Post # 1
Hello! This is my first post here. I’m hoping to get some advice about logistics at our wedding. First, let me try and describe what we vision our wedding to be like —
We have decided to host the wedding in our backyard (pretty spacious, ~15,000sqft) and although we have around 75 people on our guest list right now, we are expecting around 50 will actually come.
My style is very, um, organic I guess you could say. There is a big vegetable garden in the middle of our yard, and it’s going to have to stay there. We are thinking we can just decorate around it. My question really lies in seating. We aren’t doing a sit down dinner. We are having a DIY Taco Bar and I imagine the atmosphere being more like a BBQ or cocktail hour, with serve yourself food and drinks. (I should mention that I am hiring someone to set up/tear down food/drink that day.)
I am imagining scattered seating: Some covered hay bales, picnic tables, tables with chairs, blankets/throw rugs on the ground, etc. We will have a couple of big party tents and I’d like to double-use the seating for the ceremony and reception — kind of have the two meld in together instead of having a bunch of rows of seating. People can come in, have a drink, hang out and listen to the ceremony, then the food will come out, etc. We are planning on having a DJ.
Um… what else… basically, I have never been to a wedding like the one I imagining. I want to make it comfortable for everyone and not leave people confused about where they are supposed to sit, etc. Can anyone who has had a backyard wedding offer any advice? Do I need to have a chair for every single person? Do you think my idea of scattered and different kinds of seating will work?
I certainly appreciate any advice. Ask any questions you need to clarify things. Thanks in advance.
Post # 3
If you’re not having a seating chart with at least assigned tables (not necessarily seats) then you’ll want to have MORE than one chair for every butt… what if a group of 5 people sit at a table that could hold 6 people? What if this happens 3 or 4 times, then you have couples who can’t sit together because there aren’t 2 seats at the same table… know what I mean?
Also, how many bathrooms will be available? What about parking? Are there any people with mobility problems- like grandma in a wheelchair… can she get to where she needs to be without too much trouble?
Post # 4
I went to a BYOC wedding once, that is “Bring Your Own Chair”. 🙂 It actually worked really well, anyone who felt like they would not be able to stand for the ceremony brought a picnic chair and the rest of us stood up during that part. Then we played yard games and drank punch up until dinner (which was a casual sit down meal).
Post # 5
@DaneLady: Thanks for responding so quickly.
As for bathrooms, we have two in our house and we were thinking it would be a good idea to rent at least 1 porta-potty. We haven’t completely figured out parking yet. We live in an area where some street parking is available, and I’m waiting on responses from a YWCA and a fireman’s field to see if we can rent just their parking lot overnight. Both are a ~3 minute walk from our house. Out of town friends are splitting a cottage a few houses away, as well – so there’s parking space for a few cars. (We live in a little lakeside community.)
Handicap accessibility: yes. Driveway and yard are flat, and the house actually came with a handicap ramp to get into the front door that we haven’t torn down yet. I have two family members that use power chairs (but can walk without them) but no one in wheelchairs.
Hmm. Seating. I guess I imagine a lot our wedding is pretty young and will just kind of “hang around,” drink, snack, more than they will sit in one spot. Does this make sense? Maybe I’m wrong?
Post # 6
I like varied seating for a tapas or cocktail style reception, but with tacos, I’d need a standard table and chairs!
Post # 7
@eocenia: What a neat idea! Never thought of that. People bringing their own lawn chairs and stuff, neat.
Post # 8
@edub: Yeah! I just brought that up the other day. Worried about the food choice and the seating arrangement clashing! Tapas-style was exactly what I mentioned – but I’m worried that doing many different kinds of apps would get much more expensive than grilling up a bunch of tacos…
Post # 9
@liveswithmutts: Sounds like you’ve at least considered a lot of things many people overlook 🙂 There’s a formula around here somewhere for “how many bathrooms per person” or something, but with a small wedding I’d suppose 3 or 4 would be acceptable.
If you’re able to use nearby fields for parking, consider having a friend act as a shuttle for those who may not be able to walk as far in high heels or are older and more susceptible to heat. 3 minutes isn’t far at all, but if it’s raining, muddy, and I’m in 3 inch heels I bet it would feel like a mile!
Post # 10
@DaneLady: Yeah, good point. I went to a wedding this summer that was kind of traditional, but outside in a field and there was a long walk between parking and the ceremony and I was wearing heels and actually FELL! HAHA. Thanks for bringing that up.
Anyone done their wedding food themselves and gone the tapas route? I love to cook and share food with people, and although I will have someone handle the food and clean up the day of, I’m pretty dedicated to the DIY route rather than catering (which I don’t think we could afford anyway.)
Post # 11
We’re doing a cocktail style wedding aswell! Its going to be at a historic B&B No formal seating, just some finger foods, drinks, music ect. We are setting up a few tables scattered around the gardens, so people can enjoy their surroundings, as well as some seating inside and on the patio. It want a casual yet still classy feel to it. Im hoping doing that we can get that. No formal seating for us! WIth a backyard wedding I would be concered about bathrooms aswell, but your plan sounds awsome to me
Post # 12
I am doing similair style seating to what you have said. I don’t want a sit down meal so we are having a bbq with some picnic tables (a couple real tables and chairs for the old people), some blankets laid out picnic style and some straw bales. I am really happy about doing it this way, I think it will give it the nice relaxed and casual feel I am going for. I really didn’t want a formal sit down meal
Post # 13
@WillowTreeWade: and myluverbunny: Sounds similar to what I have in mind – are you worried that people will be confused? 🙂 Heh.
How many people are you expecting?
Post # 14
I had the same thing. Simple backyard BBQ wedding.
We rented chairs and tables from a rental store and they were actually pretty cheap. And IL’s rented the tent as a wedding gift. Family and myself set up for the wedding the day before. So the seats were all lined up for the ceremony and then after the wedding the family rearranged the chairs.
For decoration: We had those tiki type lights. During the day/ceremony we stuffed flowers in there and then at night we lit it. (It was those tiki things that keep the bugs away). I also put white christmas lights across the clothes line and some other places outdoors.
Sadly that is all I can remember offhand
Post # 15
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
I went to an outdoor wedding where all the chairs were set up in the ceremony location, and then there was a big tent with tables under it about 200 meters away. At the end of the ceremony, they just asked everyone to put their chair under the tent at a table. It worked really well, and a lot of the youngish guys moved the older folks’ chairs. I think I’m going to do the same thing. Would that work?
I like your scattered seating idea, but I also think that people do like to sit down and have a table when eating. Especially if you’ve also got a drink to balance. You can do this and still have it fun and informal. (Right in the middle of all the fun, no seating charts, etc.)
Don’t forget about renting portapotties – 50 people for a whole day is probably too much for a sewer system.
Post # 16
I’m having a backyard wedding as well. I will only be renting one set of chairs, so everyone will have to move their chairs over after the ceremony is finished. I definitely think you should have a chair for every person. I wouldn’t last too long sitting on a hay bale with no back support.
We’ll probably only have 35 guests, so I think 2 bathrooms in the house should be fine. I’m definitely going to self-cater parts of the dinner with family recipes, but I’m thinking I might have the main entree catered in from a restaurant (hopefully this New Orleans takeout place I love) so it won’t be too stressful. Before you decide to fully self-cater, you should run the numbers on the actual volume of food you’ll be serving. Do you have enough fridge space for it?