Backyard weddings aren’t a new idea, but over the past year they’ve become increasingly popular.
What started out as a necessity for some has turned into a preference for many. Even as pandemic restrictions lift, many couples are discovering that a backyard wedding can be cost effective, intimate and incredibly magical.
But if you want the wedding of your dreams, it isn’t enough to just plop some chairs down on the lawn. With a little inspiration and the right plan you can create a space you and your guests will remember for years to come.
Here’s how to get your landscape ready for the big day.
Decide What Spaces You Need
Before you do any work, be sure to plan ahead of time.
What spaces do you need for your backyard wedding?
Are you hosting both the ceremony and reception? Do you need an aisle to walk down? A place for a bar or some furniture to lounge in? Space for dining? A dance floor?
Start by visualizing your dream and then try to map it onto the space you have. It is much easier to plan on paper before you start renting or buying things.
Consider Hardscapes First
You might be tempted to jump into the details — like planting flowers along the aisle or edging the lawn to keep the grass looking neat.
But long before that, you need to think about hardscapes.
Hardscapes are the solid materials used to build structure in a landscape. Think pathways, walls, steps, decks and patios.
Hardscapes are like a strong outline. They give structure and order to your yard. You’ll want to plan them out or your landscape won’t have a cohesive flow. Plus, because hardscapes are often built into the yard, you’ll want to put them in first or risk tearing up the finer details.
Here are a few types of hardscapes and how they can add to your wedding day:
Whether made of stone, concrete or gravel, pathways keep heavy foot traffic from ruining your yard. They can look classy and make your property more accessible for all.
Try using stone pavers to create a beautiful aisle for the bride to walk down.
Patio is a broad term, but these structures are very important for a backyard wedding.
No matter what material they are built from, patios make a great space for seating, dancing and dining. Build a couple of steps and you can even create a raised altar for the ceremony.
Hardwood or composite decks can function much like patios. They’ll provide a solid setting for dancefloors or buffet lines.
Consider setting your DJ or bartender up on the deck. Just make sure you block off the house if you don’t want people going in and out!
Install a Covered Space
You can’t control the weather, but if you install a covered space for your backyard wedding you’ll be ready rain or shine.
A canopy shields guests from the elements. But it doesn’t have to just be functional — a few touches can make them look beautiful and feel more intimate.
Use string lights to create a golden glow. Drape greenery to keep everything feeling fresh and outdoorsy. And if you want to go for an extra bit of class, hang rattan chandeliers.
Get the Proper Lighting
While it’ll likely be daylight for your ceremony, you need to install the proper lighting so the reception can continue long after sundown.
Think atmosphere here. Don’t blind guests with floodlights but don’t risk an accident by keeping things too dark. Aim for a twinkling glow.
Consider string lights on trees, hanging paper lanterns or illuminating walkways with solar lights.
Add Some Personal Flourishes
Let your personality shine in the details.
Do you want a pergola for a rustic feel? Are there certain plants or flowers that say something about your relationship or remind you of that bouquet from your first date? Want to add some fun and whimsy? Include yard games and picture boards. Going for atmosphere? Have the firepit stocked with wood.
Decorate in a way that fits your theme. Think big and small — from water features all the way to place settings.
Don’t Be Afraid to Bring in Professional Help
While we hope your wedding day is magical, we know that planning a ceremony and reception can be stressful.
Guest lists, music, dinner menus and dresses — there are a million details you have to take care of.
The last thing you need to worry about is getting the backyard ready. That’s why it’s well worth it to bring in a professional.
The right landscaper knows how to make your vision a reality. They’ve created enough beautiful spaces to know what works and have a team ready to put it together.
Plan Like You’re Making an Investment
When you’re talking with a landscaping company, it’s important to think beyond the backyard wedding.
If you’re hosting at your home or a family member’s home, consider this the perfect opportunity to invest in your landscape.
When done right, the work will create a space you can enjoy on the big day and for years to come.
Keep both goals in mind when making your plans.
The patio you want for a dance floor might also double as the perfect grill space for Labor Day.
That seating area you envisioned for cocktails might become the perfect outdoor movie theatre. And the hardscapes you installed will look great during the ceremony and add a lot to the value of your home if you ever want to sell.
Keep in mind that you’re not just renting a space for the day, you’re actually making an investment that will pay off long after the honeymoon.