11 ideas for planning your backyard wedding day here in NorthCarolina

November 01, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

 

 

If you’re considering hosting your wedding and/or reception in your very own backyard, I’ve got some great ideas for you to help make sure that your wedding day goes as smoothly as possible!

 

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1. Plan ahead.  A Backyard weddings are a great way to save money on a venue space, although you’ll need to keep in mind that you’ll need to consider many things before you can commit to this idea.  A first question to ask yourself is:  Do you or someone that you know have a backyard big enough and attractive enough for your wedding?  To answer this, you must think about the number of people on your guest list and about what type of wedding reception you would like to have.

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Do you picture having a plated dinner or a buffet?  Hors-d'oeuvres and cocktail bar or grilled NC BBQ food?  Will you also be hosting your wedding ceremony in the backyard, or just the reception party?  You may need even more space if you’re hosting both. 

Pro Tip:  Talk to a local NC rental company or a catering company—yes, they can help answer those questions!—before you make this decision.  They will know how much space you will need to set up tables, booths and a dance floor to accommodate your guest count, and will likely suggest different catering options that best meet your visions and your yard’s space constraints.

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Pro tip number 2: Ask yourself, where would I like to go to have my family and couples formal wedding portraits captured? Is there a pretty spot somewhere on my property that will look great as a surrounding backdrop in these photos?

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Maybe you could even scout out the neighborhood for a pretty spot to take your couples wedding portraits nearby if your yard isn’t the ideal place to do this.

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2. Beautify your space.   If you have at least 7-9 weeks’ of time before your wedding day, you should also be ready to spruce up the backyard.  If you’re hosting a backyard wedding in the summer, awesome!  Nature can take care of most of your décor costs—although you may have to help it along.  Plant your gardens this autumn with your spring or summer event design and layout in mind. It might be difficult, though, to get your gardening in order without knowing where everything will go, so take the time to map out your backyard space on paper first before breaking ground for planting. Another good option is to head out to your local gardening center this spring to purchase mature plants that can be planted than so that you can build up your natural backdrop all at once if the season permits.

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Pro tip: Get your get ready room ready! Double check to see if you have designated enough space in your home for you and your wedding party to get dressed in too! Think about what rooms will look best in your wedding photos to come during the photographing of the “get ready time” and spruce them up so that they will look awesome on your wedding day. As a bonus, If your getting married at your parent's house and you’d like to get ready in your childhood room, make sure that this space is tidy and uncluttered. No doubt your Mom will be happy to help you do this for you ahead of time! 

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3. It’s your story, give it a theme.  No matter if you’re looking for a romantically rustic backyard wedding or an elaborate, elegant wedding design, your theme will drive most of your aesthetic decisions going forward.  Sophisticated country?  Vintage?   Whimsically offbeat?  Every theme idea comes with different flowers, photo frames, centerpieces, chairs, linens, catering choices and more. Hit the interwebs for inspiration and save photos of the kinds of wedding day themes that you love the best and try to emulate these ideas when shopping for your own wedding decor. That being said, don’t get trapped by buying the idea that what is trending at the moment is what you need to do with your wedding decor, rather decorate your wedding day in a manner that will bring you the most joy! After all, it’s your wedding day and when it’s all said and done your wedding photos should be a reflection of the love you and your fiancé share so personalize your wedding decor in a manner that will really reflect this sentiment best. 

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4. Tent it up.  This is a big one! I strongly recommend that you rent an event tent!  Not only will this come in handy should there be a little inclement weather on the day of your wedding  (which is totally possible if your getting married here in North Carolina in the spring or summer) , but it also provides you and your guests with much needed shelter from things as simple as too much sun or a light breeze (think of your delicate decorations on the tables…those centerpieces and vases, you don’t definitely want them to tip, break or blow away!), as an added bonus a tent gives you privacy and even adds towards your decorating opportunities if you choose to hand a string of lights or a chandelier off of the ceiling. 

As a wedding photographer, there is nothing better to photograph under at night than an outdoor event tent. I am able to bounce the light of my cameras flash off of the walls and ceiling of the tent and reflect that light off of my subjects in a most pleasing manner. Your reception photos will be all the better for it!

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5. A Dance floor is a do.  What’s a backyard wedding reception without a dance floor?  Lots of holes in the grass, that’s what. This may be a fine idea if your trying to aerate your lawn but that's probably not why you are choosing to get married in a backyard lol!

Be kind to all those women in high heels and those poor blades of grass growing in the danger zone, and rent a dance floor for you and your guests to use in lieu of just a grassy area or even a patio or deck.  You’ll be able to get down in style and your guests will thank you for it later.

 

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6. Light it up and let it shine.  A huge perk of a backyard wedding is that you can light up your space with as many (or as few) beautiful strands of lights as you could possibly want—and you can begin the stringing as early as you need to since no one else is renting your event space. I suggest stringing lights throughout the ceiling of the tent and then wrapping them around trees.  Think that you’ve finished stringing lights? Consider hanging or placing, even more, lights, Chinese lanterns, and candles on chairs, tables, trees and other types of natural shrubbery.  String the lights from the shed to your house or from the tent to your house. Wedding lighting is worth the upgrade almost every time when it comes to wedding photos too. One can never go wrong with using lights to add to that twinkle in the eyes quality to wedding photos!

 :)

7. Rent, not buy.  Rent your tables and chairs from a rental company—or through your catering team, who will either rent the equipment themselves or know with whom you should speak for the best styles for your budget.  When you rent your equipment, you won’t have to worry about the setup or take-down.  You just show up, sign on the dotted line and the entire reception will be constructed for you. After all, once your wedding day is over, you don’t want to have to put everything away and clean up do ya? It’s your wedding night and I’m pretty sure there is something far better that you’d much rather spend your time doing that evening, lol!

HOT tip: It is well worth considering is the temperature of the time of year that your wedding will take place.  Are you hosting your wedding on the hottest day of the year?  Consider renting equipment that will help cool down your guests so that no one gets too hot and uncomfortable. Plus no one looks good sweating in their wedding photos. If you’re hosting a late fall backyard wedding and the evenings are known to cool down, there are plenty of attractive looking heater options you can also rent from your rental company.  Temperature controlling equipment is always a good idea.

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8. Don’t forget your furry best friends.

If you want to include your dog in your backyard wedding then it’s best to make sure that he or she has enough water to drink and a secure location to be just in case your yard is not fenced in.  Your four-legged pal may even appreciate a crate with a soft bed inside to cop a nap later in a quiet room inside your house. If your pup or cat isn’t the party animal type then perhaps you can schedule a drop off at the local doggy daycare or boarding facility for one night. 

Maybe your backyard wedding is actually taking place on your farm? Consider the temperaments of your animals and put up signs along the fence lines indicating whether your horse, cow, sheep, geese or goats are safe to pet or inclined to bite. Don’t forget to mark all fence lines with electric fences with paper signs warning your guests and their children not to touch the wire or better yet, consider turning off the electrical current just for this one afternoon and evening. Haha, for what it is worth my vote is to turn off the fence to best avoid a shocking situation!

 

9. Separate the space to serve different needs. If you’ve got a bit of substantial space to work with, consider creating different “areas” or zones throughout your backyard.  For example, you could incorporate a casual seating area away from the dance floor and tables that provides your guests a little bit of intimacy. Maybe designate a hookah bar space or an ice cream social area.

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10. Get your Game on.  One of the joys of planning an outdoor wedding is that you get to host games and entertainment your way.  Set up a couple of lawn bag or cricket games.  Guests can play while they wait for you to finish your photos or while they have a cocktail.  Set up a Texas Hold ‘Em poker table or even a giant Jenga tower. As long as the sun is still out and the music’s not dance-material, your guests ( and their kids) will be looking for something to do.

 

Tip time: take a look at your guest list and make note of how many children will be at your reception.  Consider a small children’s tent or game area.  Backyards without fences might lead to wandering children, but the more occupied they are by fun and games, the less likely they’ll be to wander into trouble.

11. Never forget.  Come up with creative ways to remember your wedding day.  The obvious thing to do is to hire a wedding photographer, which since I happen to be an actual wedding photographer I think that this is a must-do, haha! Another good idea is to place disposable film cameras on every table and let your guests have some fun capturing your day from their perspective. Also consider hiring a videographer, renting a photo booth, setting up a photo or video guest book and more. The bottom line here is to document as much of your day as you can. 

 

I hope that you think these backyard wedding ideas are useful!  Even more useful, though, might be our biggest backyard wedding planning tips.  For your reference, I have laid out our biggest tips from within each backyard wedding idea right here below:

 

  • Tell your catering or rental company your guest count and ask them to visit the site before you decide your yard is big enough for your ceremony and/or reception.
  • Talk to your vendors before you plan your garden so that you can incorporate this year’s design into the event’s layout.
  • Rent a tent!
  • Get yourself a real dance floor.  Decks and patios aren’t stable or comfortable enough.
  • You will never regret the setup and teardown help of a respectable rental company.
  • Rent equipment to cool down or heat up your outdoor area.
  •   Hire a professional wedding photographer to make sure that your day is captured for all time.

 

 

Check out these photos below that highlight some of my favorite backyard weddings that I have photographed here in North Carolina and let me if you have any additional tips to give to brides to help them plan their North Carolina backyard weddings in the comments section.

You can also view my North Carolina backyard wedding photography gallery by clicking HERE


 

 

I hope this information was useful to you! If you have any questions about planning your backyard wedding photo strategy please don't hesitate to contact me  at any time. I am always happy to discuss your plans.

 

Investment information regarding Silvercord Event Photography's Raleigh engagement and wedding photography price and service packages may be found here.


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