Free Checklist for a Backyard Wedding

bride in sunglasses image by Lisa Eastman from

You need to make sure a number of things get planned and done for every wedding, from booking a space to hiring an officiant. While holding a wedding in your backyard may seem like it will eliminate a lot of headaches and planning, you will need to concern yourself with a few particulars exclusive to backyard weddings.

Clean Up the Yard

Your backyard may be perfectly suitable for the occasional barbecue or picnic, but it may not be wedding-ready. A few months before the big day, look at the yard. If it's rocky or uneven, has large dirt patches or areas of dying or unkempt grass, take steps to clean it up. Plant grass seed or lay sod. If you aren't the yard-work type, enlist the help of a professional landscaper. Keep the lawn mowed and weeds in check in the weeks up to the wedding. The week or a few days before the wedding, do a last-minute sweep of the yard, trimming any unruly bushes or garden plants. Hide any outdoor equipment, from your lawn chairs to your grill.

Plan for the Weather

An April wedding may seem ideal to you, but it may also be the perfect time for rain. An outdoor wedding in the middle of the summer may be too hot for most guests to bear. Pick a date with the usual weather patterns of your area in mind. You can plan around them, if you are dead set on a particular month. For instance, a heated or cooled tent will keep guests comfortable through hot, rainy or chilly weather.

Figure Out Parking and Permits

Depending on where you live, you may need a permit to host a large party in your yard. At the very least, you need to let your neighbors know so that they don't complain at the noise or decide that your wedding day is the perfect day to catch up on their yard work. Parking is another concern. You may need to hire a valet company to handle the cars or arrange for a shuttle bus to pick guests up from a pre-determined spot.

Get the Right Equipment

You'll need to figure out what sort of equipment you need for the wedding. If you plan on having a DJ or band, you may need to rent a generator to power the speakers and instruments. Generators have a reputation for being loud, smelly things, so you need to keep that in mind as well. You could also attempt to power the equipment through an extension cord. Chairs for the ceremony and tables for the reception are another thing you may need to rent. Think about how you will light the wedding if it goes after dusk.