place for most if not all of the set-up and take-down process. If you’re having a backyard wedding and you’re doing it mostly DIY, it’s very likely that you’ll have to do almost all of the work yourself or with the help of whomever you hire or ask to assist you. The bigger issue to think about, though, is that all of this will be happening right at your home (or someone else’s), so you need to be prepared for the few days before and after your wedding to include a home bustling with activity. This can be an awesome way to spend more time with the people you love—but it can also be an additional stressor for you, so make sure you think about this before you move forward with the plan.

6. What’s your plan for inclement weather?

A white event tent set up in a backyard for a wedding reception in case of inclement weather.

If you’re planning a backyard wedding because you have a super spacious and beautiful yard, what’s the plan if nature gets in the way? Do you have a location in place to transition the event indoors? Or is there adequate space for a heavy-duty tent that will sufficiently cover all the guests? This is an important thing to make sure you have settled before your event, so you’re not caught in a surprise storm with nowhere to take your party!

7. Do you have the necessary permits and insurance?

It’s a good idea to ensure that you’re set as far as insurance and permits needed for your celebration. Are there noise ordinances in your area that you should be aware of? Do you need any additional permits for street parking? You should also check with your homeowners insurance to see what’s covered and if it includes any third party liability, just in case.

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