Getting married is a major life event that you’ll never forget. If you’re planning to walk down the aisle with that special someone, a backyard wedding is a great way to say your vows and tie the knot on a budget. Whether your outdoor space is large or small, it’s easy to plan a backyard wedding if you know where to start. From summer celebrations, elopements, adventures, to a beautiful autumn ceremony, read on to learn how you can plan your wedding for a special moment right in your own backyard.

How to Get Started: Review the Logistics

Before you pick out favors and décor, start with the logistics. How successful your wedding is will depend on where you live, the time of year, and the weather. Try to nail down a date where you feel confident the weather will hold out for a glorious day.

Red tape. Determine whether or not you need a special license to get married in your backyard, as some locations still require a permit to perform official ceremonies in a private space.

Electrical power. Figure out how to get the right amount of power for music, lighting, and more. An extension cord might do the trick, but be aware that it also poses a tripping hazard. Determine how much equipment will be needed for the wedding so you can get the proper power source set up. You’ll likely need a generator to create power for things like speakers and catering equipment.

Yard prep. Start early getting your yard ready for the big day. Get rid of old dead plants, tree branches, and weeds to create a clean slate for your ceremony and reception. Come up with a layout for seating and the stage now so it’ll be easy to set everything up when the time comes.

wedding guest tags and table

Insurance. Another crucial thing to keep in mind is wedding insurance. You might not think you need it in your own backyard, but it’s good to see what’s covered in case a guest gets injured on your property.

Little practical details. Other things to consider include parking, notifying your neighbors in advance, creating your official wedding program, and having a plan in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Special features. Think about the special features you’ll want to include in your backyard wedding. From a specific theme to your flowers, write down a list of ideas, and tweak them as you go. Do you want an outdoor dance floor or stage? How about separate tables and chairs for the reception? An arch to get married under? Think of planning your backyard wedding the same way you would in any other venue. If you love music, add outdoor speakers so everyone can dance to your favorite tunes. A beautiful fountain can add a nice touch to an outdoor wedding, too. Brainstorm several different features you’d like to see so you can start planning ahead as early as possible.

outdoor wedding reception with natural greenery covering

Plan B. There’s no way you can predict the weather to a T, so be sure you have an alternate “Plan B” in place just in case a storm rolls in. Weather can change in an instant which means you might end up dealing with unexpectedly cold temperatures or a dangerous rainstorm. Draft up a reasonable Plan B where you can move everyone inside your home. If you’re insistent on keeping the celebration outside, reserve a tent that you can use in case of an emergency. Ensure that the sides of the tent are covered to protect everyone from the rain. If the weather happens to be unseasonably hot, have plenty of fans available to keep the air circulation. If it’s cold, stock up on outdoor heaters. Having these safeguards in place will keep your stress level low and the wedding moving along.

Timeline. Wedding planners are experts at creating the perfect timeline, but if you’re doing everything on your own, you’ll need to create a timeline that works. Do your best to schedule the ceremony somewhat early so the skies don’t get dark before you’ve said your vows. Try to avoid too much downtime between the ceremony and reception, since the guests won’t need to travel between venues. If possible, try to schedule your wedding photos before the ceremony begins so you can mingle and visit with guests directly after the ceremony is over. If you can’t get pictures beforehand, consider a few fun backyard games or activities to keep everyone entertained while they wait. Finally, remember to be mindful of your neighbors and try to agree on an official time when the reception will be over. You can always move the party to a local bar or another hot spot later in the night.

Benefits of a Backyard Wedding

Outdoor wedding furniture ideas for a backyard wedding

While a formal venue is always nice, there are plenty of awesome benefits to getting married in your backyard. First and foremost, you’ll save a ton of money on the cost to rent a venue which can run you into the thousands of dollars. That fact alone makes considering a backyard wedding worth the effort! Aside from saving money, here are some other benefits and tips of hosting a backyard wedding:

Your pets can attend. If your pets are part of the family, you can enjoy their company at the wedding. Most venues won’t allow pets, but you can certainly enlist your pooch to be the best man if you decide to get married DIY.

You can host the rehearsal dinner, too. Aside from the wedding itself, you can also host a backyard rehearsal dinner. Have casual food like barbecue catered in, or just cook some food on the grill for your wedding party to enjoy.

A smaller guest list means less money. Since your backyard probably has limited space, that means you can keep your guest list small, too. The fewer guests you have, the less money you’ll need to spend on things like food and entertainment.

Flexibility with dates. Backyard weddings give you the flexibility to choose any date you want to get married. Instead of planning around the “wedding season” to find an open slot, you can pick any day you like to host your own backyard wedding.

Sentimentality. Besides saving money and enjoying a smaller guest list, having a backyard wedding carries quite a bit of sentimental value, too. Imagine saying your vows right in the place where you have wonderful memories. Your guests will probably feel sentimental as well, especially if they’ve spent a lot of time at your home and in your backyard. Getting married in this place can create a very meaningful moment for you and your new spouse.

DIY Décor and Inspiration

backyard wedding decor with elegant blue and white details

  • If you’re planning a backyard wedding, you’re likely already working on other DIY ideas for the theme and décor. Doing everything yourself gives you the freedom to create almost any style of décor using any theme imaginable. Here are some suggestions to inspire you to create a memorable theme with beautiful DIY decorations.
  • Hang outdoor string lights throughout your backyard to create a warm, magical glow when the sun goes down.
  • Laminate some of your favorite photos of you and your better half to protect them from the weather, then display them on rope or string with clothespins, hang them from a tree like a mobile, or turn the fence into a photo gallery.
  • Use texture and patterns outdoors by adding beautiful printed tablecloths or runners over tables. Sheer curtains add a gorgeous, romantic touch to the stage.
  • Get creative with seating, and place a few vintage sofas and chairs outside. If it’s a very casual affair, toss some picnic blankets on the lawn for guests — but make sure you have chairs for the older folks or those who don’t want to sit on the ground.
  • Instead of spending tons of money for custom printed invitations, consider printing them at home or through a local printing service. Create the layout and design using a simple program, then print them in full color on heavy card stock paper.

wedding invitation paper suite with gold ribbon and wedding rings

Blog written by Isabella Caprario. Photos by Courtney Bowlden Photography