When you imagine your dream wedding, does it take place in your own backyard? Backyard weddings are popular because they allow the bride and groom to host their event in a place that means a lot to them. They can be less expensive, depending on the amount of indoor space you have available should it rain. They also give you complete control: You decide the menu, you decide how many people to invite, and you decide exactly how your special day will go.
We know you want to make your wedding special, so we've listed 21 amazing ideas that will make your day shine in your memories long after you head off for your honeymoon!
Here are some of the more gorgeous ideas to start off with!
- Rent a Tent
- Set Up Outdoor Lighting
- Take Advantage of Your Yard’s Features for Wedding Photos
- Time It Right for the Sun
- Use Wildflowers in Your Bouquet
- Give Your Guests Bubbles
- Have a Summer Wedding
- Spring Weddings Are Classic for a Reason
- Make Your Own Macrame Gazebo
- And more!
Weave Elements of Nature Into Your Hairstyle
The theme of your outdoor wedding will likely revolve around the natural flora and fauna available to you in your yard or garden, so why not snip a few springs of something beautiful and ask your hairdresser to weave it into your updo, braid, or other wedding-worthy hairdo? This is a great tip not only for the bride but also for the bridesmaids, the mothers of the bride and groom, and anyone else who has long hair and a love for flowers.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
Chances are great that you will be walking on dirt, grass, rocks, or other irregular ground cover. While you might want to wear formal footwear for your ceremony, kick on some Keds or other comfortable shoes once you’re ready to dance and party the day away. Go with plain black or white, or add a bit of whimsy by choosing fuschia, lime green, turquoise, or some other bright shade!
Rent a Tent
Unless you are in a climate that virtually guarantees a warm, sunny day, you are going to need a contingency plan in case of rain. Renting a wedding tent can be pricey (up to a couple thousand dollars in some areas, depending on the size of the tent), but it’s necessary if you don’t have the indoor space to let the party go on despite the weather. Talk to the rental company to determine the size you need based on the number of attendees.
Set Up Outdoor Lighting
Are you getting married in the late afternoon or early evening? If so, you will want to ensure that you have the right lighting to make your wedding special while making sure everyone can see what’s happening. Strands of fairy lights, Chinese lanterns, pole lights, and even a spotlight or two will add to the ambience while providing that necessary glow. Design a lighting plan ahead of time so you can be sure you have plenty of outlets available.
Take Advantage of Your Yard’s Features for Wedding Photos
If you have a deck, porch, patio, walkway, or other features, make sure that your wedding photographer incorporates them into your wedding pictures. For years to come, you’ll want to look back on those special memories and reminisce about how the yard or garden looked the year you tied the knot. Look for several interesting backdrops on the property to include in your photo sessions and let your imagine go wild.
Time It Right for the Sun
Are the sunsets amazing in your back or front yard? This is another feature that you’ll want to work into your photos! Time your wedding photos around when the rays will be at the peak of color. Another great time to take photos is during the “golden hour,” or about one hour before sunset. And if the sun rises on your property, you might even find a photographer to come out at the crack of dawn to help you preserve your wedding memories.
Use Wildflowers in Your Bouquet
Try to get local wildflowers to use in your bouquets and in your decorations. If you have your own garden or live near a meadow or forest, you might be able to make your own bouquets with what you have available. Don’t forget about herbs, branches with grapes or berries, and pinecones. A local florist will also be able to get wildflowers for your floral arrangements, decorations, and boutonnieres.
Give Your Guests Bubbles
Always a hit with children, having a variety of ways that everyone can blow bubbles gives your wedding a lighthearted feel, gives guests something to do, and even adds to your decorations. Look for mini bubble bottles, large wands that create huge bubbles, and everything in between. One caveat: Don’t buy bubbles that are blown from colored soap; those might stain your gown.
Have a Summer Wedding
It’s easy to choose summer as the best time of year for a wedding. If you live in a northern climate, it is likely to be the most comfortable time to be outdoors, the sun shines often, and the garden will be bursting with flowers. Another benefit is that the sun will shine well into the evening, giving you lots of time to celebrate with your guests without worrying about lighting.
Enjoy the Fall Foliage at an Autumn Wedding
Against a backdrop of fiery red, orange, and gold leaves, your wedding dress will look gorgeous. Incorporate some of that amazing fall foliage into your photos and enjoy the crisp air and fresh scents that go along with fall weather. In some parts of the country, the autumn is the most comfortable and reliable time to have a wedding without worrying about rain (but be prepared for inclement weather regardless!).
Don’t Discount a Winter Wedding
You might not have thought about having your outdoor wedding in the winter, but with some foresight, you can certainly make it happen. The snow and winter foliage will be stunning. Consider changing out of your gown and encouraging guests to bring their ice skates if you have a pond on your property. Serve up plenty of hot drinks and, of course, have a heated tent for warming up.
Spring Weddings Are Classic for a Reason
If your favorite season is the spring, then it’s easy to weave those beautiful budding trees and spring flowers into your decorating scheme as well as your photos. Find a tree in your yard with delicate blossoms for photos. If spring tends to be a bit muddy where you live, you will want to rent a floor for your yard that will keep your shoes and gown clean and for guests to dance.
Buy Biodegradable Glitter
Instead of throwing rice, have your guests shower you and your beloved with biodegradable glitter. It will melt into your lawn when it rains, and you won't need to worry about trying to clean regular glitter or grains of raw rice out of the yard. In case you’re wondering, biodegradable glitter is often made with mica minerals, which is the same material used in shimmery makeups.
Let Your Bridesmaids Choose Their Outfits
If you are having a casual backyard wedding, give your bridesmaids a color palette to stick to and let them each choose the dress or pantsuit they like best. They will know what type of clothing they feel most comfortable in as well as what looks best, so you’ll have happy, secure bridesmaids waiting to welcome the bride down the aisle. Give the maid of honor a different color or have her wear a hat or some other accessory that will help her stand apart.
Make Your Own Macrame Gazebo...
Do you or a family member crochet? Maybe you’d like to spend some of those long days anticipating your wedding whipping up this photo backdrop or gazebo! This would be perfect for a garden wedding featuring antiques and various objects of years past. You might even have a relative with some macrame decorations that could be added; it could be your “something old” (or “something borrowed”) if you are going along with the rhyme.
...Or a Gazebo Made From Outdoor Elements
Another option to design a homemade backdrop for photos is to use what you have available in the area surrounding your yard. Old wood, flowers, boughs of green foliage, branches of autumn foliage, or grape vines would all make stunning additions to a homemade gazebo. Leave them in their natural state if possible, and tie it all together with jute twine. When the wedding is over and all of the photos have been taken, dismantle it and place it all back in the woods to decompose.
Try a Themed Cake Topper!
Take a look at this adorable cake topper, complete with a barefoot bride and groom to really center in on the theme of an outdoorsy wedding. You can find cake toppers in just about any style, from formal and traditional to very casual and even whimsical. Think about any collections or hobbies that you and your soon-to-be spouse share, and look for something that will depict your interest. Later, the topper can have a place of honor in a hutch or on a shelf.
Kick Your Barbecue Up a Notch
Hands down, the best food to serve at a backyard garden wedding is going to be something having to do with a barbecue or grill. It doesn’t have to be laid-back or casual, though. Try serving it on rented china and separating the side dishes so guests can choose what they’d like best. Go with old standbys like mac and cheese, pulled pork, and coleslaw, or look for some new recipes. If you’re hiring a caterer, ask them what their BBQ specialties are. If you’re cooking yourself, you can prepare it in your (indoor) kitchen if you don’t have room on your outdoor grill.
Fire Up the Grill Yourself
Asking a close friend or family member to man the grill is a great way to save money on catering while bringing a down-home atmosphere to your garden wedding. Serve up a variety of fare, from veggie kabobs to sausages to good old burgers and hotdogs. Make sure you have plenty of condiments and sides available, too. You might even consider asking some guests to bring a potluck dish to add to the flavors available.
Stick to Hors d'Oeuvres and Drinks
If funds are tight or you simply would prefer to focus on the dancing and mingling at your backyard wedding, it’s perfectly acceptable to focus on some appetizers and drinks in lieu of a sit-down meal. This is best for when you have a mid-morning or mid-afternoon wedding, as it allows guests to eat a meal before they come. Specify on the reception invitations that light refreshments will be served so nobody expects a full meal.
Get Your Pet Involved
One of the nicest parts of having your wedding in your own backyard is that your dog or cat can be part of the action without worrying that they won’t be welcome in a venue. They’ll feel right at home, and if they get antsy with all of the company, they’ll be just as happy to go back in the house. If your pet is a good sport, consider dressing them up for the occasion. If your dog is well-trained, you could even get him to be the ring-bearer!
Having your wedding in your backyard allows you to use your creativity and imagination to design the special day of your dreams. You might pay less than you would for a wedding at a typical venue (which averaged just under $34,000 in 2019), and you are sure to create treasured memories that will last for decades. We wish you the best as you plan to make every moment of your wedding exactly what you want it to be!
About The Author
Michelle Kulas has been writing professionally since 2008 in a variety of niches. She is a gardener and enjoys spending time with her family and her dog in her sunny Southwest Florida backyard. When she's not writing or in the garden, you can find her cooking or volunteer with foreign exchange students.