Backyard Wedding Tips: How to Have a Successful Event at Home

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of backyard weddings! I love the intimate feel and the flexibility they provide. Hosting a wedding at home liberates you from the rules and regulations of many traditional wedding venues and allows you to think outside the box a little bit. We chose the backyard wedding route for our big day when my cousin graciously offered to host the event at her house. Hosting an event at a location that is not typically used for weddings does have a few obstacles though. Here are a few things to keep in mind for your backyard wedding day:

  1. Check your county regulations – Most counties have restrictions on how loud you can play music and curfews for when the music must conclude. If you are renting a tent of a certain size you may need a special permit and an inspection by the fire marshal. Don’t assume that your rental company has taken care of these details!
  2. Consider the cost – A wedding at home is free, right? Not exactly. Make sure you have considered all of the additional costs needed to make the property wedding-ready such as rentals (tent, table, chairs, linens, dishes, glassware, restrooms). You also may want to think about any cosmetic projects that you want to be done to the home before the party such as landscaping, power washing, and painting.
  3. Look at your restroom situation – Make sure the number of restrooms you have available for your guests is adequate. You want your guests dancing on the dance floor, not outside the restroom door! Ideally I would recommend one restroom for every 25 people to avoid long lines and grumpy guests. If you need additional facilities, there are companies that provide really nice portable restrooms (that flush and everything!).
  4. Where will your guests park? – As a rough estimate I would say for every 100 wedding guests you will have about 50-60 cars, depending on how many guests ride together or arrange for other transportation to take them home at the end of the evening. Do you have room to park all those cars safely? Is there a nearby lot you could rent? Is it within easy walking distance or do you need to hire attendants to transport guests throughout the event to and from their cars?
  5. Do you have enough power? – Most homes are equipped with outdoor power sources that can be used for your DJ, lights, fans, etc. Make sure you understand how much power these outlets can handle, where they are located, and how much power you will require on your wedding day. If your home power will not be sufficient, consider buying or renting a generator.
  6. What’s the plan for the trash? – Will someone need to bring the extra trash to the dump? Will your trash pick up service provide an extra container for additional trash outside your regular household output?  Do you have trash cans available for your guests to use throughout the evening? Will your caterer remove his own kitchen trash or are you responsible for disposal? All these questions are much less problematic if asked before the event!
  7. Have a bad weather plan – Any outdoor wedding should have a Plan B in case the weather is miserable on the wedding day. Although you probably already have a tent arranged (I highly recommend it!), it’s a good idea to reserve side panels as well. The side panels will protect your guests and décor from rain that may blow into the tent. They can often be retracted or easily removed if the weather clears up midway through the party.
  8. Arrange for a clean up crew – Make sure to talk to the homeowners (if you are hosting an event at someone else’s home) to see when and how they want everything cleaned up. Does everything need to come down at the end of the evening or can it wait until the morning? Who is going to do the actual clean up? It’s a great idea to ask a few friends or relatives to assist with breaking down the event and collecting trash, either at the end of the evening or the next day. Chances are, you will be wrapped up in your wedding bliss and forget all about the mess you left behind.

With some careful planning and consideration, backyard weddings can be a beautiful, personal, and intimate option for your special day!

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