An Expert Guide to Backyard Weddings

Thinking of having a backyard wedding? Professional event planner Jacquelyn Mavrookas shares 10 important considerations you need to make in preparation for your big day.

When you imagine your perfect wedding day, do you dream of having your closest family and friends in your own backyard? Having a wedding at home is one way to put a very personal touch on your special day — but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s any less work than having it at a fancy catering hall. We’ve enlisted the expert advice ofJacquelyn Mavrookas, founder of EVJ Wedding CO, a premiere event agency headquartered in Hoboken, NJ to fill us in on what considerations need to be made when planning your backyard nuptials.

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Space
Make sure you have enough room to accommodate your entire guest list comfortably — don’t just guess and hope for the best. You can use an online space capacity calculator to determine how many chairs & tables can fit in your desired space.  Reach out to local tent rental companies to determine how far in advance will you need to notify them of your needs in case of rainy weather.

Getting Ready
If you have a large bridal party, plan to use the largest space that also has doors to close. When a large group of girls get together to beautify it doesn’t always look so neat and organized and you don’t want your guests to see the unruly nature of hot curlers, lip glosses and hangers thrown about haphazardly. Make sure that whatever room you choose to use has plenty of nature sunlight.

Ceremony
If you are planning on having your wedding ceremony in your backyard as well, you might not have enough space to provide seating for all of your guests. Always aim to have seating for 50% of your total guest count and plan on a 20 minute ceremony. Immediate family & elderly guests should have priority in seating while young, healthy friends should be perfectly fine standing while you exchange vows. If you plan on transitioning ceremony chairs to your reception space, make sure to dedicate a team of workers to make the change happen swiftly without causing commotion or confusion.

guests

Parking
This is often one of the most overlooked details. Ensure that your neighborhood has the capacity to park 50 cars per 100 guests. Splurge on valet parking so your guests arrive comfortably and women aren’t forced to walk long distances in high heels. This is a luxury well worth the extra dollars.

Catering
While you may love coming home to mom’s home cooking, she shouldn’t be the one in the kitchen on your wedding day. Hire a full service catering company to set tables, provide liquor, and act as bartenders. Even if your backyard wedding is small and intimate, a full service company will take the guessing out of food and beverage quantities needed.

Music
Courtesy is key! Since you probably haven’t invited the neighbors to your wedding, it’s a good idea to leave a small gift basket with a note notifying them of your wedding celebration details and the time that the event will conclude. Welcome them to reach out to you or your wedding planner prior to the event date with any questions or concerns. Offense is the best defense!

chairs

Restrooms
Unless you are being married at the home of Queen Elizabeth, odds are your family home will not be able to accommodate the restroom needs of your guests. You can hire fancy shmancy restroom rental companies to ensure your guests won’t have long wait times –  or put up with unsanitary conditions!

Flooring
It’s hard to dance on grass in heels, and gravel or stone ground can make for hazardous tripping conditions while getting your groove on. Even if you don’t opt to cover your entire backyard, it’s very important to lay out where you want the dancing to happen and lay down a formal dance floor.

Clean Up
Enlist a cleaning crew, either professionals or a group of your best friends to help clean up the space the next day! Assign specific people to tasks such as dishes/glassware and others to recycling glass bottles and breaking down decor. This will make it a fast process for all parties involved.

Host
If the couple is using somebody else’s home it is very, very important to provide a gracious host/hostess gift. Your loved one is opening their home to your family and friends to celebrate you, so be sure to thank them many times verbally along with a special gift to show your appreciation. Also note, if your host is allowing you to use their home they are entitled to invite 6 to 10 additional guests.

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