Four Steps for Planning a Private Backyard Wedding

4 Steps for Planning a Private Backyard Wedding

There are many perks to a backyard wedding. It’s often less expensive, more intimate, and more comfortable for everyone. If you don’t want a big wedding, but don’t want to elope, it’s a perfect happy medium.

Ojai Valley Inn Wedding

Venue: Ojai Valley Inn (Ojai, CA) Photo Credit: Michael & Anna Costa Photography

However, what goes on behind the scenes can be stressful without proper planning. Most major wedding venues know how to handle vendors, parking, space issues, and privacy. It’s their job to make sure everything goes smoothly. Without that kind of experience, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed planning a wedding — especially when guests are coming to your home.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to plan ahead and create the perfect, private backyard wedding. By putting in the legwork now, you’ll ensure your guests have a great time and that you’re able to experience the wedding of your dreams on your terms.

1. Talk to Your Neighbors

When you’re planning a wedding, talking to people who may not actually be in attendance probably doesn’t seem like the first step — but it should be if it’s in your backyard. If you live in a residential area, or even if your home is in a more rural environment, you’re bound to have neighbors.

It’s a good idea to be on good terms with those neighbors before the wedding day. Having a solid, friendly relationship will help to ensure they don’t complain about any noise, people, or parking issues.

With that in mind, you might also want to consider asking for a neighborly favor. While backyard weddings are typically small, you might not have enough room for parking in your driveway. Ask your neighbor if you can use their driveway as well. Even asking them to help you set up a tent, tables, and decor can take a lot of stress off of your shoulders. A thoughtful gift for your surrounding neighbors that aren’t invited to the wedding goes a long way.

Don’t be afraid to invite them to the big event, too! Keeping those ties is important, and being friends with your neighbors can improve your quality of life, provide support, and make your neighborhood safer as everyone watches out for each other. Even if you’re not necessarily that close right now, everyone loves free cake.

2. Make It Private and Pretty

The last thing you want during an intimate wedding ceremony is to feel like you’re being watched or for noise from the outside world to disrupt anything. No matter where you live, adding privacy to your backyard is easier than you think, and it can even add to the aesthetic of the day.

Consider using different landscaping ideas to add privacy while offering a natural, peaceful look. Some of the best landscaping ideas to increase privacy include:

  • Hedges
  • Trees
  • Potted plants
  • Bamboo
  • Plant-covered latticing
  • Boxwood walls
  • Floral installations

Utilizing natural decor is another great way to make things feel more private and intimate. Decorate the space with whatever flowers are in season and use hedges and trees to protect your event from onlookers. Natural items won’t seem as obvious or out of place.

If you prefer to a more modern-like design, you might want to try using those decorative privacy panels. You could just install it yourself and move it anytime.

3. Communicate With Vendors

Most wedding vendors are used to working in various locations and can handle weddings of any size. However, while they might have experience “doing it all,” you probably don’t have the same knowledge.

Work with them, utilize what they know, and actively communicate with them as often as possible. You don’t want your caterers to show up on the day of the wedding not knowing where to go or not having space to store the food. You also have to think about rentals, bathrooms, power, lighting, back up plans, etc. By being open and clear ahead of time, you’ll make sure the day is less stressful for your vendors and keep you calm, cool, and collected for your wedding.

4. Create a Checklist

One of the most significant benefits of hosting a backyard wedding is that you’re in complete control. It’s your home, so you get to establish your own rules.

However, that also means all of the responsibilities and logistical decisions fall on you, too. It’s a good idea to have a checklist in place for planning purposes so you can make sure your “venue” is actually the right fit for your big day. Make sure your list includes:

  • A Floor Plan/Layout — make sure to include a seating chart
  • Bathroom Usage — decide on rented or in-home facilities
  • Decor — include flowers, table runners, and any signage
  • Weather summer weddings are perfect for backyards
  • Deliveries — know where to direct delivery carriers throughout the day for load in and out
  • Lighting — make sure to use functional lighting and change it up if the sun starts to set
  • Rentals — you are building the event from the ground up; so this is very important to ensure success

You’ll also have to make sure to plan for cleanup and tearing everything down after the event is over. If you’re the one getting married, you might not want to do that on your own — especially if you’re heading off on your honeymoon. Make sure you have a plan in place for everything to get done, even in your absence. The last thing you want to be doing the night of or day after your wedding is cleaning it up.

The perfect backyard wedding doesn’t have to be expensive, elaborate, or stressful. By planning ahead, prioritizing privacy, and making sure everyone from your neighbors to your vendors is on the same page, you’ll be able to enjoy your special day in a space where you feel comfortable, surrounded by those closest to you. And as always, if reading this article causes anxiety of any kind, consider hiring an experienced wedding planner who has planned these types of events.

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