The love I have for backyard weddings is close to immeasurable! They are intimate, personal, and often budget-friendly. If you have been wondering how you can elevate your backyard wedding, you’ve come to the right place! There are endless ways to transform your wedding and reception into any vibe you want. Below, I am going to share 10 of my personal favorite ways to elevate any backyard wedding.
Divide Up the Space
There are a few essentials for a successful outdoor wedding. Making sure your space is divided up into specific areas to create a flow for your event is one of them. Designate areas for arrivals, gifts, the guestbook, the ceremony (if having in the same location), the reception, and, if applicable, the after-party. It’s super helpful to have a larger space to work with, but even in a more confined space, you can make everything function well with some good planning!
Invest in a Dance Floor
This is something I highly suggest doing! Unless you already have a dedicated space in your backyard that doubles well for dancing, I recommend investing in a dance floor. You want plenty of space to celebrate the happy couple, and dancing is often the highlight of the entire night! However, if renting or installing a dance floor is out of your budget, consider letting your guests know beforehand to wear appropriate shoes.
Plan for the Weather
Although rain on your wedding day is actually a sign of good luck, nobody wishes for it! If you are planning to have your wedding or reception outdoors, you definitely want to prepare for the unexpected, including any and all issues that might arise with the weather. A few ways to prepare:
If you have enough space, consider having the event inside an outdoor tent (and bring some nature in with plants and small trees)!
If chilly, consider placing space heaters and blankets throughout, making the space both cozy and functional!
If there is a possibility of rain, place umbrellas in gold or silver barrels, wooden crates, or other decorative bins.
Set Up Lawn Games
An absolute must!! You can either borrow, rent, or even purchase your own sets! If you decide to purchase them, add your own personal touch with the initials of the couple or the wedding colors. Make chalkboard signs or prints of each game and how to play it. This will give guests something to do when they need a break from dancing the night away!
Create a Comfortable Lounge Area
This one is especially important if you plan to use the same venue for both the wedding and reception. Guests will undoubtedly want to take a quick break and get off their feet, so use this to your advantage! You can spruce up any outdoor area with some couches or lounge chairs, pillows, and a few throw blankets. You could even opt for a more boho look and do large floor cushions and puffs.
Small Accents go a Long Way
Every successful outdoor wedding I’ve been to has one thing in common—well-placed decor! Your decorations and accents don't need to be over-the-top or expensive. Opting for tasteful, small accents throughout the venue, especially on the tables will prove to be very effective in creating a beautiful atmosphere and backdrop for the entire wedding event.
Add Twinkle Yard Lights to Illuminate
My favorite part of any outdoor or backyard wedding is the use of strategic lighting placement to illuminate the entire set-up! Add twinkle lights scattered throughout the yard, drape lights over trees, and place some at the entrance to illuminate the pathway. This will create a beautiful and soft ambiance for your wedding event. Large pillar candles work great as table accents and, when lit, provide a beautiful glow. You might also consider elegant lanterns or standing lamps to create pockets of light throughout the space. You honestly can't go wrong with lighting. The more the merrier!
Hire a DJ or Live Band:
Because outdoor weddings tend to be more budget-friendly, there are a few things you can include in the budget that will ultimately elevate your wedding further and are especially important for outdoor weddings. Hiring a DJ or a live band falls into this category. When hiring someone, make sure they have a good track record, are willing to play the music you want at your wedding, and are available for your date. I would also make sure that whoever you hire has their own professional equipment (or access to it) so that you don’t run into any last-minute issues! This may sound silly, but I have heard my fair share of stories from people who hired someone without checking on this, and were left with the last-minute emergency of trying to figure it all out! So be sure to confirm beforehand.
Hire a Florist:
This one almost goes without saying, but because I think it’s so important, I’m going to say it anyway! If you can find it in the budget, I highly suggest hiring a florist to put together a flawless, outdoor wedding look for you. They will be able to incorporate both current landscaping and purchased flowers. It really makes all the difference and pulls everything together to have professional wedding floral arrangements.
Hire a Wedding Photographer:
And of course, I saved the most important for last, hiring a wedding photographer to capture all of the magic! Sadly, I have heard far too many people bemoan after the fact that they wished they had “just hired the photographer”, or “made room in the budget for a professional photographer”. Avoid this altogether by hiring a professional photographer. I would recommend looking for someone who has specific experience with weddings. I would also look at their portfolio beforehand and see what kind of photos they capture at weddings, and what style they edit them in. You want to not only like, but love and cherish your wedding photos.