Backyard Weddings are the Best Trend of 2023
— By Raashka Mannie
24 February 2022
There’s no need to back your wedding up – unless it’s to your backyard, that is.
Necessity is the mother of invention. While backyard weddings aren’t an entirely new concept, they’re still pretty fresh to many. Until the recent pandemic, people never had to consider micro weddings or micro wedding venues. As with all things, we have to go with the flow when it comes to change – and one of the many ways people have adapted is by hosting fabulous backyard weddings.
Intimate, super customisable and cosy as can be, backyard weddings have burst onto the scene like shorts in the summertime. They’re by far one of our favourite trends. But how do you put one together? Why are they better than having a wedding at a different venue? What are the ins and outs of hosting a backyard wedding? Well, we’re not wedding planners – but, thankfully, we have some experts who are.
“Planning a wedding during a pandemic is no easy task,” Rebecca from Blume & Darling said. “With rules and regulations constantly changing, a backyard wedding can be the perfect solution to ease some planning stress.”
Image by Coralee Stone
What is a backyard wedding?
Backyard weddings are beloved for a whole variety of reasons. It’s your wedding, but at home. It could be your home or could be a loved one’s home – wherever you feel most comfortable, essentially. Its primary purpose was once to bring the cosiness and closeness of your home to your special day. Today, it shares this purpose with safety and convenience in a rapidly changing climate.
“A backyard wedding allows flexibility while planning as it allows you to potentially change dates and also guest numbers if needed for level settings,” Rebecca said. “[It also] provides the perfect blank canvas to allow you flexibility with styling and creating a vision you want to execute for your wedding.”
That hits the nail on the head for many: flexibility, flexibility, flexibility. Backyard weddings award you with the chance to do whatever you want when it comes to dates, décor, guests and more. They are perfectly personalised wedding days that unfold in the security of a space that is the warmest, most wonderful memory to you.
Image by Fluro Grey
If you want to save a pretty penny, backyard weddings are a surefire way to do so. One of the biggest pluses to a backyard wedding is the amount you’ll save not just when it comes to venue hire but with furniture hire, styling and all those fiddly deposits you’d have to put down otherwise. There is still plenty you will have to plan for, such as parking, décor, menus and more, but those are things you’d be spending on regardless. Backyard weddings also afford a level of casualness that venues can lack; the relaxed, informal nature of your home can make it so much simpler to plan something effortless and easygoing – if that’s what you’re after.
This should go without saying, but mentioning it feels far too important: backyard weddings are safe. They allow you to control the number of guests, who goes where, who does what and more. You are ensconced in the safety of your home throughout the entire affair; you don’t have to worry about staff you didn’t hire or strangers out and about as you would at an external venue. Backyard weddings are especially great if you’ve got loved ones that are particularly careful about the ongoing pandemic – you’ll all be at ease with one another, knowing that you’re in a controlled and familiar environment, celebrating the best day of your life together. “Given all the uncertainty of the last couple of years, more and more couples are choosing to have a low key backyard celebration. Whether it's an at-home garden setting, the family farm, or a beachfront holiday home, this is certainly a popular trend we are seeing,” said Kim from Take A Vow.
Cosy and convenient
The convenience factor is off the charts with backyard weddings. You can’t be late, you know exactly where everything is, you already have a dressing room, and you know where all the good snacks are kept. In fact, you can even change the date depending on whatever happens. What a win, right? A backyard wedding is unmatched in terms of how convenient and cosy it is. Tons of couples opt for one due to how much pressure it takes off them, being in the comfort of their home. It also means that guests won’t have to travel to multiple locations if you choose to have both the ceremony and reception at home. They can spend the whole day with you in peaceful privacy with flutes of champagne and warm exclusivity.
There are a million ways to DIY your heart out when it comes to weddings, but backyard weddings have some extra oomph to them in this regard. They’re definitely the most DIY-able wedding around, especially because so much of the setting is already in your control. If you’re choosing to have an outdoor wedding in your garden or yard, it’s all about landscaping and decorating to your heart’s content. If you’re keeping it indoors, then get styling! We have tons of ideas for DIY weddings, so don’t be shy when it comes to your backyard wedding and put your heart into making your big day truly yours.
Whether it’s the home you already have with a partner, a home of a loved one, or a home you once called your own, there’s nothing like the sentimentality of a home. That’s where the heart is, after all, isn’t it? Don’t underestimate how big a difference being sentimental about your venue can make, especially for something as important as your big day. Backyard weddings tie in with all the best parts of your memories, allowing you to celebrate in a space that makes you feel like you’re being wrapped up in a blanket on a nippy evening. Additionally, how unique is your wedding day going to be? It’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ll be the only one to have a wedding at your home, which adds to the cool factor.
Image by Lionel Tan Photography
Make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row when it comes to having a backyard wedding. That means all the legalities have to be ironed out, from getting a marriage licence to registering your marriage after the ceremony. Check with your homeowner’s association and local government about what permits you may need to have a backyard wedding. You’ll have to make enquiries about music and celebration, so you keep in line with any noise restrictions. You’ll also have to ensure you get the correct parking permits for guests and commercial vehicles. You should double-check the fire codes and zoning issues. Lastly, make sure you inform your neighbours of your big day; any loud sounds could be a disruption, and you want to be as courteous of your surroundings as possible.
There is a higher degree of preparation for a backyard wedding simply because you’ve got to consider landscaping and the state of your home in general. If you’re having any part of your special day outdoors, you’ll want to plant or trim in advance. Get those shrubs looking good, or grow your favourite flowers in time for your ceremony. You could also have some DIY projects for your big day that would take longer, such as a homemade arch to tie the knot under, so get them underway in advance. Backyard weddings require giving your backyard (and any other messy bits of your house) extra TLC so that styling your wedding is a cinch.
You might have to section off parts of your home with ropes and/or signage so guests don’t go wandering. The people we love, bless them, can also be immensely curious – and a little too free with their definition of boundaries. If you’re having a backyard wedding, the chances are that someone might venture beyond the backyard to have a look around. Draw clear boundaries in advance to prevent this from happening. This also means not letting them crash at your place after all is said and done. No matter how pushy they get, you deserve space. Have a prepared list of hotels or Air BnB accommodation if the need arises.
Possibly the biggest con to a backyard wedding is the parking situation. If you live in a densely-populated spot, parking can be a pain. Check in with the local transport to find out about the parking permits you may need for your big day. If you’re looking for alternate options, try organising a shuttle to your backyard wedding for the convenience of your guests and much less parking space needed.
Image by onelove Photography
You must do something about restrooms. Having your guests standing around and bouncing in place as they wait for the bathroom is far from ideal. No matter how small your wedding is, you need to have more than one bathroom available for you and your guests. This will make a world of difference when you’re on your third gin and tonic, and you cannot wait behind Aunt Mabel as she chats to you about real estate. Thankfully, there are a bunch of portable restrooms for hire. You can make them a touch more personal with baskets of toiletries, sprigs of flowers or more.
Unless you’re Meryl Streep from The Devil Wears Prada, please hire a wedding stylist. They will help you reimagine your home in ways you would never have thought of, putting their expertise to the test in new and exciting ways. “Bringing in a beautiful marquee, delicious catering, fabulous furniture, stunning florals, and styling provides for an ideal intimate wedding,” Kim said. Because it’s all about taking a familiar setting and transforming it into something idyllic for your backyard wedding. Wedding stylists are specialists in this field; they will know what furniture to hire and how to lay out your ceremony just right. Don’t think that you can DIY your way through your entire wedding just because it’s at home – find the help that is right for you and stick with it.
“As backyard weddings usually require more [work] than a traditional venue, it's highly recommended to get an on-the-day coordinator as, logistically, these weddings can be difficult to execute,” Rebecca said. “An-on-the day coordinator can also help you source any furniture or styling items and assist with setting up the space.” You heard it here, folks: get a wedding planner. As Rebecca mentioned, they can be on-the-day coordinators or someone you have throughout the process of planning, depending on what suits you. Wedding planners have invaluable insight regarding the day’s run-through, guests’ needs, your needs, and so much more. You’re going to be thankful when you’re unable to find your much-needed something borrowed, and they pop up with it in tow.
Yes, you have to consider your neighbours – unless you live on some rolling farmland in Kumeu, in which case we’re coming over to hang out. However, if this backyard wedding is in a suburb somewhere, there will be laws surrounding noise that you have to adhere to, as well as common rules of courtesy to follow when having a backyard wedding. Your neighbours deserve to know why your garden is full of laughter and ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ by Toploader. Establish a cut-off time and set firm boundaries to avoid any unnecessary drama. It’ll keep them from banging at the door in their pyjamas, grumpily asking you to keep it down.
Image by Burgh Brides
At your backyard wedding, like with any wedding, you’ll accumulate a lot of trash. Empty bottles, tear-stained tissues, boxes, ribbons and more – and it’ll be your responsibility to get rid of all of it. You can keep things clean as you go, with carefully labelled trash cans nearby, or hire extra help to do so. In the end, your teeny-tiny garbage bins won’t be able to contain the spoils of your backyard wedding, so schedule a pick-up with a local garbage collection company or organise a drop-off so you’re not stuck with more than you can manage. You can also ask your catering company to take care of it for you, as they’ll be pros when it comes to the ins and outs of wedding waste.
A most necessary expense that not many people consider is wedding insurance. This should be purchased whether you have a backyard wedding or not, but it’s most important for backyard weddings. These insurance plans cover the whole gamut: cancellations, postponements, personal liability, hire, equipment and even honeymoons. You can often customise wedding insurance to what you deem necessary. Packages can start from as low as $250 and will cover incidents or accidents that may occur. Better safe than sorry!
If there’s one thing we don’t control in New Zealand, it’s the weather. The best-laid plans can get rained on, so plan for the inevitable: have marquees, tarps or umbrellas, or choose to move to a spot inside if you’re outdoors for the day. Your plan B matters and can be a simple solution to a very unpredictable issue. The same way you’d have to plan around this at any other venue, plan around this at home. If you want, you can choose to move your whole wedding out of the backyard and to someplace new – but inform your guests of this well in advance so that they can make proper arrangements alongside you. If a tent is your answer for wet or hot weather, then make sure it’s properly ventilated and has enough fans or heaters to keep things at the perfect temperature.
From extra cutlery to lounge pieces to add spice to your backyard, rentals are the cornerstone of a backyard wedding. Work with your wedding planner and stylist to establish everything you’ll need in advance, then dive into finding the wedding hire company for you, down to the very last spoon. “When planning a backyard wedding, couples need to [understand] that you may need to consider and hire more items than a traditional wedding,” Rebecca informed us. “This includes regular wedding vendors such as catering, florist, alcohol and a photographer but may also require additional furniture. Smaller ticket items for a backyard need to be considered, such as portaloos, rubbish removal, parking and alcohol storage. These are things that are often forgotten but can create a headache if not properly planned.”
Last but not least, let there be light. Your home won’t be able to handle all the extra lighting, audiovisual equipment and more that comes with hosting a backyard wedding. You’ll need to invest in a generator to ensure that your wedding stays well-lit and functioning. Professional-grade equipment demands professional-grade power, so this is one thing you can’t skimp out on. Unfortunately, candlelight isn’t going to give you much in the way of actual lighting, and there are specific fire codes that prohibit you from having one too many, so that won’t be the solution you might think it is. Hire a generator, and tick that off your backyard wedding to-do list.
Image by Rad + In Love