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How lovely would it be to skip the cost of a wedding venue when budgeting for your wedding? Pretty darn lovely, right? That’s why many couples with access to a beautiful home end up considering a backyard wedding. It’s cheaper, it’s personal, and it’s easy, right? Well, not always. (If you’ve seen the 1991 classic, Father of The Bride, you know this very well.) If you want to host a wedding in your backyard, you have be an excellent planner.

First, remember that while you won’t be paying for a venue, you will have to hire every vendor yourself. From linens to tables to staff, this can be a pretty big undertaking. (And a pretty big cost.) You’ll also have to have a contingency plan for any weather-related issues — usually, this comes in the form of a tent, and tents are not cheap either. That said, at the end of the day, you could get married at your childhood home, and the nostalgia is often worth the extra planning and organization you’ll have to do. Here’s how to host a backyard wedding, from start to finish.

Be Upfront With The Homeowners About The Scope Of The Event

Whether you’re renting a house from a stranger or utilizing the backyard your parents have had for years, it’s important to be clear about what the impact of your wedding will be from the get go. Will the lawn be ruined? Where will cars park? What about noise and neighbor complaints. Getting on the same page about all of these logistics is the best place to start.

Think About Your Guest List

Depending on the size of the backyard and home you want to get married at, your guest list may need to be adjusted. Think carefully about how many people will be able to enjoy themselves (and use the bathroom) at the house you’re scoping out for your wedding.

Figure Out The Tent

The tent is probably the most important part of having an outdoor wedding, especially when you’re getting married in the backyard of a home that’s not equipped to hold 100 or so people. Invest in a tent that’s best for your climate, too. There are tents without walls, tents that are entirely clear, and all different types of design looks. Find something that fits the aesthetic of the house you’re celebrating at.

Consider a Wedding Planner

With so many logistics in play, consider hiring a wedding planner, even just for the actual day of your wedding, so that you’re never the point of communication for the many vendors that will be arriving throughout the day.

Organize The Rentals

Figure out where you can rent plates, utensils, linens, chairs, tables, and glassware, too. Try to find a company that can deliver on all (or most) of these, so that you don’t have too many moving pieces. Make sure you speak with your caterer about exactly what types of forks and knives you’ll be needing as well.

Consider Security And Valet

You could hire one or two local teenagers to valet cars, or at least tell people where they can and cannot park. You could also hire a few people to keep guests from heading upstairs inside the house. If you’re worried about drunk driving, hire an actual security presence to keep things under control. Better safe than sorry.

Make Sure The Landscaping Is In Good Shape

Have gardeners or landscapers come to take care of the backyard you’re getting married in close to your wedding date. You want to ground to look their best, especially for photos. Now go forth and enjoy your nostalgic, outdoor wedding!

Written by: Kimmy Foskett

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