More and more often, couples are turning to backyard weddings as a romantic and intimate way to tie the knot, but it’s the type of in-house celebration that takes some foresight. When it comes to budget, the cost of a backyard wedding can be a shocker. The total tally can be as much or more than the average wedding, which nowadays hovers around $25,000 . Whatever your budget, the idea is to host a soiree you and your guests will enjoy. So before you exchange those vows near your childhood swing set, read the following tips.
The first thing to consider is whether your home is suited for the wedding, says wedding planner Donna Stasko of R.S.V.P. Party Planners, based in Mississauga, Ontario. That means you must determine early on how many people you’ll invite, as well as suss out the layout of your home and garden. Is your backyard level or is sloping? Is your backyard big enough to comfortably seat your guests for dinner, or will you have to adjust your plans to a cocktail affair? “You’ve got to know your numbers. That will dictate what we can and cannot do,” says Stasko.
It’s the golden rule: “Anything can be done if you want to pay the money,” says Stasko. Decide what fits best within your budget, and in your home. Will it be a full dinner or finger foods affair? A casual or a fancy barbeque? Luncheons or afternoon tea parties are popular too, and will certainly bring the price down. You’ll save on liquor and venue prices, but if you envision an elegant, fairy tale wedding it could be very pricey. “It can turn out to be just as much as a banquet facility,” says Stasko. Tents are a must for any outdoor affair, she adds. If you have to cut costs, keep the tent, and cut elsewhere.
Don’t make your guests walk miles to get to the ceremony. Consider parking issues. Depending on the number of guests, scout your neighbourhood to determine whether there are enough parking spots outside, or near the house. “It depends on the area,” says Stasko. “If it’s normal residential then people can park on the street. We can set up a valet service.” If parking becomes an issue talk to your neighbours and find out if you can negotiate using their spots. The same applies for noise, says Stasko. Advise neighbours of your party plans.
Depending on when you plan to have your backyard wedding, consider what flowers will be blooming in your garden at the time, if any. Flowers are always a beautiful way to embellish the day of, but with a garden at your disposal the possibilities are endless. “I’ve done it a lot of different ways,” Stasko says of co-ordinating floral arrangements. “A lot of people have baskets on each table with different and brilliant colours.” Not everyone wants the décor to be rustic, though. You might consider simple glass vases with classic flowers such as roses and lilacs. “We can colour scheme anything to the garden,” says Stasko.
Let Caterers Cater to You
Depending on the type of party you’re hosting, plan your menu well in advance. Not just what your guests will be eating, but exactly how the food will be cooked, delivered and stored. If you choose to have a caterer, make sure it’s a reputable one. “A good caterer should always do the rentals because they know what they need,” says Stasko. “And they have their own staff!”
Backyard carpets are available but most couples don’t rent them, says Stasko. “They say guests know it’s an outside wedding, so they won’t wear stiletto heels,” she says. However, a lot of couples go for the dance floors, which are easily accessible. It might be a good idea to remind the style mavens on your wedding guest list that it’s a backyard party! But if it’s really swanky then seriously consider renting carpets.