Planning A Backyard Wedding | Emma Thurgood Weddings

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Planning a Backyard Wedding

February 5, 2022

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My name is Emma and I'm so glad you're here! As an intimate wedding and elopement specialist I am here to give you the knowledge, guidance and support you need as you plan your best day ever! 

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Yes! You’ve decided you want an intimate wedding and that a backyard wedding is the perfect way to create that atmosphere! But planning a backyard wedding comes with a whole host of challenges on top of the usual tasks that a couple has to take care of when planning a wedding. This post is the must-read guide to planning your backyard wedding with tips specific to the unique challenges these weddings present.

How to plan a backyard wedding

  • Choose your date. Consider what the weather is like at different times of year and how that affects the ground at the property you will be hosting at. Also consider that you’ll need at least three days: one for set up, one for the wedding day, and one for breakdown.
  • Decide on your vibe. Do you want it to feel like a backyard barbeque or do you want to go a little more luxe? Figuring out what you want your day to look and feel like is going to affect the choices you make further along in planning.
  • Hire a planner. Having a planner for your backyard wedding is essential. They’ll be able to help you source your rentals, refine and design your vision for the day, and they will be able to assist with the set up of the day so that you and your family & friends aren’t getting all tired and sweaty mere hours before the ceremony.

Did you know I offer photography + planning? It makes your wedding experience super streamlined!

  • Secure your rentals ASAP. Items you’ll likely need to rent include a tent, flooring, tables, chairs, benches, arbor, plates and flatware, glassware, linens and possibly some décor items.
  • Catering. This is a pretty important item to really research and assess your options. While delivered buffet trays are less expensive than an onsite mobile caterer, someone needs to be in charge of setting it up and lighting all the sternos. An onsite mobile caterer will also be more likely to set up all the linens and tableware and take care of packing it back up for rental pick-up. Another fun option is to go with food trucks and even mobile bars.
  • Bartending. Speaking of mobile bars, even if you don’t hire a cocktail truck, be sure to have a licensed bartender for your wedding. it can feel fun to just set up coolers of beer, but ultimately you (and your insurance) are responsible for the alcohol consumption at your wedding. Licensed bartenders know when to cut a person off and you won’t have any “accidentally” heavy pours in the drinks.
  • Entertainment. Figure out what kind of reception you want to have. Does it include a hopping dance floor? Are you just having lawn games? Maybe it’s also a pool party. The entertainment you include in your day is going to be the biggest influence on achieving your intended vibe.
  • Power. Whether you hire a DJ, live musicians or you decide to go for the DIY DJ (aka: Spotify), you’re going to need to consider how things will be powered. All the power needs of a wedding could overload your home’s circuit breaker, so it’s a good idea to get some good generators that can handle a large power load for a prolonged period (or make sure your DJ has their own).

Need a little more guidance? Get access to a free planning checklist by clicking here!

  • Other vendors. Yes, just like any other wedding you’re going to want to hire a photographer, an officiant, hair and makeup, florist, etc. Choose vendors who are familiar with backyard weddings and the ways that they are different from a ballroom wedding. Backyard weddings tend to be more fluid in their structure and timeline, whereas ballroom weddings follow a very strict timeline and structure with little room for error or deviation.
  • Bathrooms. Decide if people are going to be allowed to freely enter and exit the home to use the restroom or if you should rent some of those fancy bathroom trailers.
  • Parking. You need to ensure that there are enough places for your guests to park and be able to come and go, and that it’s all within the laws. Check with your location’s Home Owner’s Association and the municipal ordinances.
  • The Day Of. This is really important, because you don’t want to be the one decorating the tent and laying out the food on your wedding day. You should instead be relaxing with your crew getting ready for the ceremony. For this you can enlist the help of some not-critical guests (like a helpful cousin or two who aren’t in the wedding party), or you can hire a day-of coordinator if you opted not to use a planner.
  • Weather. Be ready for anything. Your wedding day could be blazingly hot, unseasonably cold, have torrential rain, or have crazy winds. Be sure to consider the likelihood of any of these scenarios and put in motion counter measures to combat them.

Planning your backyard wedding in New England?

Be sure to join my New England Elopements and Small Weddings Facebook group to get access to advice, tips, vendor referrals and more!

Get the
ultimate guide

Sign up to access my "Plan a Small Wedding in 6 Months" Checklist! 

Join the Conversation

Head on over to my New England Elopements & Small Weddings Facebook group for inspiration, support, vendor recommendations and more!

My name is Emma and I'm so glad you're here! As an intimate wedding and elopement specialist I am here to give you the knowledge, guidance and support you need as you plan your best day ever! 

 Hey there! 

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You love being in nature because it restores & heals your soul.

You have this feeling that you absolutely MUST explore somewhere or something new before you burst at the seams!

You sing the words to soulful songs that tell stories about all the stages of love.

You love to indulge in a good fantasy book or show.

You know who Helen Frankenthaler is without Googling it.

You love being in nature because it restores & heals your soul.

You have this feeling that you absolutely MUST explore somewhere or something new before you burst at the seams!

You sing the words to soulful songs that tell stories about all the stages of love.

You love to indulge in a good fantasy book or show.

You know who Helen Frankenthaler is without Googling it.

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