The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding | Junebug Weddings (2024)

The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding | Junebug Weddings (1)

Image by Tova Studios. Keep scrolling to get all the info on planning the perfect backyard wedding

A backyard wedding is perfect for couples who want a uniquely sentimental feel, love to be outdoors, or want their dream wedding on a budget. There are so many benefits to a backyard wedding–including cost and convenience–but with those benefits come a few extra details you need to keep in mind and situations you need to plan for.

To keep you on track, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about planning a backyard wedding, from logistics to design.

Benefits of a Backyard Wedding

Furry Friends Are Invited

Weddings at home give you the perfect excuse to include your pets in your big day! You don’t need to clear it with a venue or pay a deposit, your furry friend doesn’t need to stress over travel, and they can head back inside when they’re finished partying with your guests.

Money Can Be Saved

When you decide to have a backyard wedding at a family member’s or friend’s home, you automatically slash your wedding budget dramatically because you aren’t paying for a venue, security deposits, per-person fees, and all the other hidden charges that go along with it. You can also save money on decor since you’ll have the natural elements to add visual interest. Yes, you’ll likely need to rent almost everything else, but those rentals will not outweigh the cost of a venue.

Dates Are Flexible

This might seem like a small thing but having complete freedom to choose a date that works best for you and your fiance is actually a huge benefit of a backyard wedding. It’s especially helpful if you want to get married during peak wedding season when venues book up at least a year in advance.

You Can Have An Intimate Guests List

Because a backyard wedding tends to be naturally more intimate than awedding at a traditional venue, this is the perfect reason to keep your guest list small. If you’re nervous about how your families will react to a small guest list, remind them that space is the main limiting factor in your decision. Unless you’re getting married in the backyard of a multi-acre mansion, there simply won’t be enough space to accommodate a huge guest list. (But, really,you don’t need to feel guilty about your wedding guest list, no matter where you decide to tie the knot.)

Recommended reading: The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Micro Wedding

Sentimental Factors

There is nothing like saying “I do” in the backyard where you played as a child or getting ready in the room where you grew up. The sentimental factor of a backyard wedding can’t be recreated at any other outdoor wedding venue and shouldn’t be underestimated. You and your guests will feel more comfortable in a space that feels like home and it will be a special memory your family and friends will cherish forever.

Logistics of Backyard Weddings

Power And Electrical

Between the extra lighting, the sound system, and the food prep equipment, you’re going to be using a lot more power than most homes can handle. To ensure you don’t blow a fuse or put the entire neighborhood at risk of an outage, rent generators to accommodate the extra power you’ll need.

After you check with your caterer to find out what equipment they’ll be using and your DJ to find out how much power their setup needs, ask your wedding planner and the generator rental company for help in choosing the power sources that will fit your needs.


If your guest list is larger than 20 people, you will need to provide additional toilet facilities. There are so many options for upscale portable toilet trailers that provide a comfortable experience, including lighting, mirrors, sinks, and–most importantly– more space than traditional port-o-potties. You can even add a personal touch by adding a small amenities kit to each bathroom with breath fresheners, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, cotton balls, and safety pins.

Trust us, this will save a lot of headaches because you won’t have everyone walking through the house and you won’t have to fix an over-used bathroom system.

The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding | Junebug Weddings (4)

Yard Maintenance And Setup

You’ll want to plan yard maintenance in advance to give plants time to fill out, flowers to bloom, and space to be cleared, if necessary. You might even consider hiring a landscaper to take care of all the design and maintenance so it’s one less thing on your to-do list. At the very least, you’ll need to cut the grass a few days before the wedding.

One thing you absolutely can’t forget to check is that the ground is level enough for chairs, tables, and a dance floor. If you’re renting a tent, their professional team will be able to check and let you know if they need to lay a foundation so the dance floor is level. If you’re not renting a tent, a landscaper should be able to check.


As much as you don’t want to think about anything bad happening on your special day, it’s better to be safe than sorry if an accident does happen. Contact your homeowner’s insurance to see what is covered, such as property damage inside or outside the house. Then contact your vendors to find out what insurance they carry. You may have to purchase supplemental insurance, but your vendors’ insurance might also provide enough coverage for certain areas–such as bartenders.

Recommended reading: Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Insurance


Before you get too far into booking wedding vendors, you must check with your city officials to find out if you need permits to host a large party at your home. There might be noise ordinances, fire codes, health department regulations, and zoning issues that you don’t want to violate.

In some cases, your vendors might need to file additional paperwork, so be sure to include your wedding planner in any meetings with or emails from the city clerk’s office. Your planner should either be able to coordinate with the vendors to file the paperwork themselves (usually for an additional fee) or file the paperwork for you.


A month or two before your wedding, notify your neighbors of your wedding plans. This will give them plenty of time to plan ahead, rearrange any plans, or plan a night away. Give them as many details as possible, such as the exact time of your ceremony–so they know when you’ll need some extra quiet time–and let them know where your guests plan to park in case they have concerns about street parking.

If you’re going to tell your neighbors in person, we recommend also giving them a written schedule so they have all the details for the day of. You could even include a small gift, such as a pair of earplugs, as a token of appreciation for their patience. A little consideration will go a long way in keeping everyone happy.


When you’re checking on permits, also check the rules for street parking in your neighborhood. Some communities have certain times when street parking is not allowed or even prohibit overnight parking. If that’s the case–or you don’t have enough street parking–consider hiring a valet service to park the cars at a nearby open lot. Just be sure to tell guests ahead of time so they don’t leave valuables in their cars that you could be held liable for.


This is one of the most important details to keep in mind when planning your space and your rentals. A group of 20+ people will produce a lot of trash over an entire day, so you’ll need to rent plenty of trash and recycling bins to collect it all. Your caterer might even take care of emptying the bins throughout the day, so ask if that’s a service they offer. If not, you might want to designate or hire someone to monitor the bins so they don’t get too full and cause an unpleasant sight or smell.

Available Space

Couples often think that hosting in a backyard will change their guest list dramatically. That’s not always the case. Whether you’re looking to increase your guest count or simply remove the limitations that physical guests can provide, virtual weddings are a good solution. Our friends at Lovecast Apphave made it seriously easy.

Recommended reading: How To Host An Outstanding Virtual Wedding

Plan B

Weather happens, so it’s best to have a plan B in case it rains or is unseasonably hot or cold. With enough planning, your plan B can be just as incredible as plan A. If your house is large enough, plan to move the party inside.

If you’d rather stay outdoors, put a hold on a tent early so that it’s ready to be picked up in case you need it. When using the tent, ensure that the sides are completely covered to protect against the rain, bring in small fans to beat the heat, or rent propane heaters to keep your guests warm. The hope is that you don’t have to go to plan B, but it’s best to have a plan in place ahead of time so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.

Backyard Wedding Timeline Suggestions

There are a few things to keep in mind when planning a timeline for a backyard wedding. First, and most importantly, you want to work around the light. Try to avoid having your ceremony during the harshest light to ensure you get beautiful photos.

Second, because guests won’t be traveling between events, you want to ensure there is no downtime. You might consider doing all your photos before the ceremony so you can go straight to co*cktails with everyone else. But, if you’d rather wait, you can also plan an activity or set out yard games during co*cktail hour to keep them occupied until you finish up.

Lastly, you want to be considerate of your neighbors. You might need to cut your party short–or ask everyone to head out to an after-party at a bar–so you’re not keeping your neighbors awake until the early morning hours.

Recommended Reading: 10 Creative After Party Ideas

Backyard Wedding Space Planning Tips


Whether your backyard is small or sprawling, you’ll want to pay particular attention to where you set up your ceremony. Large trees make for the perfect backdrop and provide shade from harsh sunlight. If you want to make the house a focal point, you could set up your ceremony so you, your fiancé, and the officiant are standing on the back porch with all your guests on the lawn, facing you.

Keep in mind that, if you’re getting married in warm months, you’ll want to keep your guests’ chairs out of direct sunlight before the ceremony or, ideally, choose a shaded spot to set up chairs. If you’re getting married in cooler months, you might consider setting up your ceremony in a non-shaded spot so you and your guests can enjoy some natural warmth.


Tents are perfect for designating a reception space in a backyard and make space planning a breeze. Before you rent a tent, work with your wedding planner to decide how many tables and food/drink serving stations you need and how large your dance floor should be. You don’t want to overcrowd the space and you want to ensure your guests have plenty of space to dance–even if that means you’ll need to move tables/chairs at certain points of the day.

Because your reception will also include food and drink, your caterer and bartender should visit the space so they can let you know what extra equipment they’ll be bringing and how much space they’ll need. If your kitchen isn’t large enough, you might need to set up another food prep area, which is something you’ll need to account for when planning your space.

Backyard Wedding Decor And Design Inspiration

Choosing Your Colors

One of the best parts of having an outdoor wedding is that you have the freedom to choose any color palette you like.You aren’t restricted by a venue’s decor, colors, or style. If you love the earthy feel, draw colors from the flowerbeds, grass, and trees in your backyard. You can also go for a bolder look by adding vibrant pops of color in florals, linens, bridesmaid’s dresses, or accent decor.

If your backyard has distinct architectural elements, choose colors that complement and highlight those unique aspects of the space. If you still need a little help, wehighly recommend creating a wedding mood board to help you get a sense of the colors and decor that you tend to lean towards.

Setting the Scene for Your “I Dos”

Your ceremony will be the highlight of your day. After you’ve chosen the perfect location with either a natural or architectural backdrop, you’ll need to decide whether you want to frame the space with an arch or artsy backdrop. We recommend ceremony arches and backdrops for every wedding style because it adds dimension and creates a defined focal point, ideal for wedding photos. We also can’t say enough about aisle markers for adding visual interest without too much fuss.

Styling Your Reception

We’ve already mentioned that a tent is a perfect way to designate a reception space. It gives you a way to hang lights or larger-than-life floral installations, plus it adds texture and depth while providing set boundaries for your tables, dance floor, and serving stations. But, a tent isn’t the only way to go. There is something uniquely romantic about dining under the stars.

If you’d rather keep your backyard wedding reception uncovered, you might want to use tall centerpieces that will take up vertical space and hanging decor in the trees to fill out the design. The benefit of an open reception is that you have more space to spread out tables and serving stations.

Recommended reading: The Ultimate Guide to Your Wedding Reception Bar

Planning the Perfect co*cktail Hour

You might be wondering whether you should plan a co*cktail hour since your guests won’t be leaving your backyard between events, and the answer is yes. The co*cktail hour is the perfect time for your guests to mingle in a more casual way and allows everyone–including you–to transition from ceremony mode to party mode. If you plan to take couple portraits and wedding party photos after the ceremony, this is also a great way to keep your guests entertained while you’re away.

Lighting Up the Night

Lighting is one of the easiest and most dramatic ways to create a certain mood for your wedding, especially for a backyard wedding where there is little to no built-in lighting sources. Twinkle lights or strings of cafe lights in the trees, lanterns with candles, marquee signs, chandeliers, and clusters of votives are all great ways to add some romance to your look while providing enough light for you and your guests to party safely. If you’re curious about how your photos will look in different lighting, get inspired by the gorgeous ambient light in these wedding photos.

Preparing for Nature And Weather

While you can’t control nature or the weather, you can prepare to keep your guests comfortable in all scenarios. Provide insect repellent and sunscreen for your guests to apply—and re-apply—as needed. Incorporate citronella candles into your decor to keep bugs at bay. Set out blankets if it will be chilly or provide hand-held fans to help guests beat the heat.

If your guests will be sitting in the sun, consider providing sunglasses in case they forget their own. If there is even a slight chance of rain, make sure to have plenty of umbrellas on hand, as well. The bonus is that, if you’re purchasing items that guests will want to keep, they can double as wedding favors.

Rentals Checklist

As with any outdoor event, you’re going to need to rent a lot of items for your backyard wedding. You might end up not renting everything on this list if you decideto use DIY or repurposed decor and furniture, but it’s a great checklist to have handy when you need to double-check that you have everything you need.

Here are the rentals you’ll need for a backyard wedding:

  • Ceremony Chairs
  • Ceremony Decor
  • Tent
  • Reception Chairs
  • Dinner Tables
  • co*cktail Tables
  • Ceremony Backdrop
  • Serving Tables
  • Gifts Table
  • Guest Book Table
  • Dessert Table
  • Bar
  • Place Settings
  • Linens
  • Centerpiece Vases
  • Table Decor
  • Dance Floor
  • Lighting
  • Overhead Decor
  • Photo Booth
  • Food Prep/Storage Equipment
  • Generators
  • Portable Restrooms
  • Trash and recycling bins

And that’s it! Now you are ready to plan the backyard wedding of your dreams. Want to make your backyard wedding special to who you are as a couple? Check out our guide on how to host a unique wedding!

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The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Backyard Wedding | Junebug Weddings (2024)


How many people do you need to invite to a backyard wedding? ›

A backyard wedding is perfect for a small, intimate wedding ceremony and reception. So if you're hoping to only have between 10 and 50 guests, we'd say a ceremony in your backyard is a perfect option!

How much space do you need for a backyard wedding? ›

For the ceremony, a good rule of thumb is to plan 6 – 8 sq. ft per person. An example, if your space is a 20'x20' area (400 sq. ft), you should be able to fit 65 chairs in a cathedral style seating with a 4' aisle.

What is the best month to have an outdoor wedding? ›

In the U.S., early summer and early fall months, such as May, June, September, and October are popular times to have an outdoor wedding because of the mild weather. These months also have the least risk of distributive weather.

What time should a backyard wedding start? ›

True sunset time is the most critical factor.

The time of year will affect the sunset time, so it's important to factor this in when deciding. Your ceremony should be no more than 2 hours before sunset for an outdoor ceremony, especially if your ceremony space is open to the sky (open air).

Is a backyard wedding a good idea? ›

One great benefit of a backyard event at a private home is getting to choose the date you want and have creative freedom for your day, but booking a more traditional wedding venue with a backyard vibe offers plenty of amenities and, often, less planning stress (especially if it's an all-inclusive venue).

Is 100 people too many for a backyard wedding? ›

Most houses and backyards aren't meant for 150 people. There might not be enough space or enough facilities like restrooms to handle those numbers. Most likely, you'll want to keep your guest list under 100 people. A backyard usually works well for a wedding ceremony, but it might not be perfect for the reception.

Why are backyard weddings more expensive? ›

Your Backyard Has No Preferred Vendors

That means you have to hire all your vendors - your caterer, baker, photographer and DJ - off their list. You won't be able to shop around for better prices. As well, most venues limit the amount of DIY you can do for your wedding.

How much should I give for an outdoor wedding? ›

Bottom line: There's no hard-and-fast rule on how much cash to give as a wedding gift. Wedding experts do, however, advise starting at $100. From there, you may want to adjust up to $500 based on factors such as your relationship with the couple, your budget and the cost of your attendance at the wedding.

How to fit 100 people in backyard? ›

Typically a banquet hall using 6 foot tables will fit 100 guests into 1,200 square feet. That means that if your back yard is 40' x 30' you can fit a maximum of 100 people. But remember, you'll also need space for your ceremony and a dance floor, if you're having one.

How long does it take to plan a backyard wedding? ›

Q: How long does it take to plan a backyard wedding? A: For any wedding, we recommend 13 - 18 months. If you are hosting a backyard wedding, and you are hosting it by yourself without the help of an event planner, we recommend 13 months to 2 years.

Is a DIY wedding cheaper? ›

Planning a DIY wedding can be a great way to save money, but if you don't do your research, it can quickly break your budget. From the cost of materials to the time you'll spend planning, it all adds up! That's why it's important to plan and budget well ahead of the wedding to ensure you don't overspend.

How do I plan my wedding in 5 months checklist? ›

4 - 5 months
  1. Choose flowers for: wedding party, attendants, venues, cake, etc.
  2. Schedule dress fittings.
  3. Book honeymoon flights and hotels.
  4. Book room for wedding night.
  5. Order wedding cake.
  6. Plan welcome baskets for out-of-town guests.
  7. Prepare {play/do not play} lists for DJ/band.
  8. Finalize wedding guest list.

How do you plan a wedding ceremony checklist? ›

  1. Research ceremony site venues. Discover venue locations on our Vendors page.
  2. Book tours.
  3. Decide on and book your ceremony site.
  4. Interview officiants and book their services (if you do not have a priest, minister, or rabbi)
  5. Brainstorm unique ceremony ideas.
Aug 7, 2021

How much space do you need for 100 person wedding? ›

The same number of guests can require different amounts of total room space based on the type of setup. For example, a reception-style setup for 100 guests requires 3,500 square feet of event space, while the same group requires just 900 square feet in a standard theater setup.

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