Backyard weddings were a cost effective and intimate solution to giant ceremonies before COVID-19, but with social distancing guidelines, spotty venue rules, and general uncertainty, it’s no surprise that taking the party home is on the rise.
Many of the benefits of a backyard wedding still ring true in a COVID era. The obvious first is that it is extremely cost effective. Being able to plan and execute the entire day in your own home definitely saves precious dollars. You can also save on day-of stress by having deliveries and set-up crews come early. Since it’s your space, there are no restrictions on time, so you can plan as early as you want and celebrate as late as you want. With that comes the added benefit of getting to sleep in your own bed post ceremony. Backyard weddings are also naturally more intimate due to space restrictions, so you can save on rental and food costs. There are, however, a few steps that you need to consider if you’re planning your backyard wedding.
HOA and Liability Requirements
Once you decide on a backyard wedding, you’ll want to check with all the proper powers to ensure that your big day can actually happen there. Meet with your homeowner association to confirm that parking won’t be an issue, and figure out logistics like noise level restrictions, curfews, and city ordinances. You might also have to obtain extra permits depending on the number of guests you will have at your wedding. You’ll also want to review your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure you’re protected in the event of any reception injuries or post-wedding damage to the home. There’s nothing worse than an unruly wedding guest causing damage to your home or worse, themselves!
Prepping Your Backyard
Now that you’ve got all the proper permits and permissions, it’s time to prepare your backyard for a night of eating, dancing, and celebrating! Make sure you do proper lawn maintenance like fertilizing, mowing, cleaning up landscapes, buying new paver stones, etc. before your big day. This will ensure that your backyard is looking its best. Next, you’ll want to prep all high traffic areas. Check out Pinterest for creative ideas for the aisle, like a runway made of vintage rugs or tulle. You can also keep it simple by cutting your grass as short as possible to avoid itchy ankles! Be aware that your yard will take a little damage during the festivities. With proper maintenance leading up to the event, you’ll avoid permanent damage and have minimal clean-up post wedding.
Event Staff Coordination
One of the most stressful aspects of wedding planning is making sure all the pieces fit together seamlessly. From the bar to dinner to the ceremony, everything has to be meticulously planned to avoid disaster. Keeping the wedding in your own backyard has the potential to simplify some aspects, but make others harder. When you’re booking vendors, make sure that they are open to servicing a wedding in a private backyard. Some companies will only do business on licensed properties. Make sure you have the event staff scout the space, and plan where each vendor will go. Once you have the space figured out, you’ll want to let your neighbors know that you’ll have event staff in and out of your backyard, and give them a rundown of the day ahead. Letting your neighbors know will help them be able to plan accordingly, and it will help you avoid unwanted complaints from your HOA or law enforcement.
The Big Day
You’ve finally reached the day of your dreams! It might look a little different than you originally planned, but as long as you’ve planned well, it’s going to be magical! There are a few tips and tricks you should remember when people start to arrive. First, make any rules clear and concise. Whether you’re requiring masks, or you only want 3 people to a table, or you’re enforcing the six foot rule, you’ll want to make sure guests know so you can avoid unwanted conflict. Once you’re through the ceremony, there are a few things you should remember about the reception. First, make sure drinks are served in disposable cups or are pre-packaged to avoid cross contamination. Next, serve a plated meal instead of a buffet style dinner. If you’re including a cocktail hour, make sure hors d'oeuvres are pre-packaged or pre-plated. This will ensure that everyone remains safe and seated throughout the reception. It also might be a good idea to do cupcakes instead of a full size wedding cake to further cut down on multiple touches. Finally, dance the night away (socially distanced of course) because you’ve successfully pulled off a beautiful - and safe - backyard wedding!
A backyard wedding is a wonderful way to keep your day intimate and drive down costs, but it comes with its own set of challenges. With proper preparation, however, you’ll be able to pull it off with a hitch and keep everyone healthy in the process!