Your Lovely Guide to Backyard Wedding Planning

backyard wedding main unsplash
Photo by


Why be ordinary? Hosting a wedding in a garden rather than a traditional wedding venue could be the X-factor your big day deserves. Let’s show you why DIY backyard wedding ideas are so popular and we’ll help you organize yours. Our tips on organizing a backyard wedding can make your preparations more streamlined, tension-free, and budget-friendly.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much money do you give for a backyard wedding?

If the wedding is small and intimate with only close friends and family in attendance, you may consider giving a gift of $50-$100 per person. If the wedding is larger and more extravagant, you may want to give a gift in the range of $100-$200 per person.

Meet the co-author
Isabelle Marinier
Expertise: The journalist
Isabelle is a lifelong learner who is always eager to try new things. Isabelle combines her skills and experience to transform lifestyle, fashion, and travel ideals into practical reality and relevant information.


Benefits of Backyard Weddings

Couples who choose this whimsical approach to their special day are often swayed by these attractive features of a big or small backyard wedding:

  • More flexibility in picking dates and times, and no rush on the day because other couples need to use the chapel or hall.
  • Definite cost savings, especially not paying for a venue.
  • The child-friendly environment means kids can be on the guest list too.
  • For couples who prefer a casual feel, a backyard automatically prevents the wedding from being overly formal.
  • Less time and money are spent on decor since the garden with trees and flowers serves this purpose.
  • In a larger garden, there may be ample space to invite everyone you want, instead of trimming the guest list to fit everyone inside a small church.


What to Consider When Backyard Wedding Planning

While a less-formal atmosphere is one of the attractive features of a backyard wedding ceremony and reception, you still need expert planning to make it come together on the day. Below we listed a few areas of planning no one can ignore when starting to put together their backyard wedding decoration ideas and practical arrangements.


Do You Need Permits and Licensed Professionals?

Of course, the wedding officiant requires the necessary license to ensure the marriage is legally recognized.

In addition, clarify to all food and drink vendors that you’re booking them for an event at a private home. This may require them to obtain certain permits or file paperwork. Even bartenders may require certification to serve alcoholic beverages, so don’t simply ask a friend to handle the task before checking local laws.

Furthermore, especially if the guest list is long, talk to local authorities about fire codes and health regulations for which you may require permits.


The Weather and The Sun

While the sun will give you loads of natural light for stunning photos, it can be bothersome on a sunny day.

Consider the angle of the sun at the time of the ceremony and where the couple, the officiant & the guests will face. Will anyone need to squint? You could use a tent to avoid the issue completely. Alternatively, suggest your guests in advance have protective sunglasses with them or offer them as the wedding favor for the day, so they stay comfortable and have their vision protected from UV rays no matter how bright the sun turns out to be.

You also have no guarantee that rain and wind will stay away, so you’ll need a backup plan to prevent unnecessary stress leading up to the wedding. Is there any room inside the property to move the entire party to? An alternative is to keep a local tent-hiring service on standby.


Along with the heat, there are usually bugs flying around. Make sure there’s at least one comfortable inside area where guests can escape temporarily if needed. Also, give out insect repellent to help everyone enjoy themselves optimally.


Access to Power and Lights

For a small, intimate backyard wedding you may not require an immense sound system, but for larger gatherings a microphone and speaker are essential. For this you’ll need a power source, so organize a safe supply from the main building or a quiet generator.

Especially for afternoon weddings, guests are bound to stay well into the night, so you’ll need power and lights outside. Alternatively, light candles—as long as they won’t be a fire hazard—or use battery-powered fairy lights.

Property Insurance

Even if you play it safe, there’s always a chance that something can go wrong or that a guest inadvertently causes property damage. Talk to your insurance company about what your policy covers in such a situation. You may need to take out additional cover for a limited time.


Restroom Facilities

Your wedding’s size will determine how many restrooms will be appropriate for the guests. You don’t want everyone queueing for the limited facilities inside the house, so mobile toilets are valuable for backyard weddings. Simply find a space out of sight, so they won’t spoil the wedding photos.

People in the Neighborhood

From the increase in traffic to the music, there are many wedding details that could bother neighbors. Inform them of the event well in advance, as they may want to go elsewhere for the day to avoid the crowd and noise. Also, ask before you use their sidewalks for parking.


Time for Photographs

With a backyard wedding, there’s usually no traveling between venues, which means no gap in the schedule to take pictures. Organize games and refreshments if you do want to take pictures elsewhere and keep it short out of respect for your guests.

Low-budget Backyard Wedding Ideas and Decorations

Couples can organize an expensive backyard tent wedding with elaborate backyard wedding decor. But being budget-friendly is actually one of the most attractive features of this theme. If you implement the following you’ll get your perfect day on a small budget:

  1. Looking for a backyard wedding dress is the ideal opportunity to wear an outfit passed on from a previous generation – simply make alterations to suit your theme and personal style.
  2. Send out digital wedding invitations rather than paying for expensive stationery.
  3. Use the garden as inspiration for the theme. Instead of expensive backyard decor ideas that will ruin the casual, comfortable atmosphere, use foliage for photo backgrounds. Base your color palette on the garden and buildings, so there’s no need to cover up any part of it to fit in. Keep place settings simple and use garden flowers or leaves to add something special to each table.
  4. Use self-service stations instead of paying extra for plated food and multiple waiters.
  5. Get creative with the menu and pick a more affordable option that both of you enjoy or attach personal meaning to – perhaps a barbeque or picnic-style food?
  6. If you do want decor, visit thrift stores instead of buying new or hiring.
  7. Ask guests with relevant skills to gift their time instead of buying a wedding gift. Perhaps you have an aunt who loves cooking and can prepare the food? Can your best friend double as a wedding planner and maid of honor?
  8. Photographers are expensive but worth paying for because photos will be all you have left once the day is over. If you really can’t afford a professional, ask friends to capture specific parts of the day using their mobile phones and only hire a photographer for a short session to take print-worthy photos of the couple.

Tips for Creating a Backyard Wedding Planning Timeline

If you’re considering low-budget DIY backyard wedding decorations, you’re probably not going to splurge on a professional wedding planner. Here’s some guidance on planning your timeline well so everything will fall in place:

  • Right after engagement: Start with your budget as soon as the date is set, so it can guide every decision going forward.
  • 7 months before: Book service providers and officiants so you can pick from the best.
  • 6 months before: Plants are important as backyard wedding decor, so plan flowerbeds in advance.
  • 3 months before: Finalize your menu. If you’re preparing food yourself, start buying ingredients in bulk or look out for special offers.
  • 2 months before: Send invitations, because guests may need to find accommodation in town.
  • 1 month before: Pay vendors before the wedding so you have confirmed they’ll be on-site on the day. Plant seasonal flowers so they’re in bloom on the day and break in your shoes for dancing.
  • On the day: Note sunrise and sunset times so you can take photos with these beautiful backdrops.

Organizing a Backyard Wedding Reception

Apart from the ceremony, also consider vital factors for a backyard wedding reception.

  • A tent is a smart option since you can hang lighting from above to create an atmosphere. But don’t underestimate the value of eating under the stars – it will add something magical to the day.
  • If you do plan on using a tent, let the furniture dictate the size you need, instead of ordering one that’s too small which will result in a shorter guest list or a cramped feel.
  • Do invite vendors such as food and beverage suppliers to the premises long before the wedding. They must tell you what they’ll need on the day and you may realize you need an additional tent or power source.

You can use DIY backyard wedding ideas, but use this checklist of basics to ensure you have all the important aspects covered, either by a vendor, by yourself, or by a friend:

  1. Flowers, decor, and centerpieces
  2. Photographer
  3. Music
  4. Cake
  5. Catering
  6. Dance floor
  7. Tables, chairs
  8. Tablecloths
  9. Trash bins
  10. Plates and cutlery
  11. Glasses
  12. Food and drink
  13. Guest book
  14. Tent

It’s clear your backyard wedding can be as spectacular, and even more fun as a wedding hosted anywhere else.

Last tip: be mentally prepared to handle a few unforeseen challenges on the day – it’s all part of the fun and will make your day memorable.

Now, take your time to plan well and enjoy the fact that you don’t need the fortune to say ‘I do’.