25 Backyard Wedding Ideas

Anything but casual

Updated 07/23/18

Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography

What’s not to love about a backyard wedding? They’re intimate, convenient, and perhaps best of all, often a budget-friendly (if not free) venue. But before you write off a backyard wedding as an overly casual affair that welcomes a rustic vibe only, know that there are endless ways to transform it into anything you want it to be.

For an elegant, formal look, a tented reception can go a long way. Pull back gauzy curtains with vines of florals or greenery for a statement entrance, suspend chandeliers from above for a bit of ambiance, and bring reception tables to life with gilded candelabras and chic linens. Bringing the indoors out in the form of a luxe lounge area will also create a more elegant vibe.

But, of course, if you do want a rustic look, you can give it an elevated take by ditching the burlap in favor for a timeless trend — gorgeous greenery. Think a ceremony arch rich in cascading greens, runners of eucalyptus on polished wooden tables, or overhead centerpieces of wreaths. If you want to include lawn games during cocktail hour, lend them an air of sophistication with your own touch — stamp your initials on croquet balls or paint an oversized Jenga set to match your wedding colors.

No matter how you style your backyard wedding, nature is always a good source of inspiration — you are outdoors, after all! Pull leaves from a tree right in the backyard — with a bit of calligraphy, they transform into escort cards for an easy DIY. Potted trees or topiary can make for an unexpected addition inside our outside of a reception tent, or as aisle markers, while tying in with the backyard.

From a wild organic feel to a classy tented receptions, these ideas prove that a backyard wedding doesn’t have to be laidback.

01 of 25

Create A Chill Lounge Area

Kristina Adams Photography

Somehow, this intimate lounge setting manages to be impossibly chic and cozy at the same time. Pair gilded accents with royal blue hues and wooden furniture for an effortless mix.

02 of 25

Bring Trees Inside Your Tent

Lauren Fair Photography

Bring trees inside your tented reception for a magical forest vibe. Paired with reception tables laden with gilded candlesticks and greenery, and you’ve got an elegant backyard wedding.

03 of 25

An Outdoor Gelato Bar

Emily Magers

An outdoor gelato bar gets a rustic Italian feel with wooden elements and greenery. How cute are those striped cups?

04 of 25

Add Macramé To Your Chairs

Lott’s

Rattan chairs adorned with macramé for the bride and groom are dreamily bohemian.

05 of 25

Add Some Color To Your Outdoor Tables

Erich McVey

Cocktail tables draped in white and blue damask linens bring some northeastern charm to this green lawn.

06 of 25

It's All About The Entrance

Michael and Carina Photography

Make a grand entrance for a tented backyard reception with curtains draped back with foliage and accented by topiary and candles.

07 of 25

Go Green(er)

Eliza Morrill Photography

Wreaths of greenery can go a long way. Place them on backyard gates for a subtle entrance statement.

08 of 25

Model Your Decor After Your Surroundings

Anni Graham

How gorgeous is this head reception table? Sans tablecloths, the bare wood and vases of lush eucalyptus shine. Tip: Model your decor after the surrounding landscape for a natural feel.

09 of 25

Display Baked Goods

Joel & Justyna

A backyard wedding isn’t complete without a baked pie for dessert — it’s the epitome of grandma’s kitchen.

10 of 25

Transform Your Pool

Nicole Lev Photography

Transform your pool into the centerpiece of your wedding. During the ceremony, a makeshift walkway can serve as the aisle. Afterward, it can double as the entrance to your reception.

11 of 25

Less Is More

Ashley Caroline Photography

Organic minimalism takes over this spread, accented by a runner of eucalyptus and tie-dye blue linens for a refined take on rustic vibes.

12 of 25

Make Framed Wire Chic

Jenny Moloney Photography

Framed wire has roots in farm life, but makes for a surprisingly chic escort card display when shrouded in white buds and boasting pops of blue.

13 of 25

Use Plants For Your Centerpiece

Becca Lea Photography

Potted flowerless plants mimic the shrubbery of a backyard in this green centerpiece.

14 of 25

A Chandelier Of Greenery

Ashley & James Photography

A chandelier wreath trio dances above an intimate tented reception in this backyard.

15 of 25

Lawn Games Are Always A Good Idea

April and Paul

Cocktail hour gets a lot more fun when there are lawn games to play. Elevate an oversized Jenga set by painting it in your wedding colors and setting it on a polished side table.

16 of 25

Bring The Bar Outside

Christina Zen Studio

Stock up a bar cart with bottles of bubbly for a quick and stylish refreshment.

17 of 25

Make A Picture-Perfect Display

Kaoverii Silva Photographer

Stacked white crates filled with black and white photos of the bride and groom, eucalyptus, and lanterns for a personal decor statement that’s both refined and rustic.

18 of 25

Decorate With Black And White

Leila Brewster Photography

The outdoors have never looked so elegantly classy, thanks to a gorgeous tented reception in chic black and white with glowing chandeliers.

19 of 25

Small Leaves Go A Long Way

Caroline Weiss

Small leaves make a big statement in a simple place setting, bringing the backyard straight to the table.

20 of 25

Have A Cart With Fruity Drinks

White Stag Weddings

Fruity drinks are a must for a summer backyard wedding. Display them in a bespoke wagon for a bit of vintage flair.

21 of 25

Let Nature Work Its Magic

Erin Krespan

Let nature work its magic — greenery is all you need for a breathtaking backyard ceremony backdrop.

22 of 25

Add Some Garden Romance

Eliza Morrill Photography

A lush garland with pops of pastel florals and vintage candelabras create a dreamy scene of garden romance.

23 of 25

DIY Leaf Escort Cards

Jose Villa

Leaves as escort cards not only complement a backyard wedding, they’re a budget-friendly DIY. Give them a feminine touch with pretty pink bows.

24 of 25

Have An All-White Color Palette

The Edges

A backyard reception gets a formal take in all-white beauty with gauzy curtains, high-back chairs, and sparkling chandeliers.

25 of 25

Add A Touch Of Lavender

Kristina Adams Photography

A bundle of lavender brings a French touch to the aisle next to modern acrylic chairs.

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