Throwing a Backyard Wedding at Your Home

by Jackie FogartieMay 25, 2016

2015-11-17_0010-1024x683Image courtesy of Smith Photos and Ink

As a wedding planner, I know for a fact that backyard weddings can be beautiful, intimate and uniquely special. That being said,  they are also a large undertaking and need a healthy amount of planning. Here are some helpful tips for making your at-home wedding go smoothly and beautifully!

Rain Plan

Yes, the dreaded “R” word! Having a rain plan is a necessary evil when planning any outdoor event. My advice for clients is to prepare a rain plan and then not talk about it again until we check the weather about a week before the event. Then if we have to put the plan in place, we have the details in our back pocket and aren’t rushing around reserving tents at the last minute!

  • Tent – Have a professional rental or tent company come to your backyard in the beginning of your planning stages and take measurements for the size of a tent. They might need to work with the city to check land records and figure out where water lines are in the yard to ensure they don’t stake into a water line when installing the tent.
  • Deposit/Hold – Some companies may allow you to put a tent on “reserve” with no money down while others will have you put a non-refundable deposit down to hold the tent. Check with your tent company to see what is needed to put a tent on hold in case of rain. Even if you have to put a deposit down, it will be worth it in the event of a storm to make sure that your big day still goes off without a hitch.
  • Sidewalls/Gutters – Make sure your tent has walls in case of wind and rain!
  • Lighting – Lighting in the tent is essential. Tent lighting can come in the form of chandeliers, string lighting or can lights that can also be obtained through the tent/rental company.

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Bathrooms

Some homeowners are comfortable allowing guests use their indoor bathrooms, but if you are not, an outdoor bathroom option must be put in place. Traditional Porta-Jons are always an option, but upscale portable bathroom companies are popping up all over the place. Companies such as Royal Restrooms and Plush Flush have trailers with bathroom stalls, sinks, and mirrors, and are the perfect solution for an outdoor bathroom. Should you decide to let guests use your home to go to the bathroom, purchase cheap floormats to put down in your home, so guests don’t track dirt into the house.

Lack of Amenities

Unlike a traditional wedding venue, a private residence doesn’t have all of the amenities needed to throw a large scale event. Make sure you think about things such as parking options, ice, kitchen facilities for the caterer, and trash disposal.

I always recommend that the caterer visit the home to get a lay of the land and see if there is a place they can work to prep the food. This can be the kitchen if it’s large enough, or sometimes a garage can be a great place for food prep as well.

i-CFM8rHL-LImage courtesy of Michael of flanpics.com

Lighting

We’ve talked about tent lighting, but make sure you consider overall lighting for the backyard. Rental companies can provide a variety of lighting options, or you can string lights up yourself if you’re so inclined!

Music/Power/Noise

If you have a DJ or band, keep any neighborhood noise ordinances in mind and remind your neighbors you will be having a large party! Also, think about your power sources and the amount of power needed for the music. I’ve had clients put in extra power just to ensure there is enough “juice” available for the speakers, mics, and other musical equipment.

Protect your home

If you do expect to have guests in your home to use the bathroom or for any other reason during the event, remove or hide valuables like jewelry, computers, and checkbooks. Lock office doors or bedrooms where you don’t want guests to wander.

Event Insurance

Another level of protection is having event insurance to protect the homeowner from any accidents that may happen during or as a result of the event, especially if serving alcohol. Homeowners insurance may cover this but talk to your insurance agent to figure out the best solution to protect yourself from any possible scenarios.

i-zThRbSQ-L1Image courtesy of Michael of flanpics.com

With the right amount of planning and preparation, an at-home wedding can be a wonderful experience with beautiful memories! Be sure to bring in event professionals and create a back-up weather plan so you can enjoy the planning process knowing that you have all your bases covered! Most importantly, best wishes and have fun!


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About The Author
Jackie Fogartie
Jackie Fogartie (often known as Jackie Fo) is a NJ born, NC living event planner and freelance writer/blogger. Five plus years ago, Jackie started an events and wedding planning business based in Charlotte, North Carolina called Jackie Fogartie Events handling events of all sizes from intimate baby showers to large weddings. In addition to making events go off without a hitch, Jackie writes a blog covering all things food, cocktail and party. She has also written for brands such as General Mills, Aladdin insulated mason jars and Proctor & Gamble. You can often find her staying true to her NJ Italian roots by eating big bowls of pasta and drinking copious amounts of red wine. Cheers!

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