Backyard weddings and Air Bed and Breakfast weddings can be amazing. But if you’re dreaming about a backyard wedding, you have to carefully consider if you really will be able to organize one and be happy with the result. There are so many issues to consider and so many tasks to accomplish, like infrastructure, parking, wedding meal, restrooms, etc. But smart wedding planning will do wonders and turn your marriage ceremony into an open-air dream wedding with picturesque wedding photos, homey atmosphere, creative wedding decor, limited amount of rules – and you can have all that with a little budget.
Remember that if you’re planning to have a backyard or air B&B wedding, all of the arrangements fall on your shoulders. Wedding venues do a lot of work regarding the wedding prep – that’s why they earn a mint, actually. But when you’re organizing the wedding all by yourself, you have to think about dozens of little things and consider every aspect, among which are restrooms, shade, parking, outdoor kitchen, electricity, possible neighbors’ complaints, and so on. So, let us talk about these important issues in detail.
You have to carefully consider whether there is enough room in the yard for the wedding guests and the needed locations (wedding aisle, seats, food stations, etc). Some yards are just too small and you physically can’t jam everything you need there. So, you need to measure the territory (not just roughly calculate in your head but physically measure with a tape) and count how many tables can fit there and how many square meters there is on every guest.
Another important issue is logistics. Consider how the guests will get to the backyard (is there a passageway around the house or will they have to go through the house?), how the food and drinks will be delivered, where the restrooms will be, if the gates are big enough for everyone and everything to pass, and so on. You might not want dozens of guests wandering through your home and having access to every room in the house.
If it’s a Bed and Breakfast, discuss with the owner where the guests are allowed and how many people the place can house.
This is very serious. A backyard wedding needs a lot of power, especially when you plan to party until it’s dark. The lighting has to be enough, the kitchen and dance floor (DJ or live music or even music systems) need a lot of power, the kitchen also needs running water, as do the restrooms. Be ready to provide all the infrastructure for your vendors, and don’t forget to discuss this matter with them beforehand.
There are places that don’t have electricity at all or not enough to provide for all of the users. In this case, you can bring a generator, but notice that it makes a very loud noise, so you’ll need to put it far enough from the party itself.
Wedding insurance. Do you need it?
With a backyard wedding, yes, you do. There are so many mishaps that can happen during a wedding that you will feel much more relaxed if you buy insurance. From bad weather ruining your open-air celebration to tipsy wedding guests getting hurt (for example, someone may step into a mole hole or an uneven ground and get a sprained ankle or someone may get a sunstroke, etc). If you’re organizing a wedding by yourself, always protect your risks. Besides, wedding insurance isn’t that expensive. Here’s an article on this topic with all the details you need: Who needs wedding insurance and who doesn’t?
What you absolutely need to think about is the ground in your backyard. It has to be level for the tables to sit tight and for the guests to walk safely and easily. Also, think about the surface – usually, it’s grass, so don’t forget to forewarn your lady guests to wear comfy shoes (because grass and high heels don’t fit).
A lot of properties today have fully equipped backyard kitchens. If you do have one, it will be a lot easier to organize a wedding in the yard. If not, your vendor will have to bring some equipment and build a small kitchen area. Cook tops, ovens, fridges, counters – all that is a must to cook and serve a meal for, say, 100 guests.
There is another option if you don’t have room or tight on a budget – food trucks. They need little place and are able to cook inside the truck and serve food from a service window.
In case this option is not for you and you would prefer something more sophisticated for your wedding dinner, go for the so-called “drop catering”. It means that a vendor cooks all the food elsewhere (in the restaurant or cafe) and brings ready food to your backyard. They only need to serve the dishes to wedding guests. But you’ll have to set the exact time for a meal to be delivered.
The more people you have invited for your backyard or air B&B wedding, the more restrooms there has to be available for them. You need 1 restroom for about 35-50 guests. So, make sure there are enough toilets and sinks for everybody so that your wedding guests didn’t feel miserable standing in a long line.
Also, consider where these restrooms will be – some families don’t want the guests to use the ones in the house because people tend to create a mess everywhere. Instead, you can rent restroom trailers. Don’t worry, there is a wide choice of them on the market and they can be really fancy and comfy to use. But obviously, it will cost you some extra (about $1,000).
Parking is a real headache when you’re having a backyard wedding. With B&B weddings, it may be a bit easier but not always. Usually, private properties don’t have a large parking lot, so you need to think about it. Count the approximate number of cars – the standard formula is appr. 1 car for every 2 people + vendors (wedding planner, photographer, videographer, florist, food vendors, etc). If you have a lot of land – for instance, your wedding is on a ranch or something like that – no problem with parking. But if there is no place for all those cars near your house, there are options you can use.
For example, you can search for the closest parking lot and rent it for a day or two. Or it can be the barren ground, but also hire security in this case. You’ll have to pay for a shuttle or taxi for your guests to go back and forth between your place and the parking, especially if it’s far. If this parking is near, that’s great and convenient.
If you still choose to park the cars in your neighborhood, at least think about your neighbors. They need to get to their driveways easily. You can talk with them beforehand and warn them about the future wedding, apologize for the discomfort you’ll cause, maybe ask for their permission to park next to their driveways, and so on. Otherwise, they might call the police on you.
Communication with neighbors
By the way, discuss not just the parking but any inconveniences with your neighbors. Try to negotiate and make them understand your situation. Talk about the cars, the noise, tipsy wedding guests, and so on. Especially consider your immediate neighbors because they’ll suffer the most from your party.
Remember that there are noise restrictions and they’re different for different areas, so find out about your neighborhood. And in this case, a good talk with people living next to you may help as well. Believe us, you don’t want cops to appear at your wedding and ruin the celebration.
A lot of people would appreciate your thinking about their comfort and would be pleased so much that they’ll be patient and let you have your big day the way you want it to be. Sometimes, neighbors just want to be notified, to know that their well-being matters to you (even if in reality it doesn’t, they don’t need to know that). Anyway, you will have a lot fewer problems with your neighbors if you talk to them before the actual wedding day.
Tent or shade
Some couples get a tent for their backyard wedding. It is a convenient thing because it provides protection from the sun and rain. But tents are rather costly, so consider if you need one and can afford it. Some yards can’t even house a tent, as it’s big. So, if you choose to have one, measure at first whether it fits.
Still, it’s good to have at least some kind of shade in the backyard, especially if your wedding is in summer or in a hot climate. By the way, we’ve got an article about summer wedding planning.
These were the most important things you should consider if you’re dreaming about a backyard or air B&B wedding. Of course, you’ll have many more issues to work through than with a classic wedding, but it is worth it. Backyard weddings can look so adorable and cute! And also, you can plan whatever you want in your yard, decorate it in any style, hire any vendors, create your perfect dream wedding from scratch. Because a lot of venues have restrictions that won’t let you have what you’d like to. If you’re not afraid of a whole lot of planning or can hire a wedding planner to help you, think about a backyard wedding.