“A copy is worse than nothing,” Frank Herbert wrote, and his words have never rung more true. Today, being original has become the ultimate challenge. While it’s definitely easier to go with, than against the stream, there is also the fact that we are immersed in trends to the point of sensory overload.
It is no wonder then that most couples decide to go for the obvious – a generic wedding: renting a venue, deciding on a menu and sending invitations sounds like a no-brainer. But if you’re one of those lucky people with a nice garden or a backyard and would prefer your wedding to have a more intimate, more romantic feel, organising a backyard wedding might be a great idea.
Having a wedding at home has many advantages, but most importantly, it will give you the freedom of being in control of every single detail, from picking the date and creating a fully customised menu to decorating and using the space to its full potential.
Since it offers a lot of convenience and flexibility, this could be a perfect solution for couples on a budget who are feeling creative and like to be in control of things.
You will need to start planning at least six months in advance, the most obvious reason being thorough preparation of your backyard. If your backyard is already in great shape, all the better, but if not, you will want to consider preparing the lawn: sowing grass and planting takes time. Flooring one part of your backyard might also be a good idea – it will even the terrain and prevent sticky situations in case of rain.
Also, you will need to check your insurance coverage, obtain a party permit if necessary, consider parking capacities for your guests, and, of course, check with the neighbours to see if they’d object to the noise.
Once you’ve made sure your backyard will be able to accommodate your guests, carefully consider the furniture and the amenities that you plan to use and make an outline of where to place them. You will have to provide an adequate number of tables, chairs, benches, lounges and other seating to make everyone comfortable.
Portable bathrooms or toilets and washing stations are a must. Since at least one toilet for every thirty or so guests will be necessary, you might want to check the plumbing beforehand so as to avoid unpleasant accidents. Provide generators for powering the lights, the music, outdoor refrigerators, and other electricity-dependant equipment.
The weather is also an important factor in planning, as no matter the forecast, surprises are always possible. To protect your guests from both the sun and the rain, think about renting a quick-assembly tent or canopies, umbrellas, and parasols. Depending on the time of the year, try and include fans or outdoor heaters and blankets, especially if you’re planning to party far into the night.
Probably one of the biggest advantages of having a wedding at home is the ability to decide on the decorations in detail. Once you’ve picked a theme, you can start your search for decorations and other objects to give a personal touch to the setting.
For example, trees can be used to hang banners, string lights, lanterns or glass jars with candles. Walls can be painted or, even better, covered with amazing outdoor wall art which is more durable, more weather-resistant, and easier to apply. The best thing is, it can grace your walls for many years to come.
Rustic-style wooden tables are a great choice if you don’t want to worry about dirtying the linens. Use tree stumps to place all the extra lightning, food or tableware that otherwise wouldn’t fit on the tables. And, to make it easier for your guests, you can put up signposts to point them in the direction of the amenities.
Making full use of the setting will require some well-thought-out planning. On one hand, you will want to include all that is necessary to accommodate your guests, store the food and drinks and provide maximum comfort. On the other hand, you will also want to avoid the space getting overcrowded and people being unable to move freely.
If your space allows it, having a bar would be a great idea, and if you’re keen on preparing the food by yourself, you can also include grills and roasters, or even a small outdoor kitchen. Otherwise, you will have to rely on caterers, in which case you’ll need to carefully plan the timing – you don’t want your wedding cake and other desserts to melt into a puddle of goo in the heat.
Organising a backyard wedding can be demanding, but it’s also very rewarding. In addition to the intimate, relaxed feel, it will also give you the opportunity to get exactly what you want at a relatively small expense. From chairs and tables to grills, tableware and decorations, you can use what you have, and what you don’t, you can always borrow or rent. Food can be prepared at home or catered, and if you don’t want to hire staff, you can ask your family and friends for help.
Finally, and I’m sure you’ll agree, there’s no better way to start a life together than bonding over organising your own wedding with a joint effort.