25 Backyard Wedding Ideas

Anything but casual

Updated 10/11/19

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 of a timeless trend—gorgeous greenery. Think a ceremonial 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 topiaries can make for an unexpected addition inside or outside of a reception tent, or as aisle markers, while tying in with the backyard.

From a wild organic feel to a classy tented reception, these ideas prove that a backyard wedding doesn’t have to be laid-back.

01 of 25

Create a Chill Lounge Area

Outdoor seating

Photo by 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

Wedding Tent Tablescapes

Photo by Lauren Fair Photography

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

03 of 25

An Outdoor Gelato Bar

Gelato bar

Photo by Emily Magers

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

04 of 25

Add Macramé to Your Chairs

Macramè chair backs

Photo by Lott’s

Rattan chairs adorned with macramé for the newlyweds are exquisitely dreamy and bohemian.

05 of 25

Add Some Color to Your Outdoor Tables

Blue Damask Cocktail Tables

Photo by Erich McVey

Cocktail tables draped in white and blue damask linens bring some New England charm to this lush lawn.

06 of 25

It's All About the Entrance

Wedding tent entrance

Photo by Michael and Carina Photography

Make a grand entrance for a tented backyard reception with curtains elegantly pulled back by foliage and accented by topiaries and candles.

07 of 25

Go Green(er)

Wreath

Photo by 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

Eucalyptus tablescape

Photo by Anni Graham

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

09 of 25

Display Baked Goods

Pie Dessert Table

Photo by 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

Pool walkway

Photo by 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

Eucalyptus and tie-dye tablescape

Photo by 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 charm.

12 of 25

Make Framed Wire Chic

Rustic escort cards

Photo by 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

Potted plant tablescape

Photo by Becca Lea Photography

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

14 of 25

A Chandelier of Greenery

Chandelier wreath

Photo by 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

Custom painted wedding Jenga

Photo by 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

Rustic bar cart

Photo by 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

B&W Photo Display

Photo by Kaoverii Silva Photographer

Stack white crates filled with black and white photos of the newlyweds, eucalyptus, and lanterns for a personal décor statement that’s both refined and rustic.

18 of 25

Decorate With Black and White

B&W Tented Reception

Photo by Leila Brewster Photography

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

19 of 25

Small Leaves Go a Long Way

Greenery place cards

Photo by 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

Rustic drink cart

Photo by 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

Natural Arch of Greenery

Photo by 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

Garden romance tablescape

Photo by 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

Greenery escort cards

Photo by 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

All white tented wedding reception

Photo by 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

Hints of lavender decor

Photo by Kristina Adams Photography

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

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