So you’re considering a back yard wedding? Maybe it’s the low cost that’s enticing to save on venue budgets. Maybe your family owns a gorgeous space that will bring your wedding visions to life? Maybe you want to keep it simple with an elopement vibe in your backyard? Whatever you have in mind it’s important to know ALL the facts and consider all costs before locking it down. To keep it real, I’m not a wedding planning expert, but I’m a photographer that’s seen it all! I’m excited to share some pointers and things to consider.
Not in any particular order… Here are some things that no body warns you about, before it’s too late!
PARKING: Where are your guests going to park? Are you in a residential area? Somewhere on the edge of a hiking trail in a National Park? Often times local churches allow parking and some schools may require parking permits for their special use. You may encourage guests to carpool, although many don’t and even with a guest list of 50 people it would be easy to expect 20+ vehicles including vendors. Shuttling may be required.
Key Tip: Today many guests rely on uber + lyft. Does your venue have cell service for them to reach these services?
RESTROOMS: Yep, you’re gunna need extra toilets. It’s just a given. It’s important to consider hiring a company like Luxury Mobile Restrooms or if you need to look into porta-potties consider where you’re placing them. It’s always a good idea to keep them a safe distance from the event so it’s not in the background of your photos.
SOUND: Does your neighborhood or desired location have a sound curfew or specific sound ordinance? It’s always best to invite or keep your neighbors updated with your event. You don’t want them calling the cops to shut down your wedding by 9:00pm!
Key Tip: Consider an after party after your intimate back yard wedding. Yes, you’re going to want to keep the party rolling!!! Totally understandable! Think about keeping the party going off your grandpa’s property and continue the drunk shenanigans at a local pub or night club. Rock your dress all night long!
POWER: Think about plugs and electricity before confirming your venue. It may be helpful to start with a DJ to ask what they need and consider bringing out an electrician to get a better scope of the available options. You’re going to need a power source for your DJ, photographer’s reception lighting, string lighting, photo booth and possible bar tending needs. Sometimes garden light plugs don’t have enough wattage to support these. Just something to think about and prep before the big day!
WEATHER: I am the QUEEN of optimism, but I also love to be prepared. What happens if it pours the day of your wedding? What if your wedding day is clear with blue skies, but sandwiched between a storm leaving squishy and muddy grass or puddles? What’s your back up plan? Typically tents are a huge expense, but even worse than that is trying to book them the week of your wedding to find out their completely sold out! Consider the wind, cold temps and even the heat! Yes, these conditions are out of your control, but preparing and putting the needs of your guests first are so important.
LOGISTICS: What does the flow of your wedding look like? When guests arrive where are they gunna hang out while they wait? Close family will want to linger and get sneak peeks! Are you okay with early guests coming to see you before the ceremony? Will there be refreshments and a designated area for them to chill before the ceremony? What happens if guests are late? Will they interrupt the ceremony trying to park or join? Typically estate weddings tend to be more relaxed, if you want any type of order like keeping guests out of the backyard until a certain time or no one allowed in the house, designate some key players to help spread the word and usher guests as needed.
Key Tip: No matter how much you prepare + plan family members are going to arrive early. Most do and your Aunt Mary is going to want to see you before the ceremony! Just roll with it and embrace the fact that everything is going to be okay… you’re on your way to marrying your best friend! Little logistics can’t ruin your parade!
VENDOR DETAILS: Will there be an unloading location or specific parking for them? Where will your vendors place their gear? Are they allowed in the home all hours of the day and into the night? They will need a safe, weather proof location to keep their gear and preferably somewhere they can access without a key all day. Also, where will they eat? It’s always best to feed your vendors when you eat!
Key Tip: It may be a good idea to seat them at their own table with your wedding guests! Sometimes no shows happen (although it’s a total bummer!) or there are tables with only a few guests. Add your vendors to that table with the random coworkers or extended-extended cousins! They’ll be so thankful to take a seat without feeling like they’re missing anything like speeches!
COORDINATION: You may be planning your wedding in your new forever home or at your Aunt’s estate, but don’t skimp on the luxury of day of coordination. Setting up tables + chairs, ceremony logistics and tear down are important tasks to consider before hand. No matter how much you prepare and organize it will be a huge stress reliever to have a trusted, get her done right hand crew to help keep things moving along!
Key Tip: It’s always a good idea to invest in a bar service. Having guests serve themselves sounds like a recipe for disaster and you’ll want things streamlined without having the kid you used to babysit or a fun uncle pouring drinks! Here’s a few of my favorite bar services to check out! You just supply the alcohol and they cover the rest! A Twist of Lime, Pour Girl, Copper and Crystal DON’T FORGET ICE!
Happy Planning! If you have more questions or anything to add, I would LOVE to know!
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