Time and time again, I've seen many couples get disappointed over the idea of postponing their weddings. Determined to not postpone their special day, many are opting for a backyard wedding. After scrolling through Facebook page after Facebook page dealing with NJ brides, I saw that the brides who did not compromise and have their backyard gig found it to be a huge success. One common thread that I did notice was that the decor was cut back, there was not as much floral arranging, and the DJ had a small setup to fit the space.
What if I told you that you can make your backyard wedding on the same scale as your venue wedding? The trick is to think differently about what you would normally pay for in a venue wedding. The backyard is a BLANK canvas, so accommodations that are normally included, are not.
With that said, let's get down to business!
Tip #1: Find tents and furniture rentals
Party rental companies are booming from the pandemic. Depending on the company, they can offer your standard tent, seating, trash bins, heating/cooling, etc. These items normally come standard.
If you are having trouble finding the right rental company, ask your friendly neighborhood planner or DJ. Your DJ company may offer their own furniture rentals or know someone in their network they can work with. DJ furniture rentals can include LED furniture or nightclub-like pieces to spice up your event. Having a backyard event does not always have to equate to being "rustic." Most DJs have open photo booths conducive to outdoor setups. Some companies even provide their own champagne wall.
If you're going rustic, find a furniture rental company dedicated to rustic pieces. They may even have some props you can borrow as well, such as lanterns, typewriters, and backgrounds for your photo booth.
If you want to own the rustic wedding theme, contact your local farm for some hay, pumpkins, and gourds. You can use hay as an alternative to seats or stack them to look like a couch.
Credit: Maria Grace Photography
If you want to have a lounge area with an unconventional tent setup, consider glamping. There are furniture rental companies dedicated to glamping.
Tip #2: Hire Catering, food trucks, and/or mobile bars
In most cases, catering comes with the venue. Now that your backyard is the venue, this gives you the chance to get the exact foods you want to have for your big day. Most catering companies opt for American or Italian food with some fusion twists.
If you want to get super specific with the kind of food, find a food truck or ask your favorite restaurant if they cater.
Top it all off with a mobile coffee bar for a late night pick-me-up. If you do not go with a catering company, hire a mobile bar to enhance the drinking experience.
Tip #3: Alter the to-do list with your florist
Now that the scenery has changed, so are the decorations. With your tent--with your flower palette in mind--consider vines, chandeliers, string lights, and wisteria. Here are the things that you may need to decorate with flowers that you would not normally consider:
Photo ops in the front and back yard
Aisle and aisle runners
Lounge and game areas
Food areas, including your mobile eateries
Tip #4: Create designated areas for different parts of your celebration.
If you have a backyard that's big enough, create separate areas for your ceremony, reception, lounging, and activities. Make sure each area is obvious that each area serves its purpose. Add signage or directional arrows to tell guests where to find everything. For cocktail hour and dinner, potentially keep all food in the same spot but possibly keep the cocktail hour seating separate.
Tip #5: Ask the DJ to advise guests
If things have to move around, tell your DJ to make announcements. For example, the DJ can instruct your guests to move their ceremony chair to the reception. Your DJ can also tell guests when food is served. If you do not want everyone to grab food as once, announce the ability to grab food table by table. This does not require an MC. Please check with your DJ to set expectations beforehand. You do not want anyone to be in the dark over what they are expected to do to keep the party going.
This all may sound like a lot, but once you approach a backyard wedding from a different perspective, it can be rewarding and fun. Please note that without a venue, there is no built-in coordinator to oversee all aspects of the wedding, making sure everything goes to plan. Feel free to reach to me to implement these tips and tricks, and most importantly, help create a backyard wedding to remember.