Backyard Wedding Bees

posted 3 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
1793 posts
Buzzing bee

I would definitely get the DOC, but who is going to do all the work for set up and tear down?  That is an awesome crazy amount of work.

I am a logistics freak.  I am a retired Army Supply Sergeant and my whole world revolved around logistics so that is how my girls and I plan their weddings.  I think my engaged DD is gonna kill me if I say, “It’s all about the logistics, Honey” one more time to  her.

You need those nice porta potty trailers – household plumbing can’t handle 125 people and those nasty porta johns are just that, nasty.

I’m sure I won’t hit everything here but here are my initial logistical thoughts:

1.  Electricity – how are you going to provide for microphones for the wedding; electrical outlets for music, lights:

2.  What if it rains and it is windy?  Do you have a backup plan?  If you are having a torrential downpour and your guests need to potty, they can’t be leaving a tent to go outside in the rain to get to the restroom.

3.  You mentioned parking.  You should check with your local township/city hall to see if you need an event license.  You also need to talk to the neighbors before you have 60-80 cars swarming the place.  What if one of them is also planning an event that day.  Communication is key here.

4.  Who is picking up all the dishes/flatware/glasses? Are you renting or using disposables?  What about the tables and chairs?  Who is picking this stuff up, setting it all up, taking it all down, cleaning it all up, and returning it?

5.  Catering – what does your caterer require for facilities?  I self catered my second wedding and I would cut my right arm off before I did something like that again.

If you have the manpower to do this and you are truly being realistic about what this takes, rock on!  What you are proposing take an immense amount of dedicated man hours and brute strength.  Make sure you have plenty of both before you to with this.

We had thought of having our oldest DD get married at her dad’s house but when we started going through the logistics of everything, we decided against it.

I wish you the best of luck in your planning!

Post # 4
237 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Our backyard wedding was great! It was definitely cheaper, greatly because of the catering costs (every venue I went to would have cost $25-$35 per plate.) We got a restaurant to deliver for a VERY reasonable price. We ended up having 110 people. It took ALOT of planning and alot of work, but it was worth it, mostly because the yard was so nice with a beautiful view. It was great and I’d do it again.

The biggest hassle that I could have done without (that also took more money) was getting lighting. I bought string lights (and resold them afterwards), but planning how to arrange these lights took alot of work. (I wanted it symmetrical, and had to plan out the lengths and where they would plug in.) We did a preview setup a month before and it took alot of time. The night before the wedding, we were out there again putting all of the lights up. It ended up great, but if I had planned to simply end the wedding before nightfall, I wouldn’t have had that on my plate.

I pretty much resold everything I bought, so in the end it was a very inexpensive wedding, under 10K (after resales).

I got a day-of coordinator, who ended up not being very good. I recommend calling references for anyone you hire.



Post # 5
8850 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

Backyard style weddings can be soooo beautiful – I will shamelessly post the link to the blog our photographer just wrote about ours.  I think they can be a lot more unique and meaningful than your standard ballroom wedding.  But you definitely have to work your ass off.

We didn’t have a backyard wedding per se, but the venue we used only came with tables, chairs, 1 tent, and restrooms.  Everything else (another tent, linens, dishes & silverware, centerpieces, decorations, lighting, DIY bar and DIY cocktail hour food, ceremony arch and decoration, etc etc) we brought in.

It worked out great for us, although it was inevitably stressful the day of.  The ONLY way we could have done it was by relying on an army of friends and family.  A lot of people had volunteered to help ahead of time, and that’s kind of how it’d done in my family and circle of friends.  We had ~25+ people working for 1-3 hours to get everything set up that day.  So… just a Day Of Coordinator isn’t going to be able to replicate that.  And you’ll be too busy to get much done.  So you really need to know that you can count on your guests, or hire a team of people to do it.  And you’ll be busy coordinating everything for days ahead of time.

We had 160 people.  It does take a lot more work when it’s a BIG backyard wedding!

Post # 7
351 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

@hermom:  +100000


You hit some key points. One thing I didn’t realize was ELECTRICITY. Caterers were coming with their own ‘on the go’ kitchen where they cooked everything so they needed a plug in that would be able to handle their truck. My mom had time to get with an electrician to make sure the power wouldn’t go out because of the caterers 🙂


We also had alot of lighting and the DJ booth (along with mic’s) that needed power.


We had a smaller party (about 50 people) so my moms 3 restrooms worked perfectly fine.


I had a FULL coordinator. The big reason was because we live in a different state so she was taking care of all of the set up for me. I can tell you that she was worth every. single . penny. I don’t want to imagine me having to deal with coordination during the wedding ceremony/reception.


The company that we hired for rental items also worked as stylists so they put up and took down everything as far as their rental items.


I wouldn’t do it any other way. I loved being able to do it at my moms backyard, I would totally do it again! Because of the coordinator I had zero worries that day and no stress.


…we kinda didn’t have much of a plan B in case the weather didn’t cooperate (we should have conisdering it was FL) but thankfully we didn’t need to go to a plan B.


As far as budget…it was WAY more budget friendly to do it at my moms place too. The locations I was looking at for our wedding were about 25k and up just for the space. Out total bill was around 16k for everything.


@lolot:  lovely wedding!!! 🙂


Post # 9
351 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

@nber0815:  they are J.Crew. It’s de Arabelle in color graphite. They are a little spendy (I think 250) but they were all ok with paying for the dress because they can wear it more than once. I also think J. CRew has 25% off events every so often. My sister wore it to her graduation and a friends party. My one girl friend wore it to other weddings and work parties already.

Hope it helps! 🙂

Post # 13
8850 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

@alaskin17:  Wow, gorgeous wedding!  So luxe!  (Also, I can’t WAIT to go to Alaska… we love outdoorsy stuff too.)

Post # 14
509 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We had a backyard wedding at my in-laws house and I loved it!  I love to plan and to make things so I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.  It was a lot of work though.  And just as expensive had we rented a place.

One thing we didn’t think of until later in the planning process was port o potties.  We didn’t want 120 people going into the house to use the bathroom.  We rented super nice ones – flush, lights, sinks, etc.  They were expensive but well used!

We hired a caterer to do on site grilling.  The food was fabulous.  We used all real china as I couldn’t stand the idea of plastic or paper plates.  We set everything up, but they cleaned everything up before they left.

We hired a DJ who handled the lighting and sound system and a bartender who handled the drinks.  My MIL had her housekeeper be our DOC and she was a godsend!  She handled getting all the cocktail hour food out, lighting all the candles at dusk, and setting out our taco bar.  She also helped clean up.

We had all our tent stuff delivered 2 days before the wedding and had the whole thing decorated by Friday night.  The morning of the wedding, all we had to do was finish making the cocktail food platters.  The two days prior to the wedding were crazy as hell, but the day of the wedding went great.

What I loved about the backyard wedding was that I could take the time to decorate it ahead of time.  I hear about how a lot of brides only have a few hours before to deocrate and that would have stressed me out big time.  Also, we took our time undecorating, which in reality only took a few hours.

Oh…another thing that helped me….we started taking stuff over to their house weeks in advance and organizing it there so that set up was easier.

I hate that my photographer didn’t get a picture of the whole set up in one shot but you can click here to see pictures to get an idea of the decor and set up.!i=2853970213&k=PXCTmLV&lb=1&s=A

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