Both intimate and elegant, a backyard wedding can provide a familial feel to your big-day celebration. Hosting your union at home not only allows for a more relaxed atmosphere, but it's also a great way to maintain a healthy budget. However, outfitting your own acreage for the occasion requires more than several folding chairs and a blooming arbor to mark the end of the aisle.
Here, À Votre Service Events founder Marie Danielle Vil-Young, Daughter of Design's principal planner Annie Lee, and Firefly Events manager Alia Wilson offer their expertise on how to properly prepare your home for a beautiful backyard wedding.
Make Any Necessary Repairs Immediately
The roofing project and leaky faucet that have occupied your to-do list for the past year are now a top priority. "Make sure to schedule any household repairs that you've been putting off," Wilson recommends.
Keep Blueprints on Hand
In order to prevent potential catastrophe from ruining your big day, keep a copy of your house's blueprints on hand in preparation for renovations, backyard landscaping, and the construction of temporary structures. "Make sure you have blueprints of the land that clearly mark where any water or power lines are underground," Wilson says. "You'll need to know this for tenting."
Rent a Generator (and Additional Restrooms)
Take a moment to think about the electrical components essential to your celebration. Many couples find that their backyard soiree requires an additional power source to supplement their primary generator. "For the amount of power that is required by the caterer, lighting, band, etc. we always suggest renting a generator for the event," Lee says. Additionally, your two or three bathroom home may not have the capacity to serve the entirety of your guest list. "It is important to consider a bathroom rental," Vil-Young adds.
One unit per 50 guests per hour is a general rule to work with.
Even the Playing Field
You won't have to think twice about creating a level dance floor at a reception hall or hotel ballroom, but mother nature doesn't offer the same stability guarantee. "Tables and chairs must be set on fairly even ground. Make sure the area you have your ceremony and dinner are level—and if it's not, level it!" Lee says. "Consider the area you're using for the wedding and make sure that in case of rain that the water won't naturally pool and gather in that area. You did not invite your guests over for a pool party!"
Create a Cohesive Landscape Design
While your initial impulse may be to infuse your garden with a rainbow of diverse blooms, Lee suggests enlisting the help of a professional to create a more unified aesthetic that corresponds with the wedding color scheme or theme. "Think ahead on design and either plant or speak with your landscaper about designing the entry and backyard with flowers that will compliment your wedding decor," Lee says.
Keep Pests Away
The last thing a wedding needs is bug bite-ridden guests, and Lee cautions couples to make a preemptive strike against bugs so as to prevent damage before it occurs. "I always have clients spray a pesticide a few days before the event to make sure their guests aren't eaten alive by mosquitos," she says.
When in Doubt, Tent It
Your planner will undoubtedly advise you to formulate a contingency plan in case of unforeseen rain showers or wind, and Vil-Young's solution is often tenting the reception area. "Many backyard events will involve tenting," Vil-Young says. In addition to shielding guests from a surprise storm, tents also provide a level of tasteful ambiance to a backyard wedding.
Verify Your Insurance
If your wedding is on the grander side, you may need to think about your insurance coverage. "Be sure to check home owner's insurance to check the coverage on the home," Vil-Young says. "It may be necessary to purchase a separate event or wedding insurance policy to cover the wedding activities as well as liquor liability."