Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Photo Credit: Inka Originals
"Let's just throw a backyard wedding!" they said. "It'll be so much fun, easier, and cost-effective!" they said!"
UGH...So I've seen this time and time again...Couples who say they are hosting a backyard wedding sans a Wedding Designer & Professional Planner or even worse...Couples who hire a Wedding Planner only to then not heed their tips, suggestions, precautionary advice, & overall expertise. I know this cause I’ve totally been THAT Professional Wedding Planner whose advice was completely disregarded, but we’ll leave that story for another time. Just know that us Wedding Planners now include clauses to protect themselves and of course my company Mariage Blanc Designs is no different. I do this to avoid me from telling my clients…I told you so!!!
The whole world has completely shifted gears with regards to all things as a result of the onset of the global pandemic. It is quite obvious that the wedding industry has been one of the several industries that has been hit the hardest. As a result of this, many couples have opted to host their weddings in their backyards or permitted outdoor areas, in an attempt to strengthen precautionary measures with regards to spreading Covid-19, which I think has been a great Plan B! But if you’re one of those couples contemplating on hosting a backyard or outdoor wedding in general, please do yourself a favor, and consider these tips from yours truly, so that YOU don’t end up being the couple that says “Should-ah…Could-ah...Would-ah!”
1.) Sometimes it IS Better to Go Where the Grass is Greener....
Ok so before you get philosophically defensive (Lol), hear me out and let me explain...One BIG mistake I see many couples do when hosting a backyard wedding is not taking proper steps to get their lawn maintenance situated. Many times, couples view the outdoor space during fall & winter months and believe it'll just magically "look pretty" when spring or summer rolls around. Unfortunately, that isn't quite how mother nature works. Sometimes spring shows up a little later than expected and even when flowers begin to bud, the space leaves a LOT to be desired. Hence why "spring cleaning" is such a necessary big deal! Therefore, take the initiative to set aside a budget for lawn maintenance, so that additional flowers & shrubs can be planted to elevate the space's aesthetic. You'd be surprised at how much a little TLC can go a very long way with an outdoor space. Now, for the scenario where you have a family member or a friend offering their backyard space to host your wedding, it is especially a nice gesture to cover the costs for lawn maintenance. It shows gratitude for their willingness to assist you with a big part of your wedding day. Obviously, with state parks and public spaces, it'll be a entirely different set of rules & policies.
2.) License & Registration Please...
Speaking of state parks and public spaces...If you're considering renting out one of these, then please understand that it brings forth a whole influx of variables to consider. One of which is needing a permit. Take it from me, and do the research early on and apply for your permit ASAP. Many couples make the mistake of assuming that it'll be an easy-breezy-1-2-3 process, and then they find themselves still lacking an official permit a week out prior to the wedding. Not only is it important to obtain a permit and pay any applicable fees, but it is also imperative to adhere to the state rules and policies for the space you're utilizing. This means that if they say NO to more than 75 guests, then you can't sneak in 100 guests. If they say no to limos or ANY commercial vehicles then they mean NO! Take it from me, and do your due diligence, to not only learn the rules, but to also adhere to them. Don't be like one of my first brides ever who had to walk down the STEEPEST hill along with her ENTIRE bridal party because the state park prohibited limos or any commercial vehicles of any kind. Yeah that was NO FUN and she was NOT a happy bride. This was when I offered Day-of-Coordination. Typically, couples who book these kind-of packages do majority of the "wedding planning" work on their own and then when situations like this go awry, then the Wedding Planner is usually the scapegoat (at least in their eyes), when I literally was their to light the candles and cue the bridal party down the aisle (go figure!). Anyways, luckily, I learned my lesson early on and no longer offer Day-of-Coordination packages for this very reason of not being privy to any vendor contracts, rules, regulations & more. With Mariage Blanc Designs' all-inclusive packages, we're kept in the loop during the entire wedding planning process so that we have ample time to review contracts and prevent mishaps like this from occurring.
3.) You're Buggin Me!!!
Ugh bugs!!! I for one, detest them! Listen, while you manage your lawn maintenance, do yourselves, your guests, and ALL your vendors a huge favor, and make sure to add on the pestilence prevention service to your lawn maintenance agreement. I can't stress this enough. Your guests are coming to your wedding to celebrate you and your love, and to ultimately have a good time. Your vendors are there to carry out their contractual duties. No where in this description does it say or prepare you for getting MAULED BY MOSQUITOS! (Haha) I can laugh now, but I got over 50 mosquito bites at one of the backyard weddings I facilitated and it was NOT funny then for me nor anyone else. Please do the right thing and take care of those pesky critters!
4.) Rain...Rain...Go Away...Please Come Back Another Day!
I'm a realist, and the reality is that I live in the northeast where 7 outta 10 times, I'm betting on rain. As lovely as it to see my couples be overly optimistic with regards to the "it won't rain" bit, it is my job to bring them back to reality. Not to rain on anyone's parade (no pun intended), but unless you're in San Diego, California, then you should definitely take extra precautionary measures to make sure you're covered (again, no pun intended Lol) in the case of rain. So listen carefully, RENT A TENT. Even if you run the chance of not using it. We can then always rent it on standby (aka on an "as needed" basis). This basically means that you'll pay a fee for reserving the date of potential usage, and only pay the whole rental fee if you end up actually using it. This clause is required in all my outdoor event contracts. After all, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
5.) Bathroom Blues
What happens when your friend lends you their backyard to host your wedding and now 50 guests wanna use their bathroom...?? Uh yeah...no one wants that! One thing many couples fail to consider is guests tracking in dirt & mud into the house or even worse, those gross icky public restrooms that come with public spaces (Hey...We all know the type). Here's a tip...Rent a restroom trailer, and no I'm not talking about your average port-a-potty (although you can certainly use that as well if you desire, however I advise against it). I'm talking about an actual restroom in a trailer. They make 'em so nice that once you're inside you'll forget that you're even in a trailer!
6.) Lights Out!
Guys...guys...guys. I ALWAYS warn my couples that it is best to hire emergency contractors, like Electricians and Plumbers, on standby. The average house is equipped to sustain a certain amount of voltage for one household, NOT a whole wedding! Usually, couples brush this off and you've guessed it...I've witnessed lights go out more than once! There is only so much voltage an electrical box will sustain, when it's generating so much power. Luckily for me, I was able to pull though in both scenarios because well the whole Wedding Planner being the "scapegoat" thing again. But needless to say, I've strengthened this clause in my contract and I have my couple sign a waiver for all outdoor events, to make sure that we are not held liable for the couple's decision to decline emergency contractors.
7.) Not Hiring an Event Designer or Wedding Planner
I'll keep this one short and sweet. Everyone thinks its so easy to plan a wedding until they actually start the process and you're a week out with a ton left to do. Not only is it not so easy, but without someone managing the day's activities, you're throwing so much caution to the wind and leaving way too much room for error. Take it from a seasoned vet. Hire a Professional Wedding Planner. Better yet, hire someone who will execute your vision and coordinate the festivities. Mariage Blanc Designs provides all-inclusive packages that facilitate both. Don't say that I didn't warn you. After all, peace of mind is priceless!