More and more we meet couples looking to put together a "backyard" type of wedding. Whether it be in a rented barn, field, or their actual backyard, they often think this is the easiest way to achieve their rustic wedding dreams while saving money!
I hate to break it to you, but i'm here to report that it is never as easy or cheap as you think. Don't get me wrong! I fully support this trend and they actually have become my favorite weddings to coordinate because the opportunities for personalization are endless! But with all those opportunities for details comes the task of how you actually can make them happen out of thin air. Before undertaking this massive wedding project, let me share some tips with you that save you from day-of chaos and that it has all the comforts of an existing venue.
DISCLAIMER: These tips may come off negative and as though i'm trying to persuade you not to do this. That's not the case! I just want to be honest and frank with you so that your wedding planning process is as enjoyable and seamless as possible.
Hire a Planner
I fully recommend that you hire a full-service planner to be by yourself during the whole process, but if this isn't in your budget, a day-of coordinator atleast is necessary to make this all happen. A full-service planner can help you along the way to ensure that you've thought of every logistics. Trash, power, lighting? Maybe your tent company is installing lighting so your tent looks gorgeous, but have you thought of how people will be able to see getting back to their cars? A planner can remind of these things AND make them happen. If a day-of coordinator is more your speed, just think of this, when you're sitting in the chair getting your hair and makeup done for the most special day of your life - are you going to be able to answer vendor calls looking for directions or setup your escort cards? Perhaps you may be able to, but let me promise you, you don't want to and you shouldn't! It's YOUR day.
Full Service Caterer
Full-service catering can mean many things, but mainly, make sure that you are bringing in a caterer who is going to help clean up plates, trash and clear left over food. This is not the case with all caterers, especially for these types of events, so ensure that you've talked through these details with them so your family isn't the clean-up crew at the end of the night.
Take a 360 View of Your Venue
When you're planning the floorplan and guest flow, make sure you are looking up, down and all around. What is the ground like? Will people be able to walk on it or do we need flooring? Again, lighting, will people be able to see where they are going?
Also in this category is your neighbors. Be conscious of noise and disturbances that may not go over well with your neighbors. Be sure to talk to them ahead of them (maybe even invite them!) so that nothing disrupts the party!
Prepare for Weather
This may sound obvious, but ALWAYS have a plan B. Any portion of your wedding that could be affected by rain (or even wind or cold) should be addressed and have a backup plan. Tents are great, but does your tent come with sides? If it's cold, windy and rainy, a tent overhead won't solve all your problems. It's also important to talk these through with your vendors. Entertainment such as DJs and Bands who have instruments will be very sensitive to the elements, so ensuring they feel comfortable with your plans in place will prepare you for a lot of day-of concerns.
Let it Go and Remember what Matters
Weddings in general are vulnerable to stress and obstacles, but "build your own venues" come with their own folder of challenges. The key is to remember what is important to you and being flexible to help make that happen. Do you want to have a bumping 3-hour dance party? Make sure your dancefloor is secure and your DJ is comfortable. Do you have a family of foodies? Make sure your caterer has a great workspace and everything they need to deliver a seamless experience. At the end of the day, you are marring the person you love and it is the start of an amazing next chapter. If you can focus on that, you can handle your wedding :)