You've decided to skip a venue.  You have a beautiful piece of property to hold a wedding.  What are the things you can't overlook?

It's a decision that a ton of brides and grooms have made since 2020.  They've just decided to skip a venue altogether and put together their own wedding celebration in a backyard reception and ceremony.

In many cases, it's a great idea.  There are way fewer restrictions on outdoor backyard weddings.  You can pretty much do whatever you want.  You can start whenever you want.  You can end whenever you want.  You don't have to wait until a certain time to come in and decorate.  You can do a little at a time and not be so stressed.

There are a lot of positives.  But there are some other things to keep in mind too.

Where are you going to put all those people?

Backyard weddings can get pretty big.  Once you get all the people there, where will you put them? Are you going to get a tent?  Is there a permanent structure that people can go into or under?  Is your backyard going to be big enough to comfortably hold all the people that you intend to invite?

Where will they all park?

Do you have enough room for everyone to park safely without cars being in the street?  Will the parking area be dry enough that you don't have to worry about people getting stuck (for instance if it's in a field).  And if they do get stuck, will you have a means of getting them unstuck?

Will you have it catered?

A lot of the time when people start to put together a wedding, someone steps up and offers to prepare food.  Unfortunately it's normally someone who is close to the bride or groom that really should be enjoying the wedding, instead of working at it.  If you're planning on having a ton of people, consider having someone from the outside to make the food.

Will the caterer send staff to help clear tables?

One of the benefits of a venue is that there are staff members to help clean things up after a meal is over.  Again, the last thing you want your guests to have to do on your wedding day is work.  They're there to celebrate you and enjoy themselves.  If the caterer doesn't have someone to help take care of clearing tables, consider paying someone just to be there for a couple of hours during dinner to help take care of it.  It will make your life MUCH better.

Will you need bartenders?

We've all seen weddings where people just put all the drinks they have in a huge tub or on a table and let people help themselves.  That's normally fine if you're having an all-adult reception.  But if there are kids there, to protect them and yourself, you're going to want someone who is paying attention while they're handing drinks out to guests. It gives it a much classier feel too.

Is the ceremony going to be in the same place?

If it is, you're going to want to ask your DJ or another instrumentalist about playing the music.  Will they be able to provide music at the time you need them?  Is there a separate ceremony/setup fee?  Will you have power at the ceremony site?  Will they be able to provide a microphone for the officiant?

How will you provide power?

You'll need power for things like lights under the tent, crockpots, possibly restrooms, and almost definitely for your DJ or band.  The last thing you want is for them all to be on the same power source.  If you're thinking about using generators, keep in mind that crockpots draw A LOT.  Make sure that your generator or generators can handle what you need.  You don't want the power to go out during that first dance!

Will you have a dance floor?

Depending on how much your guests dance, you can't forget a dance floor.  Whether you build it yourself, or you rent it from someone, guests will thank you for having a level dancefloor that doesn't get their fancy shoes all dusty and muddy.

Will there be someone in charge?

The best thing you can do on your wedding day is to enjoy yourself.  Your guests shouldn't be working and if you can avoid it, neither should you.  If you can afford one, a wedding planner would be good to have for instances like this.  That way when one of your vendors needs something, they have a person to go to so they don't have to bug you on your big day!

What's the plan to deal with inclement weather?

Here in New York, the weather can be unpredictable. You can plan a day in July and get rained out and plan a date in October and see near 80-degree temps.  Is there a backup plan?  Where will you go if it rains.  If it's super hot, do you have a way for people to cool off?  Most people go with a tent.  If you need some ideas on where to get them, we've got a list here.

What about bathrooms?

There are some really fancy options for restrooms these days.  Some come on trailers and function just like regular bathrooms with full size toilets and running water.  Others are the Port-O-Potty options.  The other option is people going into your house and using your own bathroom.  You have to have something for people...or else you're going to notice a lot of people leaving early.

The last thing you have to ask yourself is, "Is it worth it?"  People tend to think that backyard weddings are a little easier to plan because they don't have a venue to answer to.  But as you can see, there is a lot of planning that has to go into a backyard wedding.  While venues might cost a little more, sometimes it's worth it just because they take care of all of those problems.  There's a lot to weigh out.  Good luck while you're planning your wedding - indoors or out!

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