Just a few weeks back, my little sister got married. She had an absolutely beautiful DIY backyard wedding on a tight budget that didn’t sacrifice in quality. My mom and I were helping her plan a wedding in a state none of us lived in, which presented it’s own challenges, but surprisingly everything worked out really great and with the help of an aunt’s great sense of style and attention to details we were able to create a beautiful backyard wedding space for both the ceremony and the reception.
Tips for a DIY Backyard Wedding
Seek the Shade – When mapping out the space, watch where the shade lies at different times of the day and plan around that. You’ll want the bride and groom in the shade, and the guests as much as possible as well. You’ll also want all the food and especially the wedding cake to be placed in the shade.
Plan the Aisle – Map out the best location for the bride to exit the home, using a door off the master bedroom if available for a more dramatic entrance. Also be sure to consider what will be in the background of the pictures as the bride comes down the aisle and where she stands at the alter. Create this space first, as it’s the most important part of the day.
Tables & Chairs – Plan tabled seating for at least 2/3 of the guests. You’ll find that not everyone sits at the same time and a lot of the guests will move around tables to visit with different friends and family. For a party of 50 people, planning tables and chairs for 35. We used 5 tables of 7 guests each, which worked out really well for our group size.
Intimate Seating Areas – Place a few chairs in groupings out along the outer edges of the party space. Don’t be afraid to place chairs where you might not normally think to. We made a big circle seating area in-between an unused space and a few groupings among the trees. It looked neat and gave a nice spot for guests to sit and chat.
Create a Dancing Area – If the backyard had as patio area, dress it up and set up the music here to create a dancing spot. Good music and showing off your dancing moves really livens up a backyard wedding. You can use the grass if you need to, but concrete or brick works best if you have it available.
Music – Setting up high-quality speakers to provide music to all the areas you’ll need for the ceremony, dancing, and reception area will keep the party mood. Some homes have built-in patio speakers that can be good enough if they cover the space needed. Look for simplicity by setting an ipod, tablet, or computer up and letting a playlist run so no one has to mess with the music.
Setting Up the Home – One of the big perks of a backyard wedding is having access to the home! Take advantage of the space by opening it up and moving big furniture to the edges of rooms to allow places for guests to come and go, if needed. We had a lot of family take advantage of the space by doing hair and makeup inside and there were lots of rooms available for getting dressed in the wedding attire.
Bride’s Area – The most important area to prepare is a space for the bridge to get ready. We let the bride take over the master bedroom with all the bridesmaids. They had plenty of space to do up their hair and makeup and get key pictures of them getting ready for the party.
Dinner – If you’re serving food at the reception, take advantage of the barbecue, if one is available. The grooms family prepared brisket ahead of time and warmed it on the barbecue making a so simple to prepare the meal the day of the wedding, and none of the heat was indoors. Also important is making sure perishables, like a potato salad, stay cold despite the warm weather if you’re planning a summer wedding.
In the end, it’s all about creating an intimate space that feels cozy but allows plenty of space for the guests. All you need is to plan for a few essentials and a few simple decorations to spruce up the space.
Check out our next post with a Backyard Wedding Checklist to ensure you have everything you need for your big day!