by guest blogger Kacey Bradley of The Drifter Collective
Whether you're returning to your childhood home to walk down the aisle or opening your home for a pair of lovebirds, a backyard wedding is a unique occasion that comes with responsibilities. Backyard weddings are a personal and fun way to exchange vows, but you need to consider a few extra things to host the outdoor celebration. Here are six things to remember when planning a backyard wedding.
1. Legal Requirements
One vital consideration many people don't know is that backyard weddings require a permit under certain conditions. When the wedding guest list is extensive, or you're going to provide porta-potties, you may need a permit. Avoid a visit from the police due to a noise disturbance during the celebration by contacting the proper authorities first.
Contact your county or city government to get a limited special occasion permit. There may be regulations for parking, zoning and fire safety that they'll update you on. You also might need to talk to your local health department.
2. Sufficient Power Source
Weddings take lots of planning and logistics when it comes to decorating, making guests happy and providing conveniences. Lights, the DJ or band's equipment, technology and sound equipment all need to be plugged in, which means you'll need a power source. The catering staff or food vendors probably need power to prepare and store their creations, too.
Use a generator for the special day, so you don't risk compromising the main house's power or even the whole block's. If your original plan to provide power fails, you'll need a backup source.
People can file noise complaints against their neighbors for many reasons — from disturbing airport noise to turning up the TV too loudly. To prevent disturbing neighbors with unexpected noise or parking that blocks their car in, warn the neighborhood about the event. If you're upfront about how long the wedding and celebration will last, you can keep neighbors happy. Inform them where people will be parking, what hour people will start to arrive and how many people will be attending.
Whether neighbors decide to avoid the event by going out of town or choosing to stay indoors, their experience will be more convenient. Also, if the neighbors tend to be noisy, you can politely ask them to refrain from playing any loud music or having a party on the same day.
4. Yard Maintenance
Backyard weddings are a natural and intimate setting, but you'll need to manicure the yard for a satisfactory backdrop on the special day. Make sure to get landscaping work completed a few weeks or days before the celebration so it will be easier to set up the tent, tables, chairs, photo booth and dance floor.
Summer and spring weddings also need constant yard upkeep to feature a backyard extravaganza, because flowers need to be cultivated to bloom. For a warm-season wedding, prevent bugs from swarming your backyard, so your guests aren't swatting the air during the vows.
The average driver spends approximately 17 hours each year searching for parking spots — don't let your backyard wedding be another source of parking troubles. Help the guests find their parking spots around the backyard venue. Your area may require you to obtain a parking permit, too.
For neighborhoods with street parking, check the laws and restrictions. Make sure your guests can leave their vehicles during the hours of the wedding. If the backyard is large, you may be able to rope off an area and put up signs to show guests where to leave their cars.
6. Backup Plan
Outdoor weddings involve risk because weather forecasts are often wrong. Backyard weddings can also be challenging because stormy weather can push people indoors, and your house may not be able to comfortably hold all the guests. A tent can save the day if it starts to rain.
Don't dwell on what could go wrong but do plan for the worst. Whatever happens, make sure the wedding can still proceed successfully, despite the weather conditions or any hiccups.
Throw a Successful Backyard Wedding
Backyard weddings can be an affordable and lovely setting, but there are a few things you'll have to plan before the big day to make sure the event runs smoothly. Once you've checked off your to-do list, enjoy the celebration you've organized.
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Ruffled, and more!