What to Rent for a Backyard Wedding

A white vintage table at a backyard wedding.

Backyard weddings have definitely become a hit in the last few years—and for a good reason. The concept combines many of the latest trends such as sustainability and low-key celebrations. It’s also a popular choice for budget-friendly couples as backyard weddings are likely to save you a lot of money in the venue department. Let’s be honest—whether you rent an outdoor space or use your own backyard, it will be far cheaper to do so than having a reception at a hotel or similar event setting.

If you’re keen on saving money, renting all the event essentials for your special day can help trim your costs rather significantly. For starters, keep in mind that this is a one-time occasion, so buying everything new without a plan to use it again can put a decent dent in your wallet. (Not to mention, it’s also not the most sustainable option if you’re the environmental type.)

Even if you push the money subject aside, there are a few key must-haves that you’ll need to have at your party, especially if you’re hosting a wedding at a private home. So, if you’re planning a backyard wedding, consider these key rental categories when setting up your special-day venue.

Furniture

Furniture probably comes to mind first when thinking about wedding rentals. Unless you’re having a very small wedding, it’s unlikely you’ll have enough tables and chairs for all your guests. And you’ll likely need a second set of chairs for the ceremony alone.

In addition, it’s worth considering adding extra furniture to your rental list, which includes extra cocktail tables (high and low), as well as comfy lounge furniture such as sofas, coffee tables, and rugs. Feel free to add a few blankets and pillows, too.

With all of the above, do prioritize function over fashion, as no one wants to spend the entire night in a wobbly chair not made for the outdoors. You may also want to have a few extra tables for gifts, favors, and the guest book.

An Indoor Area

A white tent at a backyard wedding.

Whatever the weather may be, you should always be prepared for the worst. It is always a great idea to have some sort of indoor space that allows your guests to escape the rain, sunshine, or even wind. Since it’s uncommon for most homes to be able to house a large party, you will want to rent an enclosed or covered tent just in case.

And if you really think the weather may turn sour, you might also want to consider either heaters, fans, fire pits, or portable ACs.

Dishes, Glassware, and Utensils

Depending on the size of your guest list, it will likely be cheaper to rent dishes and silverware than buying them from scratch. (How often will you need 30+ plates?) With wine glasses and stemware, you can inquire about rentals from large wine shops. If you make a large purchase with them, you can often borrow glassware for free!

Outdoor Lighting

A backyard wedding reception decorated with lights.

Lighting is commonly forgotten until it’s too late. This is why it’s important to double-check your planned venue for how well lit it is after sunset. You want your guests to focus on the party instead of worrying about stepping into a ditch, right? Lighting options for the outdoors are quite endless, believe it or not. String lights are a popular choice, but you can also opt for something fancier such as chandeliers, or something more fun like lanterns and tiki torches. If you choose to have something beyond the basics, inquire if the rental service will install the lights for you as well—most rental companies will offer this service.

Extra Toilets

If you’re hosting a marriage ceremony and/or wedding reception with over 20 guests, or if you have limited access to indoor facilities, you will definitely need to consider renting portable bathrooms. These don’t have to be plain old Porta Potties—there are plenty of classier bathroom rentals available these days that are suitable for even high-end events. You can take things up another notch by adding decor and essentials such as hairspray, lotion, and deodorant to the counters. And make sure to tack on a couple of extra hand washing stations as well.

Catering Equipment

While many catering services will bring the majority of their own cookware, this isn’t always the case. Always inquire if your catering company will bring their own serving trays, chafing dishes, etc. Unless the catering service will have access to a kitchen, you might also want to set up a separate tent for the cooking staff.

Depending on what you’re serving, you may need an extra fridge, pantry for food storage, grills or BBQs, or maybe something as simple as a coffee maker. For this reason, always think through your reception menu well before the big day.

Linens

Believe it or not, when it comes to tablecloths and napkins, it’s better to rent. It is simply not worth it to spend your money or personal time cleaning, pressing, and folding all of it. And just like with the dishes, you will unlikely need this amount of linens again in the near future.

Generators

Electrical capacity is also often overlooked when planning a party at a private home. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the average home isn’t capable of handling a massive gathering. All the extra lighting, speakers, catering equipment, and other non-standard additions can give your electrical meter a serious hit. Trust us—no one needs a blackout on their special day.

For this reason, it’s highly recommended that you rent a generator or two, depending on the size of the party. Many home improvement stores, such as Home Depot or Lowe’s, offer this service and you can consult one of their staff to determine exactly how much power you’ll need.

Find Amazing Vendors