How to Plan a Small Backyard Wedding

Weddings along with most things have changed a lot over the past few years.  From quarantine to inflation everyone looks at things a bit differently now.  Small backyard weddings have been a thing since the beginning of weddings over a century ago.  Up until World War II weddings were typically held at the bride’s home, small backyard weddings have been around since the begging of weddings.  Now small backyard weddings are a bit more extravagant, but still, they have that intimate old-school feel.  

What Space Do You Need For a Small Backyard Wedding?

How To Plan A Small Backyard Wedding

For any party or gathering, the amount of space you need is directly related to how many guests you plan to have at your small backyard wedding.  There are certain areas that you should have and some areas that you only need if you want them, such as a dance floor.  Most small backyard weddings still take up a decent amount of space with all the inclusions of any wedding.

Ceremony-You will need space for your guests to sit or stand during your ceremony as well as a place for you and you’re betrothed to say your vows.  If you plan on having seats, plan on 2 feet per seat as well as a few feet for an aisle way. If you don’t have the space for guests to sit, make sure you have a very quick and to-the-point ceremony!

Cocktail Reception– Even if you are thinking about skipping this section because “you don’t want or need a cocktail reception”, please read!  A cocktail reception is just a space for guests to be able to go while you take pictures.  From pictures with your love, family, bridal party, etc.  If you plan on doing a first look before the ceremony this will cut down on the pictures after the wedding, just remember that pictures last lifetimes, and one day it might be the only thing you have left from your wedding to show your grand or great-grandchildren.

Reception-Even at a casual wedding, you will need places for your guests to sit and enjoy their food and just kick up their feet.  No one wants to be standing all night long, so make sure you have enough seating for everyone to have a seat.  You can do long communal tables, rounds of 8 or 10 guests, or a mixture of both depending on your preferences.  

Food Prep-If you are having your small backyard wedding catered you will have to inquire about the footprint the caterer will need.  It will depend on if they are able to just bring in everything ready to go or if they will have to do any cooking on site.  They may need to bring extra equipment if the menu you have selected is a bit more elaborate.  It is important to inquire about these things while speaking to potential caterers. You can also have a family-style dinner, where all the food is served directly on the dining tables, bring in food trucks, or another fun type of food.

Lighting-Lighting is an extremely important part of all weddings and events.  Even with a small backyard wedding, you will still need ample lighting.  If you are looking for a romantic feel, market lights are the way to go, you can do them yourself and have ambient lighting year-round, just make sure you set them up a few weeks in advance!

Read More: How to Pull Off Your Dream Courthouse Wedding Outfit

How to Throw a Small Backyard Wedding

How To Plan A Small Backyard Wedding

A small backyard wedding can be as big or intimate as your space allows.  Even though you are having a small backyard wedding, that does not mean that you can skimp on the basics of an event.  Regardless of the size of a party, the basic aspects stay the same, and you need to make sure you pay attention to those details ahead of time to not spoil your special day.

Parking-All guests will need a space to park, maybe your driveway and surrounding streets allow for enough cars to park, but if not you will need to figure out an alternative solution to parking.  You can hire a valet service to park the cars or even bus guests in from a local (and close!) city parking lot.  Parking for a small backyard wedding could be a nonissue, but it is definitely something that you will want to make sure you look into and have covered as it can cause major issues the day of if not prepared for.

Get yourself help!  Even if you just outsource everything to your close friends and family, do not try to take it all on yourself.  This is your day and you will want to enjoy it by soaking in all of the moments, not running around trying to figure out where you are going to place the cake table. Make decisions and then outsource them, know that you made the right decision, and let the rest go!

Read More: Finding your Perfect Summer Wedding Dress

Enhancements For a Small Backyard Wedding 

How To Plan A Small Backyard Wedding

Having a wedding in a backyard throws a lot of the wedding “rules” out the window.  Want to go barefoot, no problem!  If you prefer BBQ for your wedding food, just make sure you have wet wipes on hand.  Or maybe you want your pets involved in the ceremony.  There are virtually no restrictions to having a small backyard wedding, the sky is literally your limit.

The isle can be spruced up with flowers, small plants, even a long vintage runner from inside the house can be added.  Even better if there is a history tied to the runner!  Adding in items that have sentimental value will go a long way with a small backyard wedding.  

Lounge seating is a fun way to incorporate additional seating in a fun way. A couch, a couple of chairs with a few side tables can go a long way. It is an easy and comfortable spot for guests to kick up their feet, converse and enjoy the wedding festivities without a formal seating arrangement.

Read More: 10 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

Small backyard weddings can be fun, intimate, and allow you to be more creative. Whether you have a small budget or a large budget, a small backyard wedding gives you a chance to really be with your guests and if you are lucky you are able to engage with everyone during your wedding. Weddings can be overly stressful, but having a small backyard wedding can eliminate some of the extra stress that a larger more grandiose wedding would carry with it.

Check out Daily Mom’s 12 Reception Wedding Games to Keep The Party Alive.

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How To Plan A Small Backyard Wedding

Photo Credits: UnsplashPexels

Sources: The Spruce



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Sabra Ritter
Sabra Ritter
Part event planner and marketing guru, part stay-at-home mom, and part blogger. Mom of two toddler girls, who are always keeping her on her toes. On the weekends you can find her at Southern California beaches or hiking with her family. Sabra loves to cook and is always creating something new!
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