How to Decorate for Backyard Weddings

Discover how to decorate for a backyard wedding, and you'll open your options for hosting a beautiful wedding at home. Wedding party decorations for an outdoor wedding should be simple, complementing the natural landscape of your location. One of the great advantages of an outdoor wedding is that you can define the space, so you won't find yourself as limited as you might be with church decorating ideas.

Create Areas
You will want to define your ceremony and reception areas; separating them is a good idea. You can use some simple white fencing from a home improvement store, or define the areas with broad ribbon tied between potted trees. However you decide to define your wedding areas, it will enhance and organize your space. Doing this will make your guests feel comfortable, because they will always know where to be.  

Know the Challenges
For a backyard wedding, you will need tables, chairs, linens, place settings, glasses, silverware and dishes for all guests. You will likely want them to match, so it may be advisable to rent what you need. Some caterers will provide place settings as part of their package.

You will need seating for the ceremony and also the reception, ample parking and adequate restroom facilities. Rent folding chairs for the ceremony; if you're on a tight budget, these chairs can do double duty as seating for the reception, as long as you have enough time to move them. It's a good idea to hire valet service to deal with parking if you have a large guest list or in places where parking is tight.

Weather will be a problem, even if it's a beautiful day. You need to make sure that the area is dry and free of mud, so that guests don't ruin their best shoes. If there's even the slightest chance of rain, be sure to rent a tent. Use an open-sided tent in warm weather and a closed tent with heaters if the temperature could get chilly.

Even a sunny day can be an enemy, because your guests may find themselves blinded by sunlight during the ceremony or the reception. About a week before the wedding, survey the area at the exact time of day you'll be getting married. Note where the sun is in the sky, and make sure it won't be behind the bride and groom during the ceremony, or in your guests' eyes during the reception.

Decorations for an outdoor wedding should allow the landscape to take center stage. A few simple enhancements are all that's needed. Pastels, whites and a simple color scheme are far better than bright colors that would take attention from the natural beauty of the landscape. Tables and chairs draped in white cloth tied with a single-color ribbon can provide an elegant and understated decoration.

You may wish to have a wedding arch to frame the ceremony. This can be decorated with a trellis of vines, flowers or pastel balloons. Flowers can also be placed in large vases atop pedestals or hung from shepherd's hooks.

Other Details

  • Be sure that the landscape has been well tended and prepared. Check that the house is very clean inside, since guests will come through to use the restrooms. Stock the restrooms with plenty of fancy soap, towels and necessities.
  • Remove valuables to a safe place, and designate a spot for wedding gifts.
  • Let neighbors know ahead of time that there will be a wedding at your house. They may offer their driveways for extra parking, and they may keep their pets indoors if needed or otherwise be accommodating.
  • Unless you have a huge yard, a backyard wedding usually accommodates a smaller guest list.
  • If neighbors live close by, be respectful of their yards and keep the noise down, particularly after 10 PM.
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