Okay cost factor aside, how was your experience for your backyard wedding and anything you wish you had thought of before/things you learned. We’ve gotten the cost part down and it fits our budget well but i’m wondering if it’s worth the stress and hassle of setting it up ourselves. we’re also having 150 guest.
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I’m not as much worried about the cost (we have a very kind and generous family and we’ve also saved up a good bit) and we’ve budgeted it out a lot and we have some good friends that are cutting us good deals on photography and Djing (including lights and generators and all of that) so it’s more so of “is it worth the stress or i’m gonna be stressed either way so i might as well just go with it”
My sister-in-law had a backyard wedding with approximately fifty guests. Based on her experience, they are not any cheaper and are a lot more stressful because are now responsible for everything that a venue would normally provide.
I'm not sure what you are planning on doing for food, but my sister-in-law still hired a caterer. Her wedding was buffet style, but with the pandemic I would highly advise against any type of buffet. A lot of venues aren't even offering buffets or stations as options right now because of sanitary issues and social distancing. I will also add that some of my sister-in-law's apps that were supposed to be served during cocktail hour didn't get served because she forgot about them. My mother-in-law made some desserts that also didn't get served because it started down-pouring and guests started leaving early.
Parking is a huge issue. I saw a bride post a few days ago about how her experience was with her backyard wedding. Her neighbors complained and threatened to call the cops because people were parking in front of their house. She had to ask her guests to move their vehicles. Parking was so limited that some of her guests just decided to leave. For my sister-in-law's wedding people were forced to park blocks away and walk because there was limited parking at her house.
My sister-in-law choose not to rent portable bathrooms for her wedding and she only has one bathroom in her house. That meant fifty people had to share one bathroom. It also meant if someone had to use the bathroom they had to walk through her house to get to the bathroom. It was not fun because there were guests who weren't very patient. I'm guess it was also a mess to clean up after the wedding.
Unless you have an extremely large back yard, social distancing is going to be very difficult to achieve. Guests may not be comfortable being too close to one another so maintaining social distancing would be very important.
You will need a backup plan in case of bad weather. As I previously mentioned, on my sister-in-law's wedding day it down-poured during the reception. She rented two rather large tents. One was set up in the drive which is where the dance floor and DJ were. Because of the rain, she only had her first dance with her husband, his dance with his mom, and her dance with her mom (she is estranged from her dad/my father-in-law). The tent didn't do a very good job protecting the dance floor so it was like a slip and slide and would've been way too dangerous for guests to dance on. The other tent was set up in part of her yard which is where she had all of her tables and chairs set up. It was very crowded and everyone had to run to get under the tent when it started to rain. It also didn't do a very good job of keeping people protected because of how strong the rain was. She ended up ruining her dress because chairs were still set up in the rain and she didn't want them to get ruined since she had rented them.
There are a ton of items you will need to rent in order to have a successful wedding. Two majors ones I've already mentioned are tents and portable bathrooms. Tents are insanely expensive. You will also need tables and chairs. You will need chairs for the ceremony and possibly chairs for the reception unless you plan on using the same chairs which would mean that someone would be required to move the chairs where they are set up for the ceremony to the reception area. If you are taking photos during cocktail hour, you won't be able to move the chairs yourself so you'd have to rely on someone else to move them. You will need to make sure you have enough chairs for everyone as well. This was a major problem at my sister-in-law's wedding. She didn't have enough chairs for the ceremony nor did she reserve seats for immediate family so her three brothers (one is my husband), her brother's wife, and I all sat on a blanket in the grass at the very back of the ceremony because there weren't enough chairs and everyone was already seated by the time we were allowed to sit. She had done some family photos with all of us ahead of time so we didn't have the option to sit down any earlier. You will also need microphones during the ceremony so that your guests can hear everything that's being said. My sister-in-law didn't rent microphones for her wedding and we could barely hear her since we had to sit at the back of the ceremony.
Insurance and Permits
You may need to purchase special insurance to host your wedding at your home. While you might believe that nothing bad could happen, you will definitely want to be covered if something were in fact to go wrong. You don't want to expose yourself to problems. You might also need special permits. There could be fire regulations, noise ordinances, health department regulations, and zoning codes that you don't want to violate because you could have the cops called on you.
When beginning to plan I looked at venues that aren’t traditional venues, like a group campground. On the surface it seemed like a good idea and cost-effective, but there’s a lot that goes into a backyard wedding. Ultimately, we decided we don’t want to work or expect our friends and family to work on our wedding day- ie setting up chairs, altar, tables, tents, decorations, etc. You can hire people to set up/tear down, decorate, etc, but then is it still budget friendly?
As far as your question goes, if it’s in your budget, I would definitely suggest hiring a team to help you set up. If you haven’t already thought of this, I would definitely suggest a fully floored tent. If there’s any moisture on the ground or if it rained the night prior, assuming a lot of your guest may have open toed shoes, their shoes may get really wet and theirs also the bugs factor. A full floor will help to eliminate that. Also, if you haven’t thought of this already you may want to call an exterminator to spray the day or so prior to try to help eliminate any sort of mosquitoes or things like that.
I had a backyard wedding on June 27 (but only with 50 people per my states guidelines) and it was honestly wonderful. I have a very supportive extended family that was more than happy to help with ANYTHING we needed, so they helped with a lot of the set up. We talked to all of our surrounding neighbors and let them know what we were doing and gave them a heads up about the additional cars and asked if that was ok. People were so nice and even offered up their driveways for us to use. We got very lucky with the weather and didn’t end up needing a tent or anything. Instead of programs, we had hand fans made with our names and date on them and the names of the wedding party. The fans were a big hit and helped keep people cool. For bathrooms, we were lucky that there was a bathroom in the house right by the back door, but with a 150 you may want to look into a rental! We jazzed up the yard with some lights, planted some beautiful flowers and luckily my parents have some outlets on the outside of their house for a power source. Honestly it was really nice knowing at the end of the night we didn’t have to be out by a certain time, or have everything cleaned up by a certain time and that we were in control of just about everything. Like I said before, my family was so great about making sure that I was able to enjoy the day. The backyard was our COVID plan B but I think it was even better than the original plan. I loved every second of it!!
I went to a very budget-friendly backyard wedding and helped set up the night before (volunteered and loved doing it). Only two little things stood out that I would have changed or improved:
1. The reception was under a tent with fans, but the ceremony was uncovered and in the sun. It was 92 degrees, and all the men sweat through their shirts, and the elderly guests had to sit in the house and watch from the window. So I'd definitely try to have a plan for heat as well as rain.
2. The town had ubers and cabs during the day, but none at night. We were asked to take cabs to the event so as not to block the driveway. Then around midnight everyone was looking in vain for a way to get home. The one sober aunt had to drive everyone to their hotels and airbnbs. I definitely think if you anticipate this being an issue, it is worth the money to hire someone to shuttle people to a parking lot or to hotels in the area. I'm not sure if this is done, but having a cab on call that guests can pay for themselves also would have worked for me.