The perfect backyard wedding is a memorable occasion. More and more people are celebrating their weddings and exchanging their vows in their own backyard because of the rising costs of renting a venue and the possibility that an unforeseen situation may cause a sudden cancellation. Planning your own wedding is a lot of fun, however, a shared activity that makes the final event even more satisfying because of the personal touch. The following steps can guide you in preparing for this important day.
1. Prepare For Contingences
One thing to keep in mind in an outdoor wedding is the weather. Unless you can be sure of the weather during the day of the event, make sure to have a way to keep yourself and guests dry and comfortable. Perhaps if the wedding party is small enough it can just move indoors, otherwise tents may be brought out in order to continue. Make sure if you do purchase tents that you take measurements of where you’ll put them to make sure all of your guests can be protected.
2. Let Others Handle the Tiresome Stuff
No matter how exciting the prospect of planning your perfect wedding, there will always be tedious tasks that need to be handled in order to make sure everything works out properly. For these, you can enlist the help of family and friends. Most likely they are eager to help and you can easily have them handle some of the details, such as:
• Taking care of reservations. You might want to handle this yourself, but if it gets overwhelming in the midst of other details, you can have a family track the RSVPs for you and help you compile a list you can then use for catering, making sure of seating, etc.
• Arranging enough parking spaces. This is important; particularly if there will be a lot of guests. Where will they park? Can a lot be rented? Will some guests need transportation and can it be arranged? Will your neighbors allow them to just park in the neighborhood? That might cause congestion so that last option should be looked into beforehand rather than simply springing the surprise on your neighbors.
• Restroom facilities. If you have a large guest list, you will have to supply portable restroom facilities to ensure your guests’ comfort. A friend or family member can handle this after you know how many people are coming. As a rough benchmark, you’ll need a facility for each twenty-five guests.
3. Using Nature’s Colors as a Highlight
Once you decide on your theme and colors, don’t overlook nature in your decoration plans. More than likely there are flowers and/or shrubs you can plant well in advance whose colors will compliment your décor. Just make sure either you plant them in time so that they can bloom for your wedding or that they bloom year round to add that burst of color. And the good thing is that you’ll have this color for years, a reminder of your perfect wedding day.
4. Deciding Whether or Not You Should Rent or Buy What You Need
Renting tables and chairs is the best option, unless you intend on being a host or hostess in the future and have storage room. This could be an option if you’ve created a beautiful backyard and garden and others would love the opportunity to revisit. As for small things like the glassware, plates, and other table service, after the wedding, you could always donate them to charity if you don’t wish to keep them, this way there is no waste or needless disposal.
5. Don’t Forget the Photographer
A common trend in parties and weddings today is to give everyone a disposable camera either on arrival or provided on the tables. This way everyone can take pictures and take home some of the memories to cherish. While this is good, you should not neglect getting a professional photographer to take the best possible shots as he or she circulates among the guests. As a side benefit, consider having him or her set up a spot where guests can also get portraits taken since everyone will be dressed their best.
6. Check How Much Space You Will Have Available
The space you will be able to use will have the most direct impact on your backyard wedding. It will determine how many guests you can invite and how many other support staff like caterers you will have space for. Make sure everyone will have enough sitting, dancing and standing room, reducing the size of your guest list if necessary in order to make sure of everyone’s comfort.
7. Find a Theme that Works For You
As soon as possible, you should decide on the theme you wish to use in your wedding. This will help you decide on the colors and types of decorations, and even the food served. Do you want a cultural or period theme, such as a Chinese style wedding or perhaps Victorian or Renaissance? Or perhaps something more simple and traditional. Also the theme may dictate how everyone dresses so if it is a fun and creative idea, be sure to let the guests in on the fun. The only real limitations here are budget and the feasibility issue. Having a wedding themed after a television show may not suit all the guests you plan to invite so make sure before arriving at your final decision.
8. Tend to Backyard Furnishings and Improvements
Make sure that the backyard and garden are in good repair and that the furnishings you buy are durable and high quality. Also keep in mind that you are not just setting up for one day. The steps you take to furnish and beautify your backyard now will last for many years to come so pay attention to the details here. How is your lawn? Is it green and healthy or are there bald spots to take care of? Are the steps and driveway in good repair? How about the porch? Now is the time to consider some brand new items. The best wooden porch swings are ones that are built to last and will add a classic feel. And don’t overlook the possibility of installing an inexpensive fish pond or fountain as a lovely centerpiece.
9. Music and Lighting, the Perfect Touch
It would hard to imagine a wedding without music since the wedding march is such a tradition, played by an organ in a church. In a backyard wedding, however, you are free to bring in whatever kind of music fits the chosen theme. A hired band or a musically talented friend may provide all the music you need for an enjoyable event. Using the computer is a more modern possibility that allows for making personalized playlists, then using a remote to trigger the exact music you need for the right moment. Using hidden or decorative speakers can make this a very unobtrusive option if desired.
Lighting should also be considered if the wedding takes place in the evening and stretches on into the night. Using solar lamps saves power and money on electrical bills, and provides adequate lighting. Also consider stringing beads of lights around the patio, a few tables, or the tents. And a few properly placed portable lights will make sure you won’t have any unseemly dark areas.
10. Making Sure Everyone is Cool and Comfortable
As the event goes on, especially in warmer climes, the temperature will rise and guests may become uncomfortable. But planning ahead can prevent this. Fans places at the proper places for the guests can give a comforting air flow. There are also misting machines that use a misting technology whereby they keep everyone cool without making things damp. Either or both can be very useful solutions if you think they are needed. As noted before, take the weather into account in your plans.
Having your own personal backyard wedding, an exercise in creativity and shared celebration, can be a perfect beginning to the next step in a couple’s life. And with a beautiful garden afterwards, you will treasure your memories for many years to come.
About the Author
Jay Chua publishes the PorchSwingSets.com website, a site that shows reviews about the best choices in porch swings and the best hatteras hammocks all of high quality and durable construction. He and his wife Deisy live in Vancouver, Canada and when not keeping up with wedding designs in the marketplace, they enjoy working on their home and garden, relaxing afterwards in their cotton rope hammock swing.