#CovidWedding - Planning a Backyard Wedding - 10 Questions to Ask Yourself (and your yard!)
Updated: Mar 12
Last year, the NEWEST venue of the year was truly backyards. With uncertainty of how the pandemic would look and consideration to capacity and opening timelines, a backyard was and still is a very accommodating option.
Last June, I had the joy of helping Grace & Matthew with their stunning backyard ceremony. It was impeccable timing as they had just purchased their first home together and this allowed for an intimate, yet comfortable place to celebrate their union! Manicured lawns, colourful fresh florals, a cute little bridge, newly painted gazebo, and an outdoor fountain brought together the most serene setting.
Though, it was also miraculous timing that the rain forecast held back just in time to allow the ceremony to finish before we moved the dinner plans indoors. This was tremendously divine because weddings were still only allowing a capacity of 15 guests and 2-3 weeks prior to June 6, up to 50 guests were allowed outdoors! Imagine the joy the couple had in hearing that! Afterwards, the couple separated their family and friends into two groups to enjoy a catered dinner by XIX Nineteen at staggered times.
In this blog I wanted to highlight some pros and cons to having a backyard wedding. Though it seems flexible, it may not be the most suitable fit for you and your backyard. Read on to ask yourself the questions below!
Yard Physicality Considerations
1. Depending on your guest list, is it spacious enough to socially distance guests and create the setting you want?
If yes - great! Remember that seating should still be designated by households and cohorts at this time.
If no - you may want to consider hosting it in a suitable outdoor/indoor venue.
2. Is there a separate entrance for guests to enter from so they don't need to have access through your house? Are you okay for guests to use the bathrooms in the home?
If yes- proceed ahead! This provides privacy if the house is not a part of the wedding and also allows guests to find their way to their seat in a straight forward manner.
If no- is there a clear route to the backdoor for your guests to head to the backyard? Otherwise, it may not be logistically feasible. Imagine a late guest rushing through the house to their seat while you're preparing for the processional.
I recommend designating one bathroom for guests to use so they can find their way easily.
3. What direction does your yard face? Would the sun be in your face if you want that moody sunset glow during your ceremony? Would your photos be back lit depending on where your ceremony spot is designated and the time you want it at?
If the sun is in a favourable direction, amazing! Your photos will be epic. If not, I don't recommend the backyard at all. Photos are precious memories and you want them to be keepsakes!
Plan B Considerations
4. Are you willing to have or invest into a tent or indoor option due to inclement weather? A tent may involve having a generator, outdoor plug-ins, and ample space to ensure it's properly situated.
If yes - you're on top of it and willing to work with unexpected weather changes.
If no- perhaps an indoor option is safer and will alleviate some stress for you in your plans, the weather can be the most unpredictable!
5. If capacity is favourable and you're allowed more guests to attend your backyard wedding, would your backyard be able to accommodate the total number of guests without making people feel uncomfortable?
If yes - I would recommend setting a cap in mind in regards to the maximum you are able to accommodate.
If no - have a backup venue or space in mind to hold more guests as restrictions allow for it to happen.
Neighbours & Noise Considerations
6. Likely there is no restrictions with noise, but also likely you live in a residential neighbourhood and you should be mindful of what your neighbours preferences may be.
If your neighbours are chill and happy with your backyard plans - go full steam ahead!
If your neighbours may be a "Karen" I would be careful and kindly inform them to see what they think.
7. How is the parking situation where you live? Do you have ample spots in the neighbourhood or do you live in a cramp crescent? This all factors into the guest experience as well as how receptive your neighbours may be.
If ample, you have ample parking spots and live on a pretty vacant strip- perfect!
If tight and many cars are often parked on the street, then it's probably not a good idea to have a backyard wedding.
8. If dancing is permitted and you have a DJ, usually with residential areas it is considerate to have noise levels be respectable by 11pm. Would you be alright having an earlier party and ending the night quiet?
If yes - no problems here!
If no - best to take the party elsewhere.
Food & Beverage Considerations
9. Despite the wedding being at home, I highly recommend a caterer no matter what. There's a lot going on and worrying about serving food and drinks shouldn't even cross your mind. As such, would your backyard allow for adequate spacing for a caterer to use? Or would you be comfortable for them to access your home/kitchen?
If yes - amazing, the food is going to be great and you have nothing to worry about.
If no - consider hosting the reception at a licensed venue or restaurant.
10. What kind of experience do you want to create? Often a backyard wedding is more informal and casual, would the food and beverage you want to treat your guests match the setting?
If yes - awesome, you have thought everything through and made it to the end of these questions! Continue or start planning your backyard wedding!
If no - then I'm sure these questions have helped you realize a backyard wedding is not favourable for your situation.
I hope this blog provided some insight and perspective to hosting a backyard wedding. Last Spring I wrote a blog on backyard wedding ideas if you are looking for more inspiration!
As always, if you need any help on your wedding plans, contact me! I would be delighted to chat and connect further.
Photography// Natalee Faith Photography
Planning + Coordination// Our Jonrah Events
Bouquet & Bout: Florals by Anita
HMUA// Kathryn McCaffrey
Rentals// Knotwood Event Rentals
Caterer// XIX Nineteen
This wedding is also featured online at Blush Magazine.