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As intimate weddings have gained popularity the past couple of years, more and more couples are turning to backyard weddings for their wedding day. Not only are they more cost effective, but they’re personal, fun, and create such a unique experience for you and your loved ones. There are SO many positives to planning a backyard wedding, but with that being said, there is also a LOT of planning that goes into hosting a backyard wedding. In this blog we are going to do a run through of what you need to know when planning your backyard wedding.
When starting the planning process for your backyard wedding, you’re going to want to start dreaming up exactly what you hope to experience with your partner. The first thing you will want to discuss is how large you plan to have your backyard wedding be. Knowing the number of people you hope to have at your wedding will help you to make ALL the decisions you need to make going forward, so this one is super important! Next, you’ll want to dream about and talk about the rest of the 4 W’s. You’ve already covered the who, but you’ll also want to go over what your wedding day will look like when you hope to have your wedding day take place, and get a rough vision of where you hope to have your wedding.
Though your immediate thought for a backyard wedding might be to have it in your own backyard, this isn’t always possible if you have a backyard that is on the smaller side and you hope to have a large number of people from your life in attendance. When deciding where to throw your own wedding, try to think outside the box. Keep in mind that hosting at your own house can be exhausting. See if any family members or friends offer to host your big day, or, look for alternative spaces that allow events on the premises, like VRBO’s, Inn’s or cabin resorts that can provide you with that same DIY backyard wedding feel. Keep your guest number in mind as you decide on your location so you can ensure that everyone will be able to attend and you’ll have plenty of space for all your wedding day festivities!
The next two W’s of planning your backyard wedding are what do you want your wedding day to look like and when will it happen. When it comes to what it will look like this is entirely up to you and your soon to be spouse. Do you want yard games at your wedding? What will your ceremony and reception look like and include? Do you plan to have speeches and entertainment for your backyard wedding? There really are no wrong answers here, so plan accordingly to ensure that you and your partner both have the same expectations as you plan out what your wedding day will look like. As far as when to have your backyard wedding, unless you have family hosting it that are in Florida or somewhere similar where the weather is warm year round it goes without saying to avoid the winter.
That being said when it comes to spring, summer, and fall it totally comes down to preference on what you want your day to look like and what you want to plan for. Fall and spring are going to be a bit cooler on average than the summer, but are prone to more inconsistent weather, especially here in the Midwest. Whether it be rain in the spring or snow in the fall the Midwest loves to keep us on our toes! Summer is the safer option though you’ll likely have to deal with some more extreme heat which can be a problem in its own right. Whatever season you choose you’ll want to read the next section to plan accordingly.
If you’re planning to have your wedding at your home or another outdoor space, especially if you’re from the Midwest, you’re going to want to be sure you are prepared for all types of weather. If indoors is not an option, you will want to make sure there is another structure in place to host your guests. Renting a tent, or another form of covered space is a MUST for outdoor weddings. Be sure to have this booked in advance, do NOT wait until the last minute to check the weather, the last thing you want to do is be stuck in the rain without an alternative on your wedding day. Even if the chances of rain are low it’s better to have an option of cover and not need it than need some shelter and not have any options!
For larger backyard weddings with 50+ people, you will want to think about having some extra amenities available to accommodate the larger number of guests. If you want to avoid people going in and out of your home, think about having other amenities such as a bathroom and a valet to park your guests’ cars throughout your neighborhood. Wedding days can be stressful enough as it is with all the planning that is involved which is why it is SO important to plan ahead for things like this to avoid unnecessary stress on yourself.
When preparing your wedding spaces you will want to think about the number of people you plan to have at each part of your day and what you plan to do within the space. In general, with each location you use for different parts of your wedding day, there will be three things to prioritize. Size, light, and aesthetics.
When choosing a location to get ready in for your backyard wedding, you will want to think about who you hope to have with you while you get ready for your wedding day and think of the following. Does the space have plenty of light for my loved ones to get ready in and for my photographer to document these special moments together? Is there enough space for my loved ones to eat, get ready, store their things, and do their hair and makeup all at the same time? Are there enough outlets for each of my loved ones to plug in their curling irons, and other getting ready tools within the space? And last but not least, will you have enough space to lay out your wedding attire and keep it safe and clean as all of these people are moving about your getting ready space?
When prepping your ceremony space for your backyard wedding you’re going to want to ensure you and your guests are able to be comfortable and present during your ceremony. First, you’re going to want to look at the backdrop you’re working with. You will want to have a generally neutral backdrop for your ceremony so that you and your guests can focus on the ceremony taking place. Next, you will want to be sure there is enough space for your guests to sit or stand in a way that allows everyone to see the ceremony take place.
After this, you will want to think through the lighting for your ceremony. If you are planning to get married in a darker space you will want to be sure there are plenty of light sources scattered throughout for both you, your guests and your photographer to be able to see and document what is going on during your ceremony. On the other hand, if you plan to have your ceremony somewhere where there is a lot of direct sunlight, you will want to make sure that your guests do not have to stare directly into the sun for your ceremony and that you have a backup plan if weather becomes unruly. These clear umbrellas are a great option for outdoor weddings that don’t have a backup plan for the ceremony.
When prepping your reception space, lighting is going to be key for a number of different reasons. First and foremost, you will want to make sure you have plenty of lighting on your tables as well as around your reception space. There are so many creative ways to light your backyard wedding space, but some of my favorites include string lights, candles, and vintage inspired lighting such as chandeliers hung from trees, tents and placed on tables throughout your space. These will make for a great experience for your guests as well as create magical images from your photographer.
If you’re in love with the idea of a backyard wedding, just… not in your backyard, you’re in luck! There are so many different ways to achieve a similar backyard wedding feel without having the full backyard wedding. There are many VRBO’s that allow events to take place at the location as well as a variety of Inn’s and other alternative wedding venues can give you the same homey DIY feel without having it at your own home. Some great VRBO’s in Illinois include: Grafton Illinois, Marshall Illinois, Petersburg Illinois
There are a lot of reasons that backyard weddings are becoming more and more popular and believe me I am HERE for it! I love backyard weddings and the idea of photographing yours. If you’re planning your wedding and still need a photographer head to my contact page to send me an inquiry and we can begin your backyard wedding planning process.
November 25, 2022
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Rachael Marie Photography values inclusivity and will never discriminate against your gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, body type, or abilities. You are wonderful, beautiful, and loved here.