(Closed) Will a backyard wedding reception be more stressful?

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 16
42 posts
  • Wedding: June 2014

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tigerlil:  In a word: yes!!! Having a backyard wedding is a logistical nightmare and it probably will NOT save you money! DH and I had a backyard wedding for 75 guests. We ended up spending $4,500 on rentals alone (tents, dance floor, tables, chairs, linens, cutlery, plates & glasses…). There were so many rental items that I had no idea I needed, like two extra tents for the caterers (one for bussing tables/scraping food, one for them to prep/cook), as well as random stuff like water pitchers, trays for the catering staff, salt and pepper shakers, lights (!!!), etc. You need SO many glasses and dishes and forks – oh my god, the forks (tiny appetizer forks, salad fork, dinner fork, cake fork, pie fork, extra forks for everything because people lose forks). On top of that, DH’s parents spent thousands of dollars landscaping their backyard, to get it ready for the wedding.

Our wedding was amazing and I don’t regret doing it in the backyard one bit, but it would have been a LOT easier (and cheaper) to hold the wedding at a hotel or restaurant. My “operations” spreadsheets from the wedding are scary scary scary beasts.



Post # 17
1678 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

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tigerlil:  rain plan – necessary, bathrooms – necessary. those are two huge ones. but really, if you think it will be too stressful for you, i’d avoid doing this at your home so thta you don’t get overwhelmed and miss the opportunity to enjoy your wedding day!

Post # 18
1234 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

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tigerlil:  I completely appreciate your position. We wanted to keep things simple and homey and affordable, and initially thought about a backyard wedding. But the ideas people keep bringing up about logistics were what scared us away too. Tables, chairs, lighting… but what about tent sides? A floor? If it actually does rain, those add-ons become important (and expensive). And bathrooms are also key, as PPs pointed out. And you will want to look into whether that catering estimate includes linens and cutlery, etc. — some caterers build it into their quotes but others do not.

I am like you, in that I have a pretty low threshold before my give-a-shit light goes out. So I “outsourced” a lot of things by having our wedding at an actual venue that we loved (and which had a great rainy day back-up option) and a caterer who really knew her stuff. This kept my stress down tremendously but also ended up inflating our budget quite a bit. We thankfully had flexibility in terms of the money, but even if we hadn’t, I still think we would have found a venue to keep our own logistics simple (just a cheaper one).

I’m also pretty appalled at that catering estimate! We wound up at $100/head for the whole works (even down to the sales tax). Depends a lot on where you live but that sounds like a total racket between the venue and the caterers. Have you looked around for any other venues that might work and will let you bring in a cheaper option? I went to an outdoor wedding recently that was catered by food trucks and it was awesome.

Post # 19
86 posts
Worker bee

To be honest, it depends on what kind of wedding you want.  We live in so cal, and around here it’s 5-6k just to rent the venue (not including ANY rentals, ANY food or ANYTHING other than a venue).  So, we were looking at “alternative” spaces to begin with.  For us, the backyard works only because we found a great caterer who also takes care of our rentals and who was REALLY cheap.  I’ve been reccomended them by 2 people, so I’m pretty sure they’re reliable.  

BUT we are having a very low-key buffet style wedding.  As to needing multiple forks or whatever, if you want that sort of thing, go with a venue.  If you’re ok with low-key then you can handle backyard weddings.  (But also, we’re tenting the whole ceremony and reception and we have a house with multiple bathrooms)

Also, DO NOT MAKE YOUR MOM COOK ON YOUR WEDDING DAY.  My aunt did this and spent her son’s whole wedding in the kitchen, she still regrets it even though she offered.  If it’s at that point, just get catering from a local restaurant and use paper plates/plastic cutlery.

Post # 20
93 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2016 - Laguna Beach

I realllllly wanted a backyard wedding. My Future Mother-In-Law has a gorgeous, huge backyard with a great view. But logistically, it was going to be too hard. Things we had to consider:

*Parking – our guest list is at 120. That’s a lot of cars.

*Bathrooms – the house has 3 bathrooms, but do we want people traipsing through the house? Or do we want to rent bathrooms? (Ugh.)

*Stress – although we would have rented everything and had a catering company, I knew my Future Mother-In-Law would not be able to relax. It’s her house, afterall. And I really want her to have fun at her sons wedding! I also didn’t want her to have to deal with the aftermath of having all those people in her backyard. 

So we have booked a venue that will hopefully give us that backyard garden party vibe. Just my two cents!

Post # 21
296 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Mid planning of my backyard wedding and I can definitely say that they are not cheaper than having it at a typical venue. For me, that’s OK, because it’s the vision my fiance and I had. Rentals alone (tent, tables, chairs, lighting, dance floor, linens) it’s a bit over $3,000. If your Mom does prepare the food then add on costs for china and silverware. The home where our wedding will be has 3 bathrooms, but only one will be accesible during the wedding (too much of a concern with septic system issues) so we are renting a luxury porta potty- $700. 

Like pp’s have said-it really all depends on what you’re going for. Do you want all of the bells and whistles that a typical venue has to offer?…then you’re going to have to pay for it. Do you care if it feels like a relaxed backyard cookout?…then you can cut costs where they can be cut- buy plasticware instead of china and glassware, buy some string lights from Target’s garden section instead of choosing lights from an event rental company, etc…

I must say that even though we are spending roughly the same amount we would if we had a wedding at a typical venue that included everything I have no regrets so far about having a backyard wedding. For us, it is the right thing to do. 

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by LeeBee88.
Post # 22
2266 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I agree with PP’s who have mentioned logistical things to consider like bathrooms (those trailer bathrooms with running water can be expensive!), parking, and having a rain plan. 

Are there other venues you can consider?

Post # 23
31 posts
  • Wedding: September 2015

I really wanted a backyard wedding.  It seemed more intimate and personal and of course more budget friendly.  We ended up choosing a venue when parents started tossing in funds, and while I am kind of happy I don’t have to deal with all of that planning and stress (not to mention I live states away..), I am still kind of bummed that we won’t be celebrating in a nice tent with the backyard all lit up.  Not much to offer as far as advice, though I do feel it will add extra stress to try and plan your own wedding because of all the factors that have to be considered that venues often take care of for you.  But I hope you can find what works best for you and that you have a wonderful day! 🙂

Post # 24
824 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Always have an indoor backup plan for any outdoor venue 

Post # 25
133 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

Do you think you might be able to find a venue that is more open to you using your own catering? All 4 venues we are looking at allow us to use any caterer we want. I’m not sure what area you’re in but that $100 and you don’t even get a dinner seems a little rediculous to me. 

Post # 26
471 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I thought about a backyard wedding, but eventually the cost of rentals scared me. When I started adding up how many forksout , glasses, etc….yeah, that was no-go.

Have you checked out local restaurants? I ended up having 40 people for a luncheon. It was about $1100 total for everying–less than it would have cost me just to rent everything!

Post # 27
301 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

I agree with Karenina! I’ve recently priced restaurants and most just charge a minimum purchase with no room fee. Google “private dining” in your city and I bet you’ll see a few places that’ll work. Good luck!

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