Backyard weddings are intimate and special, which is why so many couples are opting to tie the knot in their very own private outdoor sanctuary.
Still, just because you'll be using your backyard doesn't mean planning your wedding will be a walk in the park. There are so many extra details involved with planning an at-home wedding that you can easily end up driving yourself, and your significant other looney.
Whether you are saying your "I Do's" in your own backyard or someone else's, this essential wedding checklist will ensure your big day is a stress free affair.
The Essential Backyard Wedding Checklist
From setting the stage to being a good neighbor, here are some essential things to keep in mind for backyard bliss:
Is your yard suitable for a backyard soiree?
First things first, before you do anything you need to take a critical look at your backyard to determine whether it is realistically suitable for a wedding, and if the available space is able to accommodate your guest list. If not then ask around and see if any of your friend's gardens could work or rent a private estate.
Where will your attendees park?
If you have 150 guests you can expect anywhere up to 75 cars, which is no small number! If you don't have the option to park on your property you will have to rely on street parking or hiring a nearby lot and offering a shuttle or valet service so guests don't have to walk. If your in a residential area, and you choose to go the street parking route, then make sure you check with your town hall as there are often rules about where you can park and you may need to acquire a permit.
Will your event require any permits?
On the subject of permits before going ahead with making plans and booking vendors always do your research and find out whether your event will require any permits from the city. Whether it's for parking, for a tent, or for a restroom trailer, you'll want to make sure your bases are covered to avoid any disappointed later on.
What about noise ordinances?
If you're planning on having a DJ or band, you can't overlook the noise your event will create. Check your local noise ordinances to see what they mandate. There will be a time frame during which your DJ or band should not be playing at all, and once you know what it is you can plan your event around this and avoid any special guest appearances from the police. If bothering your neighbors is a concern then consider a DJ as bands are generally louder by nature. Of course you could always opt for an acoustic band instead!
Does your homeowners insurance cover your event?
Get in touch with your home insurance provider and ask them whether your current policy covers your backyard event, if not then you should be able to add a special policy just for the day of. The cost is usually minimal, but with guests and vendors on your property it is best to be prudent and protect yourself against any liability.
Let your neighbors know what you are planning
About a month before the wedding let your neighbors know what you are planning, and warn them of any potential noise and disturbances. Also let them know what time your ceremony will be taking place so they won't be out with their lawn mowers or leaf blowers when your exchanging your vows! Once they know your plans, if you're lucky they might offer to lend a hand or parking space.
Renting tables, chairs and more
Unless you are having a teeny tiny wedding with just a handful of your nearest and dearest you're going to need to rent tables and chairs to accommodate everyone invited. You may also need to rent linens, glassware and dinnerware. Source vendors and meet with them to figure out the logistics of how to get everything to your property.
Borrow from your friends and family
If you need to rent everything from cutlery to candleholders costs can quickly spiral out of control, which is where your friends and family come in. Make a list of everything you need to bring your wedding vision to life then pass it round to see who might be able to help you out. Mismatched items can lend to the charm of your already unique event.
What are you doing about toilets?
By the far the least romantic thing about your wedding, but nevertheless important: toilets. You need to decide whether you are happy for your guests to use the washroom in your home, but before you do make sure you give it some serious thought. Do you want hundreds of people traipsing in and out of your home all day? Can your plumbing system take the extra stress? Renting a port-a-potty maybe a better alternative and don't worry because portable loos have gone luxe and these days many come complete with functioning sinks, full length mirrors and lighting.
Protect yourself from the elements
Marrying out in the open can leave you exposed to the elements, and if you don't want your wedding day to become another horror story, then you'll need to have a back up plan in case the weather doesn't cooperate. Hiring a tent will not only keep you and your guests from getting wet, it will also help provide vital shade if it's a hot sunny day.
Invite your cater over to scope out your kitchen
If you're hiring a caterer then they will need to know exactly what they've got to work with so invite them over to scope out the space and appliances well before the big day comes around. They'll need to know stove and fridge details, as well as access points to and from the kitchen and where you're guests will be eating.
Locate your nearest stores
Having a list of your local stores with directions can help avoid a major disaster in the event that something is forgotten and you need someone to dash out and stock up in an emergency.
Where are you going to put all the trash?
You would be amazed at the amount of trash that is generated at en event with 100 people. From beer cans to cigarette butts, consider renting a small dumpster, as well as placing extra trash cans around the property. To avoid having to pick up endless cigarette butts the following day have a designated smoking area complete with ashtrays or buckets filled with sand.
Keep a list of taxi services on hand
Some people tend to go a little overboard at weddings, so for those guests that end up having more than their share of alcohol be sure to keep a list of taxi services on hand that you can call in the event that a guest is unable to make their own way home.
Don't forget the clean up crew
Make sure you have a group of people that are responsible for cleaning up after the event. Once everyone has left the property there will be a giant mess and it's usually your responsibility to stack all the chairs in a convenient place for the rental company to pick up if you want to avoid extra fees.
Have a point person for the day
Find someone you trust and appoint them with the job of being the go-to person for all your vendors throughout the duration of the event. If you prefer you can always hire a wedding coordinator who will learn all the details and take care of anything that may come up.
Have we forgotten anything? Do you have any extra tips to share with our other readers about planning a backyard wedding?