In the last year alone, I have worked on more back yard weddings or receptions that I did in the previous eight years combined. I’m starting to think this may be a trend.
There is a lot to be said for back yard weddings. There are also some cautions to keep in mind. Here is what I know.
If you or your parents or someone else you know has a suitable yard for large-scale entertaining, it can be a wonderful place for a wedding or reception (or both). If it’s your childhood home, it can have a very warm emotional resonance for you and those who love you. It’s also an inexpensive location, which may be very attractive if you are on a budget. It also can count as an eco-friendly venue.
There are things to think about before you jump in, however. Yes, the location itself is free, but there may be some rather large expenses that go with it. First, you may need to put up a tent in case of bad weather. June in Chicago is not only the rainiest month of the year, but it can also be cold. And any month around here can have freak weather. Fortunately, there are many reliable tent rental companies that offer quality products, good service, and extras like flooring and heaters.
The next consideration always on my list is the question of bathrooms. Does the house have enough to accommodate the number of guests you anticipate? Are they accessible for those guests who can’t take many stairs? If not, you may need to rent portable restrooms–and find a place to put them.
Another thing to think about is the stress a back yard wedding puts on the owners of the house. Make sure both you and they know what they are getting themselves into. They may need to move the first floor furniture. They will probably feel obligated to do extra cleaning and yard work. They will have their home turned topsy-turvy for a weekend. If they are willing to do the extra work and have their home turned upside down, be sure to thank them a lot! They are doing something very special for you.
One more (non-glamorous) thing to plan for is garbage disposal. If you are serving dinner to 100 guests in your yard, you will have a larger-than-usual amount of garbage and recycling. Make plans to have extra receptacles, and figure out if your usual disposal service will be able to remove the refuse after the party.
With a little planning, a back yard wedding can be a wonderful way to get married.