20 Backyard Wedding Ideas

Are you and your partner planning a backyard wedding? First of all, congratulations! Second, props to you for your thoughtful venue choice. 

A home wedding is budget-friendly, personal, meaningful, and can be customized to fit your vision. You can make your nearing nuptials as grand or as casual as you wish. 

Since you chose a backyard over a traditional wedding venue, there are a few extra things to take care of. To ease any stress you may be feeling, we’ve created a list of 20 backyard wedding ideas you can use to make your day seamless and memorable.

Outdoor Wedding Planning Tips

1. Plan for the Weather

Outdoor wedding ceremony with tents.

Rain on your wedding day is a sign of good luck, but not for your hair, makeup, and dress. This is where tents come in as handy barriers to keep inclement weather away from you and your guests. Many rental companies offer tents that come with amenities you’ll appreciate, such as:

  1. Built-in heaters or air conditioning
  2. Retractable walls that keep wind and insects out
  3. Built-in lights and sheer curtains
  4. Set up and teardown service

2. Set Boundaries (in the House)

Perhaps you’ve set up a private area where your bridal party can get ready, or maybe you have babies that need a quiet space to nap during the wedding reception. Whatever your reasons are, take a preemptive approach to keep guests from wandering around your house. Block off rooms you don’t want anyone entering by hanging signs and locking doors. Let your friends and family know the off-limits areas so everyone is on the same page.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate

Allowing loved ones to be part of your special day takes tasks off your plate and adds an extra level of sentimentality. Have craft-loving friends help you make decorations. Ask your woodwork-loving uncle to build you a rotating cake stand. Or put your soon-to-be mother-in-law in charge of directing vendors and ensuring the wedding party sticks to your timeline.

4. Tidy Up Your Yard

Ask your family and friends to help clean up your landscaping a few days beforehand so you can get the job done faster. Weeding, trimming hedges, edging, and mowing the grass will make your yard a beautiful backdrop for your big day.

5. Share the News with Neighbors

This is a courteous thing to do if you have neighbors nearby. Parking and noise will be the main reasons for giving them a heads-up if you have a long guest list. A few months beforehand, print out flyers and stick them in your neighbors’ mailboxes. If your neighborhood has a Facebook page, post the update there too. 

6. Procure the Proper Permits

Before booking vendors, reach out to your town administrators to learn about necessary permits and local laws, regulations, and ordinances you’ll need to follow. If permits are required, let your vendors know because they might have to complete and file extra paperwork.

7. Have a Photography Plan

Having a solid idea of what you want gives your photographer a great foundation to build on and ensures photos and videos go off without a hitch. Once you’ve chosen a photographer, we recommend doing a few things early on:

  1. Give your photographer a list of must-have shots and locations where you want to take photos.
  2. Ask your photographer how much time they need for pre-ceremony shots, such as getting ready, “first look,” couple, and group portraits. 
  3. Schedule your photographer’s arrival time, and create a lenient timeline that won’t have anyone rushing.
  4. If you and your bridesmaids are getting your hair and makeup done professionally, consult your stylists to find the best time to get started and add that to your timeline.
  5. Share the timeline with your wedding party so they can get their own plans in place. 
  6. If you’re not doing a “first look,” schedule a cocktail hour after the ceremony so guests can toast to your happiness while you finish up photos.

Source: WeddingWire

8. Hire Help

If it’s in your budget, consider hiring someone to help plan your backyard wedding. There are different types of wedding professionals that will help you based on your needs:

  1. Wedding planner A wedding planner can assist you in various ways, from keeping track of your budget and booking hotels for out-of-town guests to ensuring the groom remembers his tux and that the best man has the rings.
  2. Wedding coordinator – A wedding coordinator focuses on managing your wedding day, not pre-planning. They’ll create a timeline, make sure everyone sticks to it, and handle any other day-of details so you don’t have to.
  3. Wedding designer – A wedding designer’s sole purpose is to make your backyard wedding visually stunning. They’ll come to your home and help create a design concept you love that fits the space and your budget. On your wedding day, they’ll oversee the setup and teardown of all decor, from flowers to lighting.

Source: Brides

9. Insurance is Important

Insurance for weddings isn’t required, but having it and not needing it is better than the alternative. A Junebug Weddings post suggests finding out what your homeowner’s insurance covers and checking with your vendors to see what insurance they carry. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and read insurance policies to learn what you’re responsible for.

10. Have a Backup Power Source

You’ll need a lot of energy to power the lighting, sound, heating and cooling elements, food equipment, and other electronics on your wedding day. It might be more than your house can handle, so rent a generator to prevent blown fuses and outages.

Backyard Wedding Decor Ideas

11. Something Old

Bride holding homemade vintage jewelry bouquet. Author’s wedding bouquet. Photo Credit: Dragonfly Photography

Search antique stores and thrift shops to find pre-loved treasures you can transform into wedding day decorations. A unique idea is a bouquet made using vintage costume jewelry. You can add extra meaning by incorporating pieces that belonged to your mother or grandmother, keeping them close to your heart as you walk down the aisle. Here’s a step-by-step guide from HGTV you can follow to build your own bouquet.

12. Something New

Style an arbor as a tasteful backdrop for your wedding ceremony. Premade kits are available, or create your own to make it truly unique. Check out this YouTube video from TheSorryGirls to see how easy it is to build an arbor. After the wedding ends, don’t take your arbor down. Instead, leave it up and let vining flowers from your garden wind over it.

13. Something Borrowed

Photographs of loved ones on chairs at an outdoor wedding ceremony. Photo Credit: Signature Occasions

Reach out to your family and your soon-to-be family to ask permission to borrow photos of loved ones who have passed on or are not able to be there with you. Reserve a special row of seats to display the pictures, that way, they’ll be there with you in spirit on your special day. It’s a touching tribute that everyone will appreciate.

14. Something Blue

Blue backyard wedding decorations. Photo Credit: MLE Pictures

Continuing with the theme, tradition calls for brides to wear something blue. The blue item can be whatever you choose: jewelry, shoes, a headpiece, or even blue flowers in your bouquet. This Philadelphia couple took it a step further, incorporating blue hues throughout their backyard wedding day decor.

15. Let Nature Decorate

If you or your partner have a green thumb, put it to good use by creating natural decorations through landscaping. It’s a thoughtful, budget-friendly way to make your backyard wedding unique. Here are a few recommendations to make your landscaping extra special:

  1. Plant from seeds – Make sure to time it right so the flowers bloom on your big day.
  2. Pick in-season plants – Flowers that are in season at the time of your wedding are less expensive.
  3. Plant perennials – Give yourself a visual reminder of your wedding day year after year.
  4. Use edible decorations – Incorporate fruit and vegetable plants into your landscaping, adding a visual twist and perhaps including some homegrown produce in your wedding menu. 

Source: Mississippi State University Extension Service 

16. Provide Games and Entertainment 

Dancing and an open bar are great, but make the most of your backyard by offering other forms of entertainment during the cocktail hour and reception with fun lawn games such as cornhole, giant Jenga, and beer pong. 

17. Offer Activities for Kids

Little boy sitting at a Mahogany Kids Picnic Table.

Don’t forget activities for the little ones. Give children a space of their own where they can play, complete with sturdy kid-sized furniture, snacks, outdoor games, and craft supplies.

18. Create Separate Relaxation Spaces

Braxton Deep Seating Sofa with a Sand frame and Ash Charcoal seat cushions sitting near a fire pit in the backyard.

If you have enough space, style a secluded area away from the lights and dance floor where guests can kick back with a refreshing beverage. Style the setting with comfortable outdoor furniture and low lighting to set a relaxing mood.

19. Include Your Favorite Foods in the Menu

Girl sitting on a White Seashell Adirondack chair roasting s’mores around a fire pit.

One of the most memorable parts of any wedding is the food. An unforgettable way to feed your guests is by serving your favorite foods in out-of-the-box ways. Rent a food truck, opt for donuts instead of a wedding cake, or light a fire and set out ingredients for s’mores. Everyone will experience your personality with every plateful.

20. Invite Furry Guests

Bridal party holding puppies. Photo Credit: Cami Zi Photography

It’s your wedding and your backyard, so have complete freedom to invite whomever you want—including your four-legged bestie. Add them to your wedding party as the “dog of honor” – the photos will be extra memorable. Another idea is to invite shelter pets to your wedding as this couple did. A litter of adorable puppies got all the love they could handle that day, and a few even found forever homes. 


How do you plan a backyard wedding on a tight budget?

Here is a list of things to do to plan a backyard wedding on a budget:

  1. Keep your guest list short
  2. Make your own decorations
  3. Go thrift shopping to find dresses and decor
  4. Instead of gifts, ask family and friends to help you 
  5. Pick one or two things to splurge on, such as a photographer
  6. Get some food catered and make the rest from scratch

How much space do you need for a backyard wedding?

You should plan for six to 10 square feet of floor space for every guest you invite. It might be time to trim the guest list if you have a small backyard and a large headcount.

What time of year is best for an outdoor wedding?

Backyard weddings are at the mercy of the elements, so choose a time of year when the weather in your area is mild and pleasant. This makes traveling easier for out-of-town guests, and no one will be ducking inside your house to get out of the cold or heat. Thinking aesthetically, spring and fall are preferred wedding seasons because of the natural beauty of blooming flowers and changing leaves.

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