Planning a wedding can be challenging. If you’re tight on a budget, the largest obstacle may be deciding on a venue. What if there was a place you didn’t have to pay for or book in advance, where you could have your wedding ceremony at any time and call all the shots? It could be your very own backyard!
Unlike traditional wedding venues, your backyard is cozy and convenient. Whether you’re trying to save a few bucks or have limited venue options due to COVID-19 restrictions, an outdoor ceremony in your backyard can be just as extravagant and meaningful.
Backyard weddings are right on time for summer. From warm weather to affordability, yards can be the perfect alternative for hosting intimate weddings with enough space for social distancing measures. If you’re looking for creative backyard wedding ideas to match your style, you’re in for a treat!
Continue reading to learn how to plan the backyard wedding of your dreams, or jump to a specific section for more information:
They say that home is where the heart is. From summertime cookouts to jungle gyms and swing sets, there’s something cozy and nostalgic about backyards. What else would be more sentimental and intimate than exchanging vows at your private residence? Below are some advantages of taking your nuptials outside.
Creative Freedom A backyard is like a blank canvas, the ideas for wedding colors and themes are limitless! You can take advantage of the natural green backdrops, spacing of your porch or deck, and outdoor furniture for decor. Best of all, you’re free to change or rearrange without permission.
Cost-effective No need to worry about security deposits, per-person fees, or other costs associated with venues. This increase in your wedding budget can leave extra cash for other wants and needs, such as rentals and decor.
Comfortability You can opt to include your pets, reduce your guest list size, and choose any date that works best for you. Go for a casual look or all out glam. Just make sure you choose a wedding hairstyle idea for outdoors!
When planning a backyard wedding, there are a few factors to consider beforehand, such as spacing, maintenance, and weather, to make sure things run smoothly. Below, we’ve answered some of the most common questions that couples planning a backyard wedding should know.
An honest answer is that it can cost however much you want it to be! Couples can choose to use what they already have and spend absolutely nothing. Others may choose to rent equipment, hire vendors such as photographers, and purchase new decor.
Decide to dress elegantly, comfy casual, or anywhere in between. The best thing about backyard weddings is that there is no right or wrong way to go! You can request for guests to dress formally for the ceremony and bring a change of casual clothes for the reception (or swimwear for the pool).
As with any special event, there are a few important details to account for and plan ahead, especially having backup options. Here are a few situations and necessities to keep in mind:
Parking If you live in a neighborhood with limited parking spaces, check the street parking rules ahead of time. Inform your guests via invitations about parking accommodations (such as valet) or recommendations to carpool. Also, your neighbors may appreciate a courteous note about the upcoming celebration in advance.
Setup and Maintenance Does your yard need a little love? It may be beneficial to hire a landscaper a few months prior to tend the garden, take care of design, and help with other lawn essentials to prep the ground for items such as chairs, tents, and a dance floor.
Permits Check with city officials in advance about hosting gatherings, especially if you plan to have vendors and rental equipment. It’s a good idea to ensure you’re not violating fire codes, noise ordinances, and any other safety hazards.
Spacing Consider the size of your yard and number of guests. You may need to measure your lawn or veranda to make sure there’s enough space for people and additions such as tables and chairs, food service area, and decor.
Restrooms Additional toilet facilities may be necessary if you plan to have over 20 guests attending. This will save you the headache of increased bathroom usage in the home as well as too much traffic coming in and out. Fortunately, there are plenty of upscale portable bathrooms available for rent. A good rule of thumb is to have one restroom per 35 guests.
Weather Last but not least, always account for a plan B. Unexpected weather, such as a rainstorm, can bring new challenges. It’s helpful to have additional tents, or even a backup location, such as a local recreation center, to move the ceremony. For additional tips, read our dos and don’ts for a backyard wedding.
Illuminate the evening with decorative lanterns or hanging string lights. These will enhance your outdoor landscape and are useful for any event.
Spruce up your altar with linen, greenery, flower arrangements, and more! For wooden altars, you can add rustic accessories such as vintage letter signs and bottle lanterns.
Guide your guests where to go with custom wedding signs. Feel free to be creative! Check out a few fun signage ideas below:
You can use mason jars for just about everything, including personalized wedding centerpieces. Fill the jars with garden flowers and wrap them with twine or ribbon for the perfect rustic chic look. You can group them together or pair with other items such as candles and foliage.
Guest books don’t have to be simply paper and binding. Personalize them to match your style and ceremony theme. This can be rolled messages in a bottle, a bucket list of ideas to do during your wedding, and more! Read our post on wedding guest book ideas to help spark your creativity.
Have a pool in your backyard? Tie it into your wedding theme! You can place floating lanterns or flower arrangements in the water for decor and even construct an aisle bridge over the pool. Guests can enjoy poolside lounging, or jump in for a pool party reception.
Take advantage of your trees and garden to help accentuate the elements. Add foliage onto chairs and tabletops to create quick and easy greenery accents.
Since it’s your yard, construct the aisle any way you like! You can outline the walkway with flower petals, candle stakes, and even assorted vintage rugs.
Who says the chairs have to match? (Only if you want them to, of course.) Feel free to make the seating arrangements personal and unique with mix-match chairs. This can be love seats, sofas, and if you’re thinking boho-chic, rugs and floor cushions.
The trees and garden in your yard already create a natural backdrop for your ceremony. You can kick it up a notch with lighting, fabric, florals, and more. Check out our DIY Photo booth post for inspiration.
Intimate, convenient, and absolutely free! What’s not to love about backyard wedding receptions? From comfy and cozy to elegant and chic, you can transform your yard into the perfect venue. Wow your guests with these fun reception ideas.
Your guest favors can be simple yet thoughtful. Think about useful items that can come in handy. For example, you can fill reusable glass jars with sweets, coffee beans, or honey. Keep the yard theme going with garden items such as potted succulents.
Dedicate a section of the backyard specifically for children. This area can help keep them entertained throughout the ceremony (and relieve the parents). Consider a table full of snacks and activities such as wedding coloring pages.
Turn your wedding reception into a fun outdoor movie night beneath the stars. Opt for beloved matrimonial movies such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Bridesmaids. Check out these additional ideas to include:
Have a special table dedicated for the bride and groom. Make it the focal point by adding additional decor such as larger centerpieces, custom “Mr. & Mrs.” signage, and unique chairs.
Encourage guests to kick off their shoes for an evening of dancing and music. It can be a decorated open space in the backyard or a rented portable dance floor. Have a playlist that has special songs dedicated to the newlywed, father-daughter, and the mother-son dance.
If evening temperatures drop, fire pits can help keep guests warm and cozy. You can even have s’mores available to create an engaging experience for guests.
Shaded areas can come in handy, especially during a sunny summer wedding. Consider setting up lounge chairs under a cool tented area for guests to relax.
A dedicated sanitation table is another useful element that guests can revisit throughout the day. This section can include hand sanitizers, tissues, bug spray, sunscreen, and emergency kits.
You can have complimentary baskets of flip-flops for guests to swap out their dress shoes, such as when dancing or playing.
From patio tables to picnic style, there are plenty of ways to serve food to your guests. Consider having separate food tables to create space for lines and easier access. As for the food, here are some delicious ideas to try:
Why not throw a backyard barbeque? Pull out the grill for some old-fashion burgers, hotdogs, and steaks. You can make it a potluck cookout in which guests each bring a side dish.
Guests who appreciate bubbly sippers may enjoy a self-serve mimosa bar at your reception. All you need is a bar cart or designated table for the mimosa ingredients, including chilled champagne, juice, and fruit!
A donut bar is a quick and easy wedding dessert if you’re on a budget. You can stack the donuts as a tower or set up a donut wall as decor!
Is your wedding ceremony during the morning or early afternoon? Why not have a delicious brunch buffet! These brunch wedding ideas are sure to tease your tastebuds.
While food trucks may be less formal, they’re perfect for at-home events. These are great low-budget catering options that don’t require traditional kitchens. Your food truck caterer can serve full meals, desserts, or even be a mobile bar service.
Most professional wedding cakes can cost you a few hundred dollars. If you’d like to keep it budget-friendly, a delicious, made-from-scratch dessert will do! Cheesecakes, sundaes, and cupcakes are all great homemade options for a dessert bar.
If you’re still weighing menu options for your backyard wedding, check out these additional wedding food ideas.
Wedding games can help entertain the guests while you’re away taking wedding photos. They’re also great icebreakers for introducing the bride and groom’s family to one another. Here are a few fun wedding games that are perfect for the outdoors.
A cocktail hour favor, ring toss is a fun DIY lawn game that doesn’t need a lot of props. Just grab some old bottles, plastic rings, and divide the players into teams!
Entertaining and easy to play, the “Shoe Game” shows how well newlywed couples know one another. Have the newlyweds sit facing away from each other, each holding one of the other’s shoes. Ask a series of funny (and embarrassing) questions like “Who is more clumsy?” for the couple to answer by raising the shoes.
Have each of the wedding guests write three fun facts about themselves on a slip of paper. A host can collect each slip and read them aloud for everyone to guess who the person is.
Rent or create your own Giant Jenga game set using blocks of wood! This timeless game is a great team-building exercise for both adults and kids.
Kick this classic game up a notch with the jumbo-size version to play on the ground. You can also create the game yourself using a checkered rug and frisbees.
Cornhole is a traditional yard game that never goes out of style. You can customize the platform board with decals of the bride and groom names.
Finally, printable newlywed game questions are a great way to keep score throughout the day and reward the guest with the most points at the end. Printable games also work for engagement parties and allow guests to take the fun home!
Your guests and loved ones are excited to bear gifts for your married life. Why not brainstorm wedding registry ideas that fit your backyard wedding theme! Remember, you can register for gifts that you actually want and plan to use. The best picks will come in handy for both your special day and the next at-home celebration.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite outdoor wedding registry items perfect for backyard entertainment and exterior spaces.
Whether sitting poolside on the patio, a push-up umbrella provides the perfect shade on a sunny day.
These reclinable lounge chairs are great for relaxing during the wedding reception. With comfortable cushions and an optional footrest compartment, they’re easy to fold for compact storage after use.
Spend a relaxing day outside in this comfy, handwoven Catalina Rope Hammock. This would fit in perfectly for a boho-chic wedding theme.
Planning to pop champagne for your backyard wedding? Request a durable wine and champagne chiller to keep them cool on a sunny day!
No DJ, no problem! This bluetooth speaker with portable WiFi is weatherproof and great for outdoors. It’s wide soundscape and voice-automation allows you and your wedding guests to enjoy music hands-free.
If you’re thinking of serving barbeque at your wedding, an electric grill is a convenient option. You can grill without the hassle of gas or charcoal and it fits on any patio.
Request a home theater projector for your wedding reception to project movies, photos, and games! The built-in Bluetooth connects to any speaker, making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Diversify the entertainment for your wedding reception! You can request games such as Giant 4-in-a-Row that both kids and adults can enjoy.
This industrial-style bar cart is great for hosting gatherings and entertaining guests. Use it to create a self-serve drink station, store extra dishes, and more!