Hunting for the perfect wedding venue can be one of the most fun parts of planning your wedding … or one of the most stressful!
You want a country house, your partner wants city center. Your parents chime in with ”oooooh a castle might be nice!” but you can’t think of anything worse than a drafty old theme park styled castle. Then there are other things to consider – a venue with or without staff, with or without a roof, with or without accommodations. If you’re lucky you’ll stumble across the perfect combination that makes you all happy. If you’re lucky.
But what do you do when you’re struggling to find that perfect location for your wedding? What if you’ve been hunting everywhere and you just can’t find/agree on ‘the’ one? Maybe it’s time to consider getting married in your own back yard!
Let’s take a look how you can start planning to get married at home:
First things first, you need to think about size. How many guests do you want to have? If you live on a farm you can most likely have a herd of guests, but if you live in a four bedroom with a small backyard you might need to limit your numbers.
Tell the neighbors! You might not want to invite them to the whole thing but do be willing to invite them to the evening bash. This will warm them up to the idea & smooth a lot of ruffled feathers if the music gets too loud. Warn them about the potential for noise, traffic and parked cars.
Which brings us to parking! By all means ask your neighbors if they’d be willing to let your guests use their driveways on the day, but if not and parking is limited on your street, consider a ‘park and ride’ area – a lot or car parking area somewhere close by that everyone can meet at and you rent a shuttle bus to transport them to your house. Failing this option ensure your guests know the parking situation and encourage taxis & Uber!
Now a delicate topic…. the toilet situation needs attention. 30-50 guests and you’ll probably be ok with your own home toilets so long as you have more than one and are happy for people to traipse through your house, but more guests and you’ll need to consider hiring in porta potty. But not those vile grey plastic boxes, nope, you can get lovely festive self-contained units now so shop around for something a little better.
TIP: Unless you live in the country, you’ll probably need to get a permit from the city.
Catering shouldn’t be too much of an issue – you have a kitchen and a running water supply (not always the case with a tent set up) so your caterers are already happy. However a word of warning – not all caterers are insured to work in a private residence so check this out in your search. A good alternative is to have the food cooked elsewhere and brought to the house to be served. This may limit your choices but with a good caterer you should be able to come up with some great ideas. Or ask your favorite restaurant if they will cook and deliver. You’ll have to bring in waiting staff though, so check out some agencies, or even the local catering college.
Another idea? How about hiring a couple catering trucks to serve your guests? These food trucks are no longer only considered "roach coaches", there are some fabulous gourmet trucks to choose from!
Where will people sit and what will they eat off/with? It’s likely your caterer will supply all of the required cutlery, crockery and glass wear so that’s one less thing to worry about. When it comes to seating however, not many people have enough tables to seat 50 people laying around so you might have to consider renting tables, chairs & linens. On a budget? Ask friends and family if you can borrow tables and chairs for a bohemian feel.
Put the bar in the garage. That way you have plenty of storage at the back to keep all of the drinks cool and it’s out of the way. No garage? Consider hiring a mobile bar or a van.
So let’s see – you’ve told the neighbors, rented the furniture, got the toilet situation sorted, booked the caterer and decided on a bar. What’s left?
Do you have pets? You need to consider your four legged family members if you plan to wed at home. It might be worth putting them in a kennel for the weekend but this can be just as stressful as all of those people in their home. Perhaps leave them with a neighbor (easier with a dog but your cat might not be OK with it) or take to them to a family member’s home where someone could house sit with them.
Where’s the alcohol coming from? Short of buying out the grocers stock of whatever wine is on offer, consider a wholesale warehouse liquor center who will usually offer you sale or return on the wine, will deliver and collect and – should you think you’re going to run out – will top you up during the day (check with the supplier).
Who’s your cleaning crew? You will need to enlist the help of friends and family before AND after the wedding for cleanup. You could consider hiring an event crew for this part if you don’t want to impose on friends & family but to be fair, a home wedding is ALL about friends and family coming together so they probably won’t mind.
Have an ‘inclement weather’ plan! the weather is not always going to cooperate, so have a backup plan for the rain/snow/scorching heat! You can have a tent set up in your backyard, however you’ll need to consider overall size, height (do you have poles & wires hanging over your yard?) & consider how it’ll be delivered & set up. Is there a side entry gate wide enough to accommodate tent poles & tarps? If you rent a very large tent it’ll need to be offloaded from a trailer that will need to access the backyard.
One plus to setting up a tent is that with side walls you can monitor the inside temperature with fans, air conditioners or heaters, depending on the weather. But, you’ll most likely need electricity or generators available to run those elements.
And don’t forget the most important element in a wedding, besides the couple of course, you need an Officiant to conduct the ceremony. It won’t be anything other than a party until you get a marriage license & have an Officiant perform the ceremony.
Is your ceremony considered legal if it’s conducted in your back yard? Yup! Your license to marry is legal at any location within the jurisdiction it’s issued. You can get married in those rented porta potty’s if you like (but yuck don’t do that!).
So there you have it – our tips for planning your wedding in your own back yard. Your wedding day should be special and wherever you choose to do it there will be a lot of planning and preparation so we hope this guide is helpful.
BTW backyard weddings are our specialty! Give us a call to discuss your dream backyard wedding!
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