Backyard weddings take the cake on convenience and cost, but when it comes to planning and logistics, there’s way more than meets the eye. Did you know you need a generator? How about a party permit? Pull up a chair and gather ‘round. We’ve got the ultimate guide to backyard bashes that’s bride tested and groom approved. Let’s take it from the top, shall we?
First things first: Solidify a backup plan well in advance – just in case the weather decided to shift direction. You’ll want to know how you’re going to make changes, who you’re going to enlist to help, and by what time. If a tent is your plan B, lock down the rental earlier in the day so it’ll be ready when you need to pick it up in the afternoon. And don’t be afraid to practice take down and set up beforehand. It can make all the difference!
There’s nothing sexy about home owner’s insurance, but this is one area of your wedding budget you won’t want to skimp on. Double check what your insurance covers inside and outside the home and compare notes with your vendors, who should also have insurance. You may need to add on supplemental insurance, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Before you book vendors and send out invitations, check with your city officials about permits for large parties. Every town has fire codes, noise ordnances, and health department regulations that you won’t want to violate. In some cases, your vendors will need to file additional paperwork. This is when a wedding planner would really come in handy!
If you can, meet with a gardener or landscaper one year in advance of your backyard wedding. This gives them plenty of time to design, plant, and maintain the look and feel you want on your big day. And, most importantly, you’ll need a professional to check if your yard is level enough for tables, chairs, and the dance floor. Your gardener can do this, or you can ask the professionals who are setting up your tent. If the ground is not level, they’ll need to lay down a foundation first, which will be factored into your overall cost.
When you check on permits, look into street parking regulations as well. Some neighborhoods need residential parking permits, others prohibit overnight parking. If street parking is not an option for you, consider hiring a valet service to park cars at a nearby lot. Or offer a shuttle service to take guests to and from the parking lot.
Speaking of noise ordinances, you’ll want to notify your neighbors at least two to three months in advance so they can plan ahead and schedule a night out. An itinerary of the wedding and a small, thoughtful gift goes a long way here. Or better yet, invite them to your nuptials!
Nothing shuts down a party like a power outage. Between the extra lighting, the sound system, and the catering equipment, your home is going to need a little extra boost. Avoid blowing a fuse by renting a generator that can handle the heat.
Most vendors will want to survey your home before your wedding to get a lay of the land and to figure out what extra equipment they need to bring. Be sure to schedule walk-throughs before signing on the dotted line. It can save you hundreds of dollars!
If your guest list is over 20 people, we’d advise looking into an upscale portable toilet trailer, so you don’t overwhelm your plumbing. You can even add homey touches like custom toiletry bags and his-and-her hand soap.
Guests often forget to pack essentials or prepare for inclement weather. If you’re getting married on a chilly night, rent propane heaters or offer chic throws and pashminas that can double as wedding favors. If sun is a factor, keep a stock pile of sunscreen, parasols, sunglasses, and water on hand. Trust us, your guests will thank you!