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April 9, 2022
Most of us have never planned a backyard wedding or even a wedding, for that matter. So where do you start? Who do you hire? What do you need? After attending countless weddings and planning my own backyard wedding, I’ve made the mistakes and learned a thing or two. Let me share with you what I’ve learned, so your wedding goes as smooth as possible.
I realize this seems counter intuitive to this whole list, but a planner or day of coordinator will help the day go smooth and help you get the most bang for your buck! By hiring a planner, this will potentially give you access to more décor for your wedding. Many have stock items for décor or know the rental companies that will get you exactly what you need. This way you won’t need to buy decorations. While they are doing all the heavy lifting, you will be able to focus on other aspects of your wedding, such as finding the perfect attire or dress.
Hiring a wedding planner will also help to ensure your timeline allows you to enjoy your day and get the most out of your paid vendors. As a photographer, I know that a planner will help to keep you on schedule so you can get the most of the time you have paid to have me present. This goes for videographers and caterers, as well. The last thing you want is for your hair and makeup to go two hours late and only have 30 minutes for couple portraits, wedding party portraits, and family photos. You will most likely feel rushed and you won’t get as much variety in your images.
Different backyards suit different needs. Make sure the space you use has enough room for your guests and everything you are planning. The last thing you want is on the day of the wedding to find out your space fits everyone, but not the cake table. If you have chosen your space already, grab a tape measure and really plan everything out. During the planning of my wedding, I drew up a floor plan of the backyard. It included cocktail tables, a large tent, and a ceremony space. We used the interior of the home for the dinner and a sun room for the appetizers.
If your images are important to you, make sure the space is one you would like to see in a photograph. You can always do portraits at another location, but the ceremony and/or reception will be photographed at the event location. Make sure there aren’t things you don’t want to see, like garbage cans or your neighbors backyard. Your photographer will find the best angles, but you also don’t want all or most of your shots from the same angle.
Even the most perfectly planned weddings always run into at least one hiccup. This is not a bad thing, but it can be when you are not prepared for that or are operating on a tight schedule. The major areas where it may take longer than expected are decorating the backyard, getting ready (hair & makeup), getting guests seated, and any other small details. I planned ahead for my backyard wedding and was able to prepare weeks early and it STILL didn’t go quite as planned. My hair took longer than I thought and putting together the floral center pieces was far harder than expected. I felt rushed to say the least.
If you can, find a friend or family member that can do the last minute tasks. You’re most likely planning an outdoor wedding. This means that you’re probably preparing for dew or rain and will need to decorate the outdoors the day of. Talk to a friend or family member beforehand and let them be in charge of decorating. Even better, have that hired day of coordinator put things together. Your guests are there to celebrate with you and your fiancé, you’ll want to be ready and relaxed when it’s time for guests to arrive. It’s okay to ask for help. You can even give your phone to someone for the day, so they can talk to anyone that has questions.
I don’t mean a whole separate plan for the day, but just have a plan in case of rain. Rent a tent or have an indoor space ready to go. It is far harder to create a backup plan the second you need it, then if you plan ahead of time. The piece of mind you receive from having a tent on location and ready to set up will be well worth the cost of the rental.
If you have any questions or would like some advice on your backyard, I’m happy to help. Leave a comment below or click on this link to the Juniper and Oak contact page.
I AM SO EXCITED TO meet you!