Backyard weddings!

posted 2 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
Member
4905 posts
Honey bee

I would make sure it is actually cheaper.

Backyard weddings can actually end up more expensive because you will need to rent EVERYTHING a la carte – tables, chairs, dinnerware, drinking glasses, table cloths, a dancefloor if you want one, a tent for inclement weather unless your home is big enough for 50 people, a port-a-potty unless you are ok with 50 people traipsing in and out of your home all night.

Then there is all the time you will need to set up and clean up both home and yard.

Very often, once you price it all out you could have gotten a venue that provides a lot of this for you (especially a non-traditional venue like a local parks and rec, community center, businesses that have event rooms) or a private room at a restaurant for the same or cheaper.  I recently threw a party for 55 at a restaurant with a private room where all I had to meet was their $500 food and beverage minimum  and pay $25/hr for their bartender and they allowed me to bring in two cakes from an outside vendor.  They provided tables, chairs, all dinner and barware, my choice of table cloths and had everything set up for me and an event coordinator available throughout to make sure things ran smoothly (buffet table was always full, accommodate a last minute dietary restriction, etc.).

Please research all of your costs and the options before deciding on a backyard wedding if you are selecting backyard wedding due to budget.  You can do a lot with a $10,000 budget and it is very easy to underestimate both how expensive and how time-consuming it is to do everything a la carte and from scratch in a place never intended to hold a large event.

If you decide to keep with the backyard plan for 50, then also check noise ordinances if you plan to have music or dancing and if you don’t live on a rural farm and actually have neighbors check that you have enough parking for 50 guests at once.

 

Post # 3
Member
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

We did a backyard wedding for around 17k with 37 guests. Most venues I looked at had a minimum of 50 guests, which is why we didn’t go that route. It probably would have cost the same to do a venue if we had more people.

I would really look at the numbers to see if this is going to be a cheaper option. We had to rent a tent, lighting, floral, all tables/chairs/linens, glasses/serverware/flatware/plates, catering/alcohol, staff, etc. We omitted some expenses, like not having a DJ or a coordinator. It was more work than having it at a venue.

Post # 4
Member
4905 posts
Honey bee

Also, another thing to think about is Insurance. Granted one day event insurance only costs a couple of hundred at most, but it is an added expense and something you will most definitely need. For starters most homeowners insurance won’t cover many things that happen at events you throw at your home like a wedding for a crowd of 50. And for those things that are covered by home insurance, since you say you rent I am going to assume you don’t have homeowners insurance or you’ll be holding it at someone else’s home unless you are waiting to throw it at the home you plan to purchase.

So that means your landlord or person lending you their backyard would be on the hook and their insurance premiums would go up should something happen and they would be the ones who have to handle the claim(s) and could potentially be sued (and often times one has to sue in order for the insurance company to pay up, even if it was something relatively simple like a sprained or broken wrist requiring a dr. visit or two – so even if you think your friends and family would never sue it is actually pretty common and necessary at times).  So you want to make extra sure that you have an extra policy in place that is going to cover this event and if you are holding it at your rented home then likely want to ask permission of your landlord. Because you/they are going to be on the hook if someone, either a guest or a vendor, trips and falls or somehow gets injured on the property, or if someone or something damages the property, or if you’re planning to serve alcohol.

Post # 5
Member
560 posts
Busy bee

please please make sure that you have appropriate numbers of bathrooms and parking for guests.  that has been my main criticism of backyard weddings.

Post # 6
Member
9443 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Another vote for making sure you have adequate bathroom facilities! My friend hosted a backyard wedding and was between regular port-a-potties or the nicer trailer rentals and I was very blunt and said “I’m not spending $500 on a bridesmaids dress, shoes, hair/makeup and then using a construction site quality port-a-potty. I will straight up leave when I need to pee and I doubt I’m the only one”. 

Post # 7
Member
4697 posts
Honey bee

View original reply
annabananabee :  to expand on this – online wedding insurance policies aren’t worth the paper they are written on. You must go see your insurance agent and get a proper event policy with an alcohol rider. A proper policy will cost you at least $400 in the US.

Post # 8
Member
4697 posts
Honey bee

For $10k, you can have a incredibly lovely restaurant wedding for 50 people without a lot of stress.

Post # 9
Member
5387 posts
Bee Keeper

I went to a backyard wedding reception this summer. It was my Mom’s friend’s wedding. They got married during the week in the courthouse and it was only immediate family. But the weekend right after, they hosted a reception. They ordered like 6 or 7 large trays of party dishes from from a restaurant. They also had a dessert buffet plus a cake. For silverware, plates and glasses, they used fancy disposable ones. They already had tables, linens and white chairs already so no need for rental. So the only things they spent money on was food, drinks, dessert, cake, floral/decors, invites and favors. There were no professional djs, photographers and videographers. They had an automatic music player on. My SO and I took complete videos and photos which we gave her later as a gift. 

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whoalolipop :  

Post # 10
Member
322 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2021

Sorry, but another person here to rain on your parade! Was considering a backyard wedding, and it would have been possible, I guess (we had a good location), but the DIY hassle and coordinating and renting absolutely everything added up very quickly.

Instead were doing a barn / farm venue that let’s us use our own caterer. We’re doing BBQ. Should end up just shy of $20k for 130ish people. 

Post # 11
Member
391 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

 We had a backyard wedding with 53 people for about 8k. It was lovely! We got so many complements. If you have specific questions or want specific advice DM me! I’m happy to share! 

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whoalolipop :  

Post # 12
Member
5387 posts
Bee Keeper

I forgot to add that the backyard wedding I attended only had about 40 people so it was manageable. 

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whoalolipop :  

Post # 13
Member
474 posts
Helper bee

Wow, lots of downers. 🙁

While I didn’t have a backyard wedding, I did have a very inexpensive one. I don’t know the final amounts, but the goal was under $5,000 and I know we were at the very least close.

Venue: Our church was free to use, as I was a member, and we found another church nearby that could host the reception. I believe their cost was about $150, and gave us use of the sound system, the reception area, and the kitchens. We carted tables over from Church A to Church B and used B’s chairs.

Food: We self-catered. This can be trickier if you are having the reception at a church/business, as they want to make sure they’re covered insurance-wise and often have requirements for food (one required pre-packaged food only, another either caterers or everything prepared in their ‘white kitchen’ under supervision of their kitchen coordinator). Church B didn’t have any restrictions, though, so we spent the summer cooking and freezing chicken, then made chicken salad the day before and had friends assembling chicken salad sandwiches day-of. (These weren’t your average chicken salad sandwiches! This recipe was amazing. Bacon. Dried cranberries. Can never go back to the normal stuff.)
A friend made the display cake as a gift, and we bought sheet cakes from Festival Foods.
Friends who offered to help were asked to bring cut veggies or fruit. I know asking friends to help is taboo on these boards (*eyeroll*), but it’s completely acceptable in our circles. IF your circle is the type to help out, don’t hesitate to ask if they’d like to. Don’t require it, don’t get miffed if they say know, and don’t overwork them. But help is good!
We used higher quality paper plates. Since the tables weren’t set, it didn’t look weird. *shrug* I’ve never judged a couple or their wedding based on their tableware.

Decor: Church A probably cost $100 or less? We used fake flowers bought on sale from Hobby Lobby, lanterns were borrowed or found for cheap, tulle was bought with coupons. Church B was probably similar or less. Plastic tablecloths (can’t tell in pictures), lace runners, purchased and borrowed milk glass vases ($0.50-1.00 at thrift stores), cake plates to hold favors (diy with short candlesticks and vintage china plates $0.50-2.00 thrifted), branches with pictures and origami butterflies. Barn windows with fairy lights and pictures strung across them on the guest book table (Craigslist, $15).
This was all set up the day before by me and my family, and some friends and bridesmaids helped out also.
Essentially, find pictures you like, simplify them, then thrift/borrow as much as you can. Each table’s decor probably cost less than $5, not including the tablecloth.

We didn’t have dancing/DJ because of the time of day, expense, and hubby and I didn’t want to spend all evening at the wedding– we wanted to get going! 😀 That’s a huge cost-saver if it isn’t important to you.

Booze: we had a dry wedding. Between the time of day (afternoon), the expense, and just not being big drinkers ourselves, it just wasn’t that important. I know I’ll get flamed for that too, but it’s entirely the couple’s choice. That’s another way to save.

Dress: Look at bridesmaid dresses that come in white! That’s what mine was, and I LOVED it. It was around $300 which felt pricey for a dress but not compared to the average wedding dress. I bought shoes I liked off Amazon for $60.

Basically my novel is to say:
A wedding for 50 guests for under $10,000 is TOTALLY doable, you just have to have the right expectations. Come up with a simple plan and then simplify more. Thrift or borrow as much as you can. Consider a small venue like a church that would have tables and chairs you can use, or if you attend a church ask if you can use theirs for free/cheap. Accept any help that’s offered. Consider an afternoon wedding with a light supper vs. evening reception.

Post # 14
Member
1750 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2020

I’ve only been to about 3 weddings my whole life, but the best one was the backyard wedding.

They had a DJ, dance floor, string lights, professional catered buffet, alcohol infusions made by the bride. 

Maybe I enjoyed myself so much because I didn’t realize the infusions were supposed to be mixed with soda water.

Oops!

Post # 15
Member
925 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I am sure there are a lot of lovely backyard weddings, so if you really want to put the time and energy into making that work, you could do it. I don’t have much to offer because personally I opted for a wedding around $10,000 for 50 people but used a lovely, inexpensive venue. Ceremony outside, then short walk to reception hall. The parking alone seems like a huge challenge, and I am one who thinks of a wedding as an elegant affair, so it would seem strange to dress up then have to use the port a potty. A backyard wedding seems a !it more doable for 25 guests than 50, but it is your call.

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