After a long and frustrating search for the perfect wedding venue, you’ve finally decided to on the backyard. What could be more perfect and intimate than that? If you’re the do-it-yourself type of person, then this will certainly be fun! Having your wedding in the backyard gives you so much flexibility and control over every detail, not to mention that you can save a bundle. Of course, a backyard wedding is still a wedding, and there’s much to be decided and prepped before the big day. Before you get started, know what you can do yourself, what to delegate to friends and family and what to leave to the professionals.
How to Prepare the Backyard
You will need to prepare the space by making sure the grass is cut and by sprucing up the landscaping with some flowers in the right places. You can rent tables, chairs and a dance floor from your local party rental store. For the ceremony, you might want to say your “I do’s” under some kind of an arbor. Consider having something permanent built for the event that you can continue to enjoy afterwards, like an arbor, trellis or pergola. Alternatively, if you have a deck, you can trick it out with twinkling lights and lanterns.
DIY the Printables
You can certainly save money by taking care of the invitations and other printables, like programs and seating cards, yourself. Believe it or not, you can easily create these printables in Microsoft Word and then have them printed at a local print shop. If you lack graphic design skills, you can also save a bundle by turning to Etsy or Vistaprint, as opposed to a stationery store, for all of your printable needs. Recruit a couple of friends to help you address your envelopes instead of hiring a calligrapher.
DIY the Decorations
Most wedding guests don’t even notice the decorations, so don’t spend tons of money on them. Choose short centerpieces that allow guests to see each other. This idea from Martha Stewart Weddings kills three birds with one stone by using party favors as your centerpiece and placing the table number on top. Potted plants can also double as party favors and centerpieces. Head to Pinterest for thousands of adorable and affordable DIY decoration ideas, and check out craft stores like Joann where you can find tons of opportunities for DIY decorations, not to mention that if you look online you’re sure to find coupons and promotions to give your budget some breathing room.
Hire a Caterer and a Bartender
Do not take on the catering for your own wedding. This is a recipe for disaster. Look to hiring a caterer, who will handle not only the preparation of the food, but also the serving and clean up. And don’t allow your guests to help themselves to the bar. This could get messy in many ways. Let a bartender or two serve up those cocktails. And even if you limit beverage options, having someone monitor what’s going out can make a difference in how much your spending. Alcohol adds up quickly.
For this event of a lifetime, don’t turn to a friend for your wedding day photographs. Allow an experienced photographer to capture important moments for you. Look into your personal network to see who knows an experienced photographer or find an independent photographer with the right background. If you’re flexible with time of day, hours needed and opt for a package, you’re sure to find the right person to help document your big day.
Hire a Day of Coordinator
For the day of the wedding, consider hiring a day of coordinator, who can take care of all the logistics of your wedding day, leaving you with little to worry about. He or she will be in touch with all of your vendors, make sure everyone knows what to do and when and will basically run the show so that you can focus on getting ready and enjoying your wedding.
If you are a control freak, you might relish in the idea of a DIY backyard wedding. But doing everything yourself can be very stressful; know where to draw the line. Take care of things like invitations and decorations yourself, but hire caterers, bartenders, a photographer, and a coordinator. You will want to feel relaxed in the weeks leading up to your wedding, and you will want to enjoy the party with your beloved and your guests. By striking the right balance, your backyard wedding will be as beautiful and enjoyable as any other!