51 Best Backyard Wedding Ideas for a Fabulous Reception

Save on venue costs and throw the ultimate backyard wedding! We’ll walk you through all the logistics, planning tips, and awesome ideas to try.

couple having a backyard wedding
Photo by Zola

Planning on saying “I do” in your own backyard? You’re not alone—backyard weddings are on the rise. This is likely due, in part, to the pandemic, which caused couples to rework their original wedding plans in light of social distancing requirements and limited wedding venue options. But the trend is here to stay. Many couples are in favor of the convenience and coziness that a backyard wedding can offer.

Besides offering more creative freedom, they’re a great way to save on an otherwise expensive venue, which is usually one of the largest contributors to your wedding budget.

If you’re one of the many couples opting for an outdoor wedding ceremony in your own backyard, the following ideas can help you get started. From wedding signage ideas, to rental decor, to DIY centerpieces, these creative backyard wedding ideas will ensure your outdoor affair is one to remember.

1. Hang bistro lights for a cozy glow.

Illuminate the evening with decorative lanterns or hanging bistro lights. These will enhance your outdoor landscape and are useful for any event.

2. Design a custom altar.

Spruce up your altar with linens, greenery, flower arrangements, and more! For wooden altars, you can add rustic accessories such as vintage letter signs and bottle lanterns.

3. Include custom wedding signage.

Guide your guests where to go with custom wedding signs. Feel free to be creative! Check out a few fun signage ideas below:

4. Use vintage glasses as centerpieces.

You can use vintage glasses for almost everything, including personalized wedding centerpieces. Fill the glasses with garden flowers and wrap them with twine or ribbon for the perfect rustic chic look. You can group them together or pair them with other items, such as candles and foliage. Look for stylish glasses with geometric or floral patterns for added interest.

5. Personalize a DIY guest book.

Guest books don’t have to be simply paper and binding. Personalize them to match your style and ceremony theme. For example, you can include rolled messages in a bottle, voice recordings from those on your guest list, and more! Read our post on wedding guest book ideas to help spark your creativity.


6. Transform your pool with floating lanterns.

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.

7. Drape some garden greenery.

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.

8. Craft your own DIY aisle.

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.

9. Incorporate unique seating.

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. You can have your friends and family members sit atop love seats, sofas, and if you’re thinking boho-chic, rugs and floor cushions.

10. Add a DIY photo booth.

Your yard's trees and garden already create a natural backdrop for your ceremony. You can kick it up a notch with a DIY photo booth featuring lighting, fabric, florals, and more.

premium photo-1661440039770-603f6c411a5d

11. Display fun, DIY guest favors.

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.

12. Create a kid’s corner.

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.

13. Wind down with an outdoor movie.

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:

14. Use open space as a dance floor.

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 with special songs dedicated to the newlywed, father-daughter, and mother-son dance.

15. Make a sweetheart table for the newlyweds.

Have a special table for the bride and groom. Make it the focal point by adding additional wedding decor such as larger centerpieces, custom “Mr. & Mrs.” signage, and unique chairs.


16. Warm up with a fire pit.

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.

17. Feature a tent lounge area.

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.

18. Have a dedicated health station.

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.

19. Offer shoe baskets.

You can have complimentary baskets of flip-flops for guests to swap out their dress shoes, such as when dancing or playing.

20. Add a self-serve donut bar.

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!


21. Fire up the grill.

Why not throw a backyard barbeque? Pull out the grill for some old-fashioned burgers, hotdogs, and steaks. You can make it a potluck cookout where guests bring a side dish.

22. Park a DIY mimosa bar cart.

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!

23. Double the fun with jumbo checkers.

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.

24. Bring in the food trucks.

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 and desserts, or even be a mobile bar service.

25. Display homemade desserts.

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.

26. Get competitive with a ring toss game.

A cocktail hour favorite, a ring toss is a fun DIY lawn game that doesn’t need a lot of props. Just grab some old bottles and plastic rings, and divide the players into teams!

27. Incorporate the classic wedding shoe game.

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?” and have the couple answer by raising their shoes.

28. Bring guests together with the Guess Who game.

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 it aloud for everyone to guess who the person is.

29. Rent a giant Jenga game.

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.

30. Opt for a garden brunch buffet.

Is your wedding ceremony in the morning or early afternoon? Why not have a delicious brunch buffet? These brunch wedding ideas are sure to tease your taste buds.

premium photo-1681965767240-2b94ccf7068d

31. Customize cornhole boards.

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's names.

32. Entertain guests with table games.

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!

33. Beat the heat with outdoor umbrellas.

Whether sitting poolside on the patio, a push-up umbrella provides the perfect shade for hosting your backyard wedding on a summer day.

34. Help guests relax with lounge chairs.

Reclinable lounge chairs are great for relaxing during the wedding reception. Consider finding some with comfortable cushions and an optional footrest compartment to keep your guests comfortable.

35. Hang hammocks for a boho feel.

Add a touch of relaxation to your wedding day by hanging hammocks throughout your reception. This would fit in perfectly for a boho-chic wedding theme.

premium photo-1683649964277-60f5333869a4

36. Display DIY escort cards.

A backyard wedding is the perfect opportunity to get creative with your escort card display. Make a statement by attaching pretty tassels to your escort cards and hanging them from a clothesline.

37. Build a lemonade stand.

A lemonade stand is a creative way to play on the theme of your hometown wedding. Stock it with real lemonade and lemonade-flavored cocktails for a refreshing treat.

38. Warm things up with heat lamps.

If you’re hosting your bash in the colder months, consider adding heat lamps to your event to keep your guests cozy all night long.

39. Use a theater projector for a romantic display.

Request a home theater projector for your wedding reception to project movies, photos, and games! You can also use it to display a sweet slideshow of you and your honey throughout the years.

40. Rent an estate property.

No rule says your backyard wedding has to be in your backyard—why not rent a stunning estate property with gorgeous views? Keep the backyard wedding flair kicked up a notch for a bigger celebration.


41. Entertain with lawn games.

Diversify the entertainment for your wedding reception! You can request games such as Giant Jenga that both kids and adults can enjoy. For an adults-only version, opt for jello-shot Jenga blocks—each block contains a jello shot compartment for a fun twist on the classic game.

42. Park a vintage bar cart.

Guests aren’t quick to turn down a self-serve beverage station, and using a vintage bar cart is a unique and stylish way to serve refreshments.

43. Serve meal family style.

Kick the backyard wedding intimacy up a notch by opting for a family-style dinner service. Instead of serving plates individually, serve your meal family-style so guests can share dishes with each other.

44. Build a honeymoon glamping suite.

Playing along the backyard wedding theme, building a honeymoon glamping suite is an ultra-creative way to ring in your first night as newlyweds. Rent a large tent and add chic touches with cushy upholstery, cozy furniture and moody lighting.

45. Serve your favorite local foods.

If you’re hosting your backyard wedding in your own hometown, you have the perfect opportunity to feature some of the best local food. Source local caterers to share all your favorite local dishes with your guests. You can even dive into your family’s heritage and serve heirloom recipes via your ancestors.


46. Invite your pets.

For pet lovers, one of the best parts about a backyard wedding is that furry friends can join in on the festivities! Since they’ll be in the home they're already familiar with, you don’t have to worry about them feeling anxious—you can let them roam free and join in on the fun!

47. Refresh your landscaping.

If refreshing your home’s landscaping has been on your to-do list, your backyard wedding is the perfect excuse to make it happen finally. What better motivation to spruce up your lawn or garden than your wedding day?

48. Craft an elegant tented entrance.

For a tented backyard reception, up the grandeur by draping elegant curtains at the entrance. Curtains are easy to attach to a tent you’re already planning on using for your reception, and it’s a lovely way to create an inviting entry point for guests.

49. Add nature-inspired centerpieces.

To play up the beautiful nature you’ll be surrounded by, use potted plants, small fruit-bearing trees or local herbs as table centerpieces. They don’t only look stunning, but they smell great, too. Plus, you can repurpose them in your garden or lawn once the day ends.

50. Set up banquet-style seating.

Backyard weddings are an intimate affair, and you can add to the feelings of closeness by opting for long tables and banquet-style seating. They’re sure to make your reception feel open and welcoming and also give guests more time to get to know each other if they haven’t yet met!

AdobeStock 87462158

51. Make your exit with a grand sendoff.

Hosting your wedding in a traditional venue can limit how creative you can get with your wedding send-off since sparklers or candles are typically not allowed. The beauty of a backyard wedding is you don’t have to adhere to any such rules! Take advantage of this with an epic smoke bomb send-off. You’ll wow your guests and end up with some spectacular photos.

From custom invites to unique decor, throwing a backyard wedding can be just as meaningful and memorable as a traditional wedding. With your wedding planner booked and decor inspiration bookmarked, the next step is to build your wedding registry and start planning!

Find even more wedding ideas, inspo, tips, and tricks

We’ve got wedding planning advice on everything from save the dates to wedding cakes.