There’s just something extra magical and adventurous about getting married in a private backyard. A dash of elopement vibes paired with the presence of all your favourite people makes an unforgettable soiree. A backyard wedding gives you so much freedom to make it what you want it to be. Keep reading for unique inspiration and all the backyard wedding tips you need to pull off the best backyard celebration you’ve ever thrown!
From the practical must-haves to the lovely touches you and your guest will never forget, here’s our top list of inspirational backyard wedding tips:
Keep reading for a guide packed with all the backyard wedding tips and resources you need to jumpstart your planning!
Make sure your guests have easy access to bathrooms, or even better if you are able to rent portable bathrooms for your guests! Portable toilets range in price. Trailer-style luxury portable washrooms generally start around the $2000 mark. The trailer-style ones come with a large tank of water for flushing/hand wash sinks so you wouldn’t be using your own personal water supply. You can also go with a standard porta-potty. There really are so many different styles. Whatever you choose, you can always deck out your powder room area with little conveniences and decor that make it feel even more special! Think little items like spray deodorant, tampons, pads, individual breath mints, extra masks, and lots of hand sanitizer!
If you’re hiring an external caterer, make sure they have a dedicated place to do their prep. Details to think about when assigning a space for them include a clean garage or kitchen, or they can also do their prep under their own rented area. A 12′ x 12′ tent is typically a good space for your caterer but make sure to check with them.
You will need access to power, and sometimes the logistics of making that happen can be tricky! So many different details of your day require a power source. Lighting in your tent (string lights or a chandelier etc) will need a reliable and safe plug-in. The DJ/musicians also need power. Also, a microphone + speaker(s) will be needed in order for the officiant to conduct your ceremony and for everyone present to hear. Don’t have your own generator? You can buy one on Amazon or Rent one from Home Depot to have access to Power in hard-to-reach places. Don’t forget to also invest in a few good-quality outdoor-safe extension cords.
One of the most important backyard wedding tips is to have a tent! You can either buy or rent tents! Tents are ideal for guests, and also for your food service. Tents protect you and your guests from the elements, including rain, the sun, and heat. When you rent a tent, set-up and take-down are included in the cost. The best (and most cost-effective) tent set-up is on grass.
For tent size, a 20×30 tent is a great size for around 40 people. A 20×30 tent allows for some extra space and movement that should include space for your bar. If you are hosting fewer people, it’s a great size for extra breathing room. A framed tent doesn’t have a pole in the middle so allows a little more flexibility on the placement of things inside. A 10×10 tent is typically a good size for catering a smaller wedding. Keep in mind airflow for hot weather! If your tent has sides make sure to get some large fans going to keep the air moving!
It’s always important to follow public health guidelines as the host to keep everyone safe! Make sure you are following the guidelines for guest capacity on your private property! Public health guidelines can change so consider hiring a wedding planner who can manage your venue and public health guidelines for you!
A backyard wedding is a lot of work to pull off. 100% the best way to fully enjoy your wedding day is to hire a wedding planner. At a minimum, plan for a day-of coordinator to take on the stressors. They will help you navigate all the guidelines and moving pieces. We love wedding planners the most because they know how to turn your backyard wedding into a true oasis. Styling your wedding sourcing and using all the elements you love they make wedding planning easy the way it should be. If you are planning an elegant backyard wedding, a coordinate is a must. They are venue experts and will create your vision without stress. Side note: We adore working with Kassia Tjia Events and even offer a special micro wedding package that includes her services!
Speaking from the standpoint of your photos, one of the biggest keys to having a gorgeous wedding day visually speaking is to have a cohesive theme. For example, this backyard wedding we photographed had plenty of bold and colourful wildflowers from Harris Flower Farm! Their overflowing florals on a backyard arch were transferred over to the podium during the reception to make the most of their budget. Also, extra floral pieces were provided by the florist and used for stylized detail photos. Colour is a wonderful way to add extra life to a backyard wedding, but you really can pick any theme that speaks to your heart! From a wanderlust theme to a simple elegant greenery and white florals theme, it can be whatever you want it to be.
We love food, and one of our tips has to be you can never have too much food or drink at a backyard wedding celebration! Make sure to have a great hydration station and a surplus of wedding day nourishment! Also, don’t skimp on the ice for a hot weather day! For water, a pro tip is to get water cooler jugs at Costco. Also, why not get a food truck? Let them take care of the catering and your guests choose their own favourites from the menu you’ve selected for the night! If you want to skip seated eating, you can also go for a cocktail hour. Still looking for the perfect caterer? Click here for our favourite caterers in London and Southwestern Ontario.
This one goes along with catering! The best touch on a wedding day is when a server offers you something exquisite or unique to enjoy! Having service staff ensures extra food safety and adds that extra VIP touch! Here’s a list of our favourite wedding caterers in Southwestern Ontario.
The last thing you and your partner should be doing is decorating your own wedding. Call me spoiled, but we had a crew of friends and family that did it for us, and it was the greatest gift! You can also hire staff to do this! You get to focus on the main things instead of slaving and sweating. Enjoy being the honoured guests! Especially for tear-down, you will appreciate knowing everything is taken care of. So literally your only job is to getaway and get ready to start your honeymoon!
One of the first things to get cut from budgets is real flowers. But it’s actually one of the first things we recommend stay on your budget! Real flowers always photograph better. Faux or silk flowers can be lovely, but they will never photograph the way real florals do. At minimum, you will want to have a bouquet for you and some sizeable arrangements to hang from an arch that can be moved as needed to your podium. Learn who normally gets flowers on a wedding day.
There are so many things you can do to make your ceremony exit feel extra special. Paper confetti or petals are perfect for photos and add to the fun. You can purchase flower petals from Costco for extra cost savings. At the time this was written, you can purchase 5000 petals for just over $100.
Even with an intimate pandemic wedding, the bride and groom are permitted to dance. So plan for it! There’s nothing quite like a dance under the stars! Why not dance under the twinkle lights too? For a grassy backyard, look into renting “dance floor” flooring. Keep reading for the 6 amazing moments you’ll want to include on your wedding day!
Can you tell that we think twinkle lights are a magical thing for backyard weddings? The party is just beginning once nighttime falls! Twinkle lights add ambience, but they also define a space in the most magical way! Hanging twinkle lights over a long harvest table for a moon-lit wedding reception is not only memorable but absolutely beautiful. Make sure to have that generator on hand for this one! So worth it! Want to see more from the beautiful wedding below? Click here to see this inspirational boho chic wedding day!
For the added comfort of your guests and depending on the weather, look into having outdoor heaters or large outdoor fans. These are the little comforts that make a big difference. Going for a more rustic approach? Tiki torches are great! A big bonfire and a basket of complimentary shawls to stay warm as it gets later into the night is a great touch! Tiki torches for the early evening into the dark with citronella oil-burning helps keep mosquitoes down. Also, think about providing a bucket with bug spray and sunscreen for your guests.
There are so many great tips and ways to provide entertainment for your wedding guests even in your backyard. Here are some great ideas:
Finally, on our list of tips for a small backyard wedding is that it can actually be harder to photograph. A typical wedding venue has well-designed spaces that photograph well from just about any angle. Backyard weddings may have fewer angles that photograph well, especially for your portraits. That’s why it’s important to invest in a professional photographer. Personally, we are trained to make even small backyard weddings feel upscale and stunning based on our play with angles and strategic backdrops!
So even if you don’t have a space decorated to the nines, we are very mindful with our angles to showcase all the beauty we see! Here’s an example of that. This wild-flower themed backyard wedding was absolutely stunning and so heartfelt but was not especially decorated. You can see however that we were able to make it feel highly themed through the use of plenty of detail images and we were careful with our angles to get flattering backdrops when there were limited options.
When it comes to getting beautiful ceremony photos, make sure to pick a clean, classic background for your vows. The cleaner the background it, the more your emotions and the beauty of the moment will pop! Sometimes that means building a backdrop. Or drape a big beautiful tree as the focal point for your ceremony. The key is a picking a non-distracting open backdrop.
I hope this backyard wedding ideas blog was helpful as you plan the intimate wedding of your dreams! Backyard weddings are a labour of love because you have to pull together a lot of the luxuries that you’d automatically get when you book a wedding venue. But they also allow you to design a celebration that is very personal and beautiful. The best backyard wedding tips are the ones that are a reflection of who you are. You can dress them up for a divine elegant celebration, or dress them down, it’s completely up to you!
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We're Dylan & Sandra. Married photographers, donut lovers, and obsessed with family and our squishy toddler. We're so glad you're here! Grab a drink and stay awhile for classic + joy-filled love stories in and around the GTA, London, Niagara and the best-of wedding advice!
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