Safety Considerations: Planning a Backyard Wedding
Everything you need to take into account when planning your backyard nuptials.
A backyard wedding is perfect for those looking to have an intimate ceremony. From walking down the makeshift aisle to the first dance under the twinkling stars, a backyard wedding has a certain charm that most venues just can’t replicate. Not to mention, if you get married in your own backyard, you’ll have the memories that last a lifetime.
Outdoor weddings can range from simple to ultra-glam, but even small wedding ideas still require a lot of planning – from decor to the safety of your guests, there’s quite a bit to think about. Keep reading for everything you’ll need to take into consideration when planning your backyard nuptials!
Convert your backyard
Using your backyard means you can avoid the cost of renting a venue, but you’ll need to consider a few things before committing. Ask yourself:
- Is my backyard big enough?
- Will it host the just ceremony, or an outdoor wedding reception, too?
- Will we serve plated dinners or a buffet-style meal?
Always consider space during each step of the planning process. The size of your backyard will dictate how elaborate your celebrations can be.
Take advantage of nature
Your backyard wedding will likely happen during the warmer months, so you can rely on nature for some decor. Take advantage of nearby trees, flower beds and simple stone walkways. If you want to add a burst of colour, plant some annuals ahead of time with your wedding theme in mind. Give yourself ample time – at least 8 weeks – to prepare the backyard.
Decide on a theme
Whether you prefer vintage whimsical or farmhouse chic, you and your partner will have to settle on a theme. From centrepieces to table linens, this theme will drive most of your aesthetic decisions.
You don’t need a huge team of professionals to pull off a backyard wedding. Many things can be handled in DIY-fashion, saving you tons of money. For example:
- Illuminate the yard with inexpensive string lights (commonly sold at home improvement stores)
- Carve out a ‘mingling’ area by pairing wicker accents for a classy summertime vibe
- Create an outdoor bar with a wooden table (decorated with leafy branches!) for rustic, old-world charm
- Make an elegant ceremony backdrop using ribbon and wax paper
Rent it, and tent it
Get tables and chairs through an event rental company, or ask your catering team for recommendations. The good thing about renting equipment is that you don’t need to worry about setting up or tearing down – the rental company typically does that for you.
Many wedding experts also advise on renting a tent. Not only will this shelter your guests from rain, but also from too much sunlight or even a bit of breeze. If you’re renting electronic equipment, most companies will charge a penalty for damages. A tent will help protect these valuables, too.
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Consider guest safety
Despite all the planning, some accidents are just beyond your control. When you have people packed into a tight space (and with alcohol in the mix), it’s important to have your bases covered.
Check for permits
The big restrictions to look out for usually involve parking, noise, liquor and fire. Ask your local municipality if you need special permits to host a wedding in your yard. If you do, it’s key to get the ball rolling on these permits and approvals sooner rather than later.
Calculate maximum capacity
Before finalizing the guest list, check how many people your backyard can safely accommodate. According to event experts, 8 square feet per person is a good rule of thumb. To get your calculation, multiply the number of guests by 8. This will give you the minimum square footage required.
Review fire safety
BBQ grills, fire pits and candles are common at backyard weddings; they’re also fire hazards. Open flames can spread quickly, especially outdoors where there may be an abundance of dry foliage. Make sure to:
- Keep all exits clear
- Avoid flammable wedding decorations
- Have a fire blanket and portable fire extinguisher easily accessible
Consider extra insurance coverage
As long as you aren’t breaking any laws, your home insurance policy will apply as normal for your event. The main parts that would come into play would be personal property coverage and third-party liability.
For peace of mind, you might want to revisit your home insurance policy before the big day to make sure you’re comfortable with the amount of personal liability coverage. Depending on your plans for cooking and entertainment, you may also want to think about upping your coverage to account for any damages that may occur.
Once you check these safety considerations off your to-do list, you can continue planning your big day, and your future with your new partner!