AMERICAN WEDDINGS BLOG

Published: Tuesday, Jun. 2nd, 2020

Tags: wedding-ceremony-ideas, micro-weddings, backyard-weddings

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Can’t book a wedding venue? Consider a micro-wedding, or backyard wedding ceremony instead!

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Between the couples just starting to plan their weddings, and the ones scrambling to reschedule theirs - folks are telling us that venues are already booking dates well into 2021!

 

Whether you had to cancel your wedding plans due to the coronavirus or you’ve just gotten engaged recently, instead of postponing your celebration a year, why not consider hosting a smaller, backyard wedding?

 

With proper planning, backyard -- or, micro-weddings -- can still capture the magic of the wedding day without sacrificing any of the tradition or prestige. Plus, they’re quick to plan, budget-friendly, and create a feeling of intimacy that is hard to create in a traditional wedding venue.
 
We’ve got some tips that will guarantee your at-home wedding is as special as you always imagined your big day would be -- and so much fun, your guests will want to have their own backyard wedding bashes.

 

Step 1: Consider a Wedding Planner

If you’re planning the wedding yourself, you can utilize resources like the Knot’s wedding vendor database which will help you outsource as many tasks as possible. But consider hiring a wedding or party planner, who can hook you up with equipment/furniture movers, clean up crews, bar tenders, wait staff, DJs, etc. If you have the room in your budget, you won’t regret making the investment.

 

Step 2: Choose and Map Out the Property

If your home isn’t large enough for your desired guest list, your parents’ house, your close friends or even a local

 

Airbnb may be open to letting you host your celebration on their property. Once you’re settled on your location, the first thing you should do is gain an understanding of how many people you can feasibly host. 

 

 

You can talk to a rental company or event planner to help you figure it out. They will be able to tell you how much space you will need for tables and chairs for the ceremony and reception and have suggestions to help you make the most of your space. And if the property turns out to be too small to host your initial guest list, you now have a convenient excuse not to invite all the family friends or coworkers that you were only going to invite out of obligation. (Thanks, Corona!)
 
You should also spend some time thinking about how you can utilize all the features of the property. Breaking the different parts of the ceremony and reception into different areas, e.g. a ceremony in the garden followed by cocktails on the patio, can help make your special day feel more like an event rather than just a regular Sunday afternoon at mom’s.

Step 3: Choose a Theme

Just because you’re hosting your wedding at home doesn’t mean your theme has to be “backyard barbeque” -- unless, of course, that’s your style. (Who doesn’t love a good kegger?)
 
But if you’ve always pictured having a formal or otherwise uniquely-themed wedding, no need to sacrifice your vision. You can still have the wedding you’ve always dreamed of -- be it black-tie, laid-back bohemian, or cosplay themed (in which case, you’ll want to refer to our cosplay wedding guides.)

 

 
Settling on a theme and color scheme will also serve as a guidepost to choose your decor and help make the whole atmosphere feel more coordinated and official.

 

Step 4: Planning the Big Day

The Pinterest world will inspire you to DIY everything from your lighting to your floral arrangements. While handcrafting one or two elements in your wedding can be a fun way to add some flare, you also don’t want to overtax yourself with projects. And since you’re saving on the venue (which is usually one of the biggest costs in any wedding budget), why not spend a little extra on the extras?!
 

  • If your outdoor space is large and flat enough, consider renting a tent and even some space heaters. If you end up with inclement weather on your big day, you’ll be grateful you can keep the party going outside. But even if it’s a sunny day, having a tent also provides you with shade from the sun and shelter from wind, gives you some added privacy, and provides more decorative lighting opportunities.
     
  • Speaking of lighting, this is an area where you should go all out. String lights and lanterns are what transform any run-of-the-mill backyard party into a magical, exclusive-feeling event. So string up your trees, your bushes, your deck, your tent and anything else that looks like it could benefit from a dash of ambiance.
     
  • Spend a couple extra hundred dollars on a dance floor rental! Cutting the rug is an essential ritual at any wedding, but you don’t want your guests literally cutting the rug (that is, the lawn) and end up having to hire landscapers to perform reconstructive surgery on the backyard. Plus, your guests in heels will thank you.
     
  • If your space is big enough, you can even hire a live band. Everyone loves live music. And you’ll feel like such a mentsh for giving local musicians a gig during this time of economic crisis.
     
  • Get playful! A backyard wedding is the perfect setting to host games and entertainment like croquet, shuffleboard, corhhole, or even giant chess. Guests will stay entertained while you’re off with your photographer or while they’re taking a break from tearing up the dancefloor. 

 

It's All in the Details

Now that we’ve talked about some of the bigger features of your wedding, let’s not neglect the smaller details, which will pull everything together.
 
Getting ready with your friends and loved ones is one of the most special parts of your wedding. As you get your hair and make up done or suit up with the guys, it will be all the more special in a space that’s customized. So, if you have the room, set up bridal and grooms suites in the house’s bedrooms to set the mood.
 
Take a trip to a budget friendly home goods store like Marshalls or HomeGoods and raid the decoration aisles for accessories and accents that will level up the rooms like mirrored jewelry trays, fancy candles, seasonal pillows, and whatever other goodies that pop out at you that go with your color scheme or theme. Supply the rooms with champagne on ice (or Fireball, no judgement), bouquets of flowers and hors devours. Push the bed up against the wall and style it into a beautiful day bed!

 

 
Setting up a bar space and hiring a legit bartender will also make your wedding feel like a formal affair, if that’s the vibe you’re going for. Talk to your caterer or use a website like The Knot to find a local bartender or two for hire in your area and ask them about what items you should supply for them, e.g. spirits, fruit, glassware, etc.
 
And don’t forget the bathrooms! You can load them up with extravagant touches like flowers, framed photos, candles, perfume, cologne, as well as mouthwash, floss and whatever adorably sized toiletries you can find in your grocery stores travel aisle. How kitschy and convenient!

 

Ending the night with an epic send-off is the cherry on top of any wedding. Make sure there are no cars blocking the front of the house to guarantee a seamless exit. (You may want to encourage your guests to take shared Lyfts or Ubers for good measure.) Then, you can pass out sparklers, eco-friendy confetti, ribbon wands, or bubbles for your guests to use while they cheer you into the next chapter of your life!

GET ORDAINED
WITH AMM

Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!