We’ve all seen the perfect backyard party table in a gorgeous woodland setting that looks like a National Parks poster—complete with handmade drinks and camera-ready food—on Instagram. We certainly like it, but we also recognize that event planning and finding the ideal event entertainment is not an easy task, but with a bit of imagination, resourcefulness, and elbow work, you can throw an equally wonderful outdoor party for the people you care about. So we reach out to expert event planners to ask for useful tips to create the perfect backyard wedding and kid’s party; read on to check out their advice.
Planning a Backyard Wedding
A backyard wedding is ideal for couples who want a wedding with a distinct emotional feel, who enjoy being outside, or who wish to have their dream wedding on a tight budget, among other reasons. There are several advantages to having a backyard wedding, including affordability and convenience. However, with those advantages come a few additional considerations and circumstances that must be considered and planned for.
The do’s and dont’s to planning a backyard wedding
A backyard wedding is very personal, and it can be as formal or informal as you like. You have a lot more freedom, and you will save money on venue fees. However, venues do supply most of the power, furniture, lighting, complete kitchen setup, and toilets, which you may have to bring in.
Before you start, make a list of what you already have and can use. These are all items you don’t need to hire. Do you have any friends and family members who can help? For example, Uncle Joe is an Electrician and can help with the lighting; Grandma is a wizard in creating celebration cakes – this joint venture will only make your wedding so much more special and budget-friendly.
How do you envision your wedding to be? A cocktail wedding can be a lot more cost-effective for a larger guests list than a formal sit-down affair. Every wedding is unique and should be created with the couple’s style and budget in mind. If you are ‘Foodies’ and dancing is not your thing, then a degustation menu is more your style, you will save a lot of money on a band and dance floor, but you need to spend your savings on furniture and flowers and tableware.
The ambiance is extremely important. Your wedding reception is usually 6 hours long, and you want to make your guests feel comfortable. Chilly evenings, mosquitos, rain, heat, wind – include them in your plans and budget.
Add plenty of time to have the suppliers deliver everything and remember they need to come back to pick everything up the next day. Communicate with all involved, or they may stand by your front door at 6:00 am the following day!
Your wedding will not to be tomorrow, time will be in your favor, clever and unique ideas and most importantly good communication with all involved parties is extremely important.
Keep a good master timeline right from the beginning, share with all involved the week of your wedding, and everything will fall into place just perfectly!
Cathrin D’Entremont from CD Weddings
Wedding vendors needed for your backyard wedding
The vendors needed for a backyard wedding are similar to those you’d need for a wedding at any venue. You’ll want to create a wedding website and registry, such as Joy offers, to share your wedding plans and requested gifts with guests. You can select a photographer and/or videographer to capture your special day, a catering service, or a local restaurant to cater your event and provide servers and bartenders. Also, choose a baker for your wedding cake, a band, musician, or DJ to provide music for your ceremony and reception. Let’s not forget the florist for your bouquet and any floral decorations and rentals to transform your backyard into your ceremony and reception space. And, of course, a planner or day-of-coordinator if you want extra help to ensure your wedding goes smoothly.
Lastly, consider hiring a valet to manage guest parking and think that residential neighborhoods weren’t built for big events. In addition, you’ll need proper permitting and insurance to host a wedding at home, including Homeowners and Liability Insurance, Liquor Liability, Special Event Insurance, and a ‘One Time Outdoor Amplified Sound Permit’ if you plan to have a band or DJ. Check all local ordinances to see what permits may be required for your big day, from the health and zoning departments to the fire marshal and anyone in between.
Vishal Joshi, Co-Founder, and CEO of Joy
Is it better to plan a brunch wedding for a backyard celebration?
Brunch is loved by so many people. It is the beloved weekend meal in the middle of the day. It is also perfect for backyard celebrations. If you’re hosting a backyard wedding, you may want to consider a mid-morning ceremony followed by brunch. It’s a wonderful alternative to a dinner reception. It allows your guests to enjoy the backyard and the outdoors during the day. You can take advantage of the outdoor space and include some fun activities such as lawn games, which your guests are sure to enjoy.
It also gives your neighbors the peace of mind that loud music will not be playing late at night as most of the celebrating will happen during the day. Besides the fun aspects of hosting a brunch wedding on your private property, there is also the economic aspect. A brunch menu is typically not as highly priced as a steak dinner, but it is just as loved. Less alcohol is also consumed during a brunch celebration than at a nighttime event, which usually equates to significant savings. Overall there are many advantages to opting for a brunch wedding when hosting in your backyard over a traditional dinner-time celebration.
Roxy from Art of Celebrations
Top 5 tips to stay organized and on track to plan a backyard wedding?
Planning a backyard wedding certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted! There’s a lot more work involved with planning a wedding at home or on private land. Here are the top five tips from Jo Pyman, a multi-award-winning wedding planner from One Curious Dream.
If you’re not working with a wedding planner, there are some fantastic wedding planning apps that you can use to help you stay on track throughout the planning process. Alternatively, set up a Google docs spreadsheet and record all information in one central place you both have access to. Setting up a dedicated wedding email address will help you keep track and stay on top of your planning.
Get the right team on board.
Find experienced suppliers who specialize in private backyard weddings. Planning a backyard wedding is very different from getting married at a hotel or wedding venue. Having suppliers who are used to working in a backyard environment will make the planning process much smoother as they’ll already understand the additional requirements they may have. For example, your caterer will need a catering tent, access to power, water, etc.
Utilize the knowledge of your suppliers.
If you’re having a marquee or tipi wedding, you’ll undoubtedly need expert advice and guidance along the way. Your wedding supplier team is experienced in producing backyard weddings, so make sure you ask questions and take on board their advice.
Create a schedule of events.
Not only for the wedding day itself but also for the setup and clear down from your wedding. Deliveries will need to be made in a specific order; you don’t want your furniture arriving before a marquee, for example.
Again, keep communication open with your supplier team to ensure things run smoothly. If your wedding is being hosted on private land, make sure you share this schedule with the landowner to be fully briefed.
Hire a wedding planner
An experienced dry-hire wedding planner will be worth their weight in gold. My job is to offer expert advice and guidance to ensure the wedding planning process is smooth, fun, and stress-free for my couples!
Jo Pyman from One Curious Dream
How long ahead should you start planning your backyard wedding? Is it easier to plan a wedding at home?
Planning a wedding in your backyard is not for the faint of heart. The upside of planning at your home is a more intimate, personal, and often very meaningful wedding. You love your home, right? The downside is that now you have guests that will be traipsing through your home! Most often, unless you have a perfect backyard, it’s good to start early with the planning as you may want to finalize those projects you’ve wanted to do for a long time.
Many of my clients will use a wedding as an excuse to fix their backyard with upgrades such as landscaping or painting. So give yourself plenty of time so that you won’t be rushed and exhausted. Take into consideration the time of year and make a detailed plan of what you want to accomplish. You’ll have a beautiful backyard for your wedding and months after to enjoy.
Saundra Hadley from Planning Forever
Tips for saving money on alcohol for your wedding
Find a venue that will let you supply your own alcohol. Having control of the cost spent per bottle will allow you to save significantly on your alcohol for your bar. If you can purchase your wine, beer, or liquor from discount stores, you’ll avoid paying typical service industry markup.
Skip the open bar. If you want to keep costs in check for your wedding bar, consider restricting your options to only wine and beer. Allowing your guests free reign of anything they want at the bar is nice if you can afford it, but it will certainly cost a pretty penny. Limiting the options will also lower your costs.
Serve a signature cocktail. Instead of giving your guests open access to anything they’d like, offer a signature cocktail as an additional option to the wine and beer.
What are the most common problems you can encounter at a backyard wedding, and how to solve them?
First and foremost, the weather needs to be a top consideration as not all residential properties can accommodate a plan b or a tent for inclement weather. It’s important to know where your attendees can be hosted if weather strikes, so if that means clearing out spaces for furnishings to be moved, one can’t be caught off guard.
Backyard weddings often seem simplistic in their approach but are deceivingly complex, even for the smallest gatherings. It’s important to have ample bathrooms and make sure sprinklers are turned off, parking close by or valet provided, substantial lighting, and that guests are neither too hot nor too cold. It’s also important to think about neighbors and circumvent complaints by letting them know in advance as no one wants to mix nuptials with a knock on the door from the police.
Backyard weddings can be the most intimate and customizable however it often comes with a substantial price tag to make it seamless and hospitable.
Kristin Banta from Kristin Banta Events
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. Once you have your permits in place, you should consider whether there will be a need for any apparatus to assist you in organizing your guests. It can significantly help the day to run smoothly for all by introducing some simple ways to cordon-off areas and separate groups of people. Using crowd control barriers, such as running a rope between two stanchions to separate those queuing at the bar, for example, can help to improve your guests’ comfort, and could be a particularly important measure to take during any covid lockdown restrictions.
Planning a Kid’s Backyard Party
Backyard birthday parties are relaxed, friendly, and enjoyable. Nothing stuffy, costly, or stressful (you’re already stressed!)—just fun! And having a party outside is so much easier than having one inside! You may spread out in the yard instead of cramming everyone into a cramped living room or a heated kitchen. Clean-up is generally a breeze, and the kids can run about and play.
It doesn’t matter if you have enough room in your backyard or if you have a buddy who will let you use theirs. When it comes to organizing a party outside, the options are practically limitless.
What would be your top 5 tips to stay organized and on track to plan a backyard party?
Backyard parties are great because all the mess stays outside! But since your backyard may have been neglected for a while, it’s best to start early to avoid exhaustion.
1- First, choose a theme.
Choosing a theme for your backyard party will not only make the celebration memorable for your guests, but it will also help you make quicker and better decisions on things like decorations and food.
2- Make a list.
To stay on track for any party, you need a plan. A good party planning checklist from a party expert will help you with items you may not think of. But if you don’t have one, write up a list of all the action items for your event.
3- Clean up way in advance.
A week or two before the party, spend a day spiffing up your backyard.
You don’t want to do this the day before and be burned out. Raking leaves, pulling weeds, or whatever else may have to be done is better worked on days before.
4- Plan your backyard space well.
Now that your backyard is cleaned up sketch the outline of it on paper and plan your party space. Where will the drinks and the food table be? Do you need space for games? Where will you put the decorations? Think of it as planning stations that will help with the flow of the party. Doing this now will alleviate last-minute worry, and you’ll be able to hand over your drawing to a helper who will instantly know where every item goes. No questions needed.
5- Decorate your space a day or 2 in advance.
Place your tables, chairs, decorations, games, and whatever else, at least the day before. (You should have your sketch to help you). That way, on the day of the party, you can concentrate entirely on your guests and that delicious food.
And please decide to HAVE FUN whatever may happen. A well-planned party makes for a happy hostess and delighted guests.
Nathalie from Press Print Party
Must-have personalized items for a kid’s party!
For Your Party’s newest favorite venues are the backyard, home porches, and patios. Whether it’s distance restrictions or the concern of stale air circulating throughout an indoor venue, the backyard allows for your guests to feel comfortably spread out and truly celebrate your biggest events with you, finally! A perfect family and friends event that can be hosted at the house? A kid’s birthday party! FYP is one of the top sellers of customizable, artisanal, big-day accessories, and no matter what theme your child selects, we have the capacity to fulfill their wildest bday dreams. Our experts suggest personalized cocktail napkins for food and beverages, some (very fun) color-changing stadium cups, even sparkler sleeves for a night sky full of shine that brings out the inner kid in all of us!
While many of us have been vaccinated, kids are often not, so if you’d like to ensure your younger guests are protected, we also encourage customizing our PPE options, which would include, but not be limited to; our child-sized 3-ply disposable face masks and sanitizer bottles or sanitized hand wipes. With designer balloons to pick from, gift bags for goodies on the way out, and guest towels in the restroom, this Chicago-based, female-led small business is ready with all of the essentials and extras to ensure this is a birthday to remember! When planning a backyard soirée, always consider the temperature, the guests’ ages, and anticipate needs based on the activities you’ve got planned!
For more assistance on safely and properly planning a big day during these turbulent times, please head over to our blog for our guide, “How to Safely Plan Your COVID-19 Minimony”.
Rachel Rosenberg from For Your Party
What are some tips for creating a budget-friendly menu for a gathering?
Creating a budget-friendly menu for gatherings is all about smart choices. A potluck dinner is my go-to strategy—it cuts costs and brings a delightful variety of dishes to the table, making the meal memorable and engaging for everyone. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to involve guests in the meal preparation, turning the gathering into a shared experience.
The key to staying on budget is simplification. Focus on simple, filling dishes that can be made in bulk without much fuss. Investing in reusable containers and serving dishes pays off in the long run for all your gatherings. And don’t underestimate the power of DIY decor; it can transform your space beautifully without costing much.
Remember, seasonal ingredients can create a stunning menu affordably, and making decor a family DIY project adds a personal touch. So, keep it simple, embrace the potluck spirit, and enjoy the company over the cuisine. That’s my recipe for a successful, budget-friendly gathering!
Carrie Ypma from Easy Recipe Depot
Throwing a fantastic backyard party is the ideal way to gather all of your loved ones and spend quality time with them. Planning any type of event, be it a casual BBQ, a birthday party, or a wedding party, is difficult, especially when it’s your first time doing it. However, if you give yourself plenty of time to organize, you can rest assured that your guests will enjoy every minute of their stay.
An essential aspect of any outdoor party is that everyone has a good time. It is more probable that your guests will enjoy the party if they see you laughing, conversing, and having a lovely time.