The Backyard Wedding
By Natalie Tsang
October 5, 2011
Depending on the backyard, it can be a small intimate wedding of fifteen or you can have well over a hundred guests. It's not unheard of that a backyard wedding can cost more than a reception at a hotel or country club, because of the sheer amount of things that you can arrange. The charm of a backyard wedding is that you're inviting people into your home, the place that is most you. While other places can be dressed up to represent your style, a house is a multi-layered, sometimes multi-generational expression of you. It might be the place that you and your husband are starting lives together, it might be your parents or grandparents' home where you grew up. It might belong to your fiance's family and the place where you realized you had a second family who loves you. Or it might be your dream home; rental now, but reality soon.
The first thing you should do is look at the space. The most important question is, "Is it big enough?" How much do you want to change it? What's the budget? Will you be building any structures, doing any landscaping? Certain backyards just lend themselves to themes. Dark ivy colored walls and roses are so The Secret Garden. A big green expanse and a gazebo? Perfect for something princess-y. A BBQ pit can be transformed into classic Southern or Hawaiin luau. And always have a Plan B in case of bad weather.
Your family and friends will undoubtedly be very involved in your backyard wedding. From manning the grill to mowing the grass, there are hundreds of tiny tasks that need to be done. However, you don't want to burn them out. A wedding coordinator can help you organize yourself and see your backyard in a new way. A cleaning crew will give your house a professional scrub down. Vendors will need to check out your home so make time for them.
Unless your wedding is very small, you will have to rent are tables and chairs, linens, cutlery, and plateware.
You may need to rent additional lights or heat lamps, tents, trash cans, an electric generator, portable toilets,hire set up and break down help, and waiters.
As a rule of thumb, your wedding should not make other people miserable. You don't want to have guests illegally park all over the neighborhood. You don't want to keep your neighbors up all night. You don't the cops to bust you.
Check your city's rules on parties and get a party permit if needed. You may have to get a noise ordinance if you plan to have a live band, quartet, or loud music. However, its incredibly rude to have loud music going on late into the night. While you can knock on doors and inform your neighbors, its best and most considerate to make sure there's ample parking space. You can arrange transport from a parking lot to your home. After the cake cutting, you can call a limo and relocate the party to a lounge or club.