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backyard wedding ideas

35 Backyard Wedding Ideas & Planning Tips

Not every couple dreams of an extravagant venue – backyard weddings can be just as lovely, romantic, and memorable. There are plenty of backyard wedding ideas that can transform your standard backyard into a dream wedding – and you can save money as well!

Check out our favorite backyard wedding ideas to get some inspiration, and then read on to learn how to plan a backyard wedding in no time! 

Host a Barbecue 


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There’s nothing like a backyard barbecue, so why not serve up some delicious grilled classics like steak, ribs, corn on the cob, and even burgers and hot dogs! This is the perfect idea for a casual backyard wedding. 

Barbecue is a crowd favorite, and even if you have vegetarian or vegan guests you can come up with creative barbecue-themed menu items for them as well. Ask Dad to fire up the grill, or talk to your caterers about a BBQ based menu!

Play Yard Games 


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No backyard wedding reception is complete without some yard games! Games like corn hole, ladder golf, outdoor Jenga, and more can give your guests some easy entertainment during the reception.

Lawn games fit perfectly with a backyard wedding, and it’s a cheap and easy way to keep the kids busy (if your wedding is kid-friendly). Have fun at your backyard wedding reception with classic games or invent your own.

Get custom wedding corn hole boards, or a decal to put on your game for the wedding day!

corn hole boards
Source: SkipsGarage

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corn hole decals
Source: OffTheWallExpression

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corn hole
Source: ShopCornhole

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Backyard Tent Wedding

tent wedding

If you want your backyard wedding ideas to work out in rain or shine, it’s wise to invest in a tent for the big day. Even on a hot summer day, a tent can be useful for providing shade and a place to cool down.

If a tent sounds less elegant, worry not! There are plenty of luxury tents that will look beautiful and add to your backyard decor. You can even get a clear tent if you want to see the sky above!

Party by the Pool

pool wedding

If you have a pool in your backyard, you have several options to work with. Turn your backyard wedding into a pool party, with swimsuits optional. If you don’t want guests in the pool, it can still make a lovely addition to the setting.

Some couples have built bridges or partial covers across their pool to make for a great photo op, or you can fill the pool with flower petals or other romantic floating displays!

Dried petal pouches are an inexpensive way to decorate your pool!

Source: SouthernEssentials

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Decorate with Dried Florals 


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Outdoor weddings mean that you are immersed in nature – why not lean into your natural setting and decorate with more dried florals! There are plenty of affordable and rustic blooms that make for great decorations for your backyard celebration.

The beauty of dried florals is that they last as well, so you can send them home as party favors for guests or use them to decorate your home as newlyweds!

Some popular options to line your aisle, tables, and more include dried flowers like pampas grass, lavender, heathers, or ammobium shown below.

pampas grass
Source: RetroRadical

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Source: NustadFamilyRanch

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Source: oldbarnstars

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Source: TheBlaithinBlairShop

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Use Dessert as Decor

dessert table

The dessert table is a sight to see, so go all out and use it as a part of your outdoor decorations! You can set up your dessert table with the wedding cake as a centerpiece and match all of your other desserts in color and style.

Use cake stands and other displays to show off all of your desserts – guests won’t want to wait until after dinner for their sweets!

There are plenty of rustic cake stands, cupcake stands, and other dessert holders to dress up your dessert table online!

wooden cupcake stands
Source: VintageBlooming

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dessert stands
Source: D3WoodDesigns

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donut stand
Source: PerryhillRustics

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wedding cake stand
Source: Primitiveweddings

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Create a Wedding Arch

wedding arch

For a backyard wedding ceremony, create your own wedding arch to get married under! An arch will make for a beautiful ceremony and great pictures framing your nuptials.

For an outdoor wedding, consider an arch made of wood, lush greenery, branches, flowers, cloth, and more. You can also buy pre-made arches that fit your style! 

Check out some beautiful pre-made wedding arches to fit in your backyard!

copper wedding arch
Source: ForeverTogetherDecor

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wedding hexagon
Source: NashvilleWoodworkz

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circle wedding arch
Source: ArchFlowerDesigns

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Add String Lights

string lights

Nothing says backyard wedding ideas quite like string lights. String lights can add a romantic glow to the night, plus they’ll keep your backyard wedding reception perfectly lit once the sun goes down. You can string lights around your tent, around trees or between them, or in rows across your backyard to light up the whole event.

Choose from lights of all sizes – whether you want large, Edison bulbs, or small fairy lights, these are sure to add a magical touch to your wedding. Check out our favorites below! 

fairy lights
Source: OneStepTimers

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string lights
Source: PurrIsPlace

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edison bulbs
Source: HeAsked

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Highlight Wooden Accents

wooden accents

For outdoor weddings, wooden accents make a lovely, natural decor. If wood fits in with your theme and color scheme, consider adding plenty of natural wood accents!

Use wooden cake stands, wooden displays, stumps to hold flower displays, and more. You could also use wooden outdoor furniture for seating at your outdoor wedding reception.

Search on creator sites like Etsy for more wooden decor like these products:

wooden easel
Source: TheDreamWeddingShop

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wooden table numbers
Source: AshJoyArt

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wooden cake stand
Source: WoodAndWeddingSupply

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Add Outdoor Drink Stations 

drink cart

One of our favorite outdoor wedding ideas are creative drink stations for cocktail hour! You can find a wide variety of drink receptacles that fit your theme. Use wheelbarrows, wooden crates, whiskey barrels, or anything else you can come up with! You can also find rustic bar carts that will fit in great. 

Fill everything with ice and bottled beverages, or even set up stations with bartenders. If you don’t want to hire a bartender, you could also make pre-mixed cocktails in big drink dispensers. 

drink dispenser
Source: VisionWoodwerx

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wine box
Source: WineNookShop

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copper drink dispenser
Source: mycoppercup

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Set Up Photo Opportunities 


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There doesn’t have to be only one photo station – set up your whole backyard so that every corner and nook is the perfect backdrop for photos! You can hang string lights from trees, set up a photo wall with props, hang streamers, add flowers, and more.

Make your entire backyard picture perfect and your photos will look amazing with outdoor backdrop ideas!

Break Out Picnic Tables


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While you can make your backyard wedding as formal as you want, it’s also fine to keep things a bit more casual at an at-home wedding venue! For a rustic wedding look in an outdoor space, picnic tables are perfect!

Break out the picnic tables for seating – they’re cheap and easy to set up, and they’ll add to the rustic environment. Provide seat cushions or line seats or benches with blankets so that guests are comfortable. 

Create a Grand Entrance


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A post shared by Janina Malčauskaitė (@jmdekoras_ir_floristika) on

In a traditional wedding venue, the bride makes a grand entrance before she comes down the aisle. This can be hard to recreate in the openness of a backyard, but not if you’re creative! If you don’t have an entrance planned, you can create a grand entrance with various techniques. 

Create doors for the bride to enter through by using strings of flowers, cloth, or even actual doors! You can find old doors at salvage yards or even some thrift shops. Set them up in your backyard and they’ll make a great backdrop for photos as well as a grand entrance for the bride. 

Make Photo Displays 


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Display photos from your relationship or your favorite family photos around the venue! You can set up tables with picture frames, or you can get more creative with your outdoor setting.

Hang frames from trees, or hang polaroids directly around the trees themselves with string lights. You can also use framed wire grids to hang photos, or even use old window panes!

wire frame
Source: EllieEclecticShop

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photo display
Source: SingerAndBabe

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picture display
Source: designstylebymarci

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Hang Decor from Trees 

tree decor

Aside from just pictures, you can hang other outdoor decorations from trees as well! Hang jars with candles or flowers, or create a hanging display of empty wine bottles. You can also hang lanterns, or other rustic decorations.

One of the backyard wedding ideas we love most is hanging family photos as well! If you’re getting married at a family home, grab photos of loved ones to add a personal touch and celebrate two families coming together.

Create a Dance Floor


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Just because you’re having a backyard wedding doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a dance floor! Research other outdoor weddings to find inspiration for a makeshift dance floor out on the grass. You could use wooden palettes to create a base, or seek out other flat surfaces to dance on. 

Add Fire Pits 

wedding bonfire

Once it gets dark, light up some bonfires! Guests can gather around them in small groups for an intimate end of the night, and they’ll keep everyone warm and cozy. You can even set them up as s’mores stations for a late night snack! 

Add a cute s’mores station or a sign to show guests where to grab their marshmallows!

smores station
Source: HoneyWestDesigns

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smores tray
Source: LostElmConcepts

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smores sign
Source: RusticDesignByKatie

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Bring in a Food Truck 


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If you have a big enough backyard, consider bringing in a food truck! Food truck weddings are a popular new trend for food service. Bring in one or several so that guests can try a variety of foods. Your food truck could be your main meal, or it could act as an extra snack for guests. 

It can be difficult to rent food trucks for formal venues, so take advantage of the outdoor space of the backyard with this unique food service idea.

Bring Furniture Outside 

To give your wedding a cool look and some comfortable seating, bring some furniture outside! As long as it’s dry, there’s no harm in bringing out a cozy couch and chairs to create a lounge area.

Consider velvet couches that match your colors for an added pop of color and comfort. Add throw pillows and anything else you can get your hands on to create a lovely space outside!

Pop Confetti


Confetti can be difficult to clean up, but since you’re outside that’s less of a worry! Just be sure to get biodegradable confetti so that it doesn’t hurt the environment of your backyard.

Pop confetti as the newlyweds walk down the aisle together, or later at another big moment of the night! Be sure to have your wedding photographer on deck to get a photo of the moment when the confetti goes off! 

flower confetti
Source: PoshAndSparkle

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white confetti
Source: UltimateConfetti

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confetti popper
Source: ShropshirePetals

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Get Creative with Mason Jars

mason jar

If your backyard wedding has a rustic, outdoor theme, mason jars are perfect for various uses. They make great cocktail glasses for any kind of drink, and you can do much more! Use mason jars as vases, put tea lights in them for safe candle holders, fill them with treats, and more. 

Provide Blankets or Fans

Since you’re getting married outside, prepare for a temperature change throughout the day. If you expect it to be warm, provide guests with fans or parasols to keep cool and shield the sunlight. If it cools down at night, provide blankets so that guests can curl up as the night wears down. 

bamboo fan
Source: GatorGrannyVintage

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blankets bulk
Source: TowelWeavingShop

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Source: WeddingParasols

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Send Off with Sparklers 


Finally, end your backyard wedding with a sparkly send off! Give out sparklers to guests for one last cool photo opportunity and a great end to the night. 

sparkler tags
Source: GoguCo.

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How To Plan a Backyard Wedding

There are plenty of great backyard wedding ideas, but don’t forget about the logistics of throwing a wedding in the backyard.

  1. Look Into Permits
  2. Pick a Date 
  3. Plan Your Guest List
  4. Book Vendors 
  5. Consider Power
  6. Plan Restrooms
  7. Consider Insurance 
  8. Talk to the Neighbors
  9. Plan Out Parking 
  10. Design Your Backyard Wedding 
  11. Have a Rain Plan 
  12. Have a Plan for the Big Day

Look Into Permits 

Depending on where you live and the size of your wedding, you may have to apply for certain permits. With a certain number of guests, you may need to make sure you’re following any fire code regulations, zoning issues, noise ordinances, and more. Call your city clerk to learn if there are any permits needed to safety procedures that must be put in place. 

Pick a Date

plan a wedding in 3 months

One of the best parts of having your wedding at home is that you can pick any date that you want – no competing for popular Saturdays! Choose your date so that you can begin planning around the season and whatever weather comes with it. 

Plan Your Guest List

Planning out your guest list can be difficult. The size of your backyard and available space will determine how many people you can invite. For some, a backyard wedding is a good excuse to keep things small, but others may agonize over making cuts to their ideal guest list. 

It may be useful to measure out the space and figure out how many tables will fit first so that you can determine the right size by the number of seats. 

Book Vendors 

wedding flower vendor

With a wedding in your own backyard, you may not need as many vendors as you would at a traditional venue. There is always the option to cater your own wedding, or even hold a potluck of sorts. If you choose to supply food and drink yourself, make sure you plan to have enough for everyone!

Aside from caterers and bartenders, you can also servers – even if you make the food yourself, you may want servers to help keep the food flowing and taking care of trash so that you don’t have to worry about it on the big day. 

This is also a good time to book photographers, a DJ or band, a cake baker, and a florist. You also have the option to do all of these yourself – ask guests to take plenty of pictures, set up your own speaker system with music, bake your own wedding cake, and buy flowers wholesale. This is a lot of work, however, so make sure you enlist help and prepare for all the tasks. It’s easier to hire professionals unless you’re on a tight budget. 

Make sure any vendors you book understand that the wedding is taking place in your backyard, and any other factor that may influence their work. For example, a DJ may need a special power source or information about the layout so that they can place speakers. A caterer may need to have a better understanding of what kitchen space and equipment they have available to them. 

Make sure your vendor of choice can accommodate the outdoor setting before booking!

Consider Power 

Your house likely doesn’t have enough electricity to power a whole backyard full of lights, speakers, food stations, and more. Consider your power needs and rent an extra generator if needed. This way, you won’t cause a power outage and leave guests in the dark! A professional will be able to tell you how much power you need and what generator would work for you. 

Plan Restrooms

If you’re inviting more than 25 people to your backyard wedding, you will probably need some extra bathrooms. Consider renting port-a-potties – if this doesn’t sound like a romantic addition to your outdoor wedding decor, there are more glamorous portable bathroom rentals to look into. 

Consider Insurance 

Most wedding venues have liability insurance to protect against any accidents or injuries on the property. While we all hope for an incident free wedding, a large gathering of people does cause potential liabilities. It’s wise to get liability insurance for your event; talk to your insurance agent about how best to go about this.

You may also want to invest in wedding insurance to cover any cancellation related losses. 

Talk to the Neighbors

If your neighbors’ houses are close by, you should inform them of the wedding. If you’re friendly with one another, the easiest option may be to invite them so that there are no complaints about noise or parking. 

However, you may not want to waste seats on unfriendly neighbors. If they aren’t invited, inform them of the event well in advance so that they can set their expectations or even make plans to leave the house that day. 

Plan Out Parking

Odds are, you don’t have a big enough driveway for all of your guests to park at your house. Figure out a parking plan in advance so that guests know where they can and cannot park. Whether this means streets without parking limits or a lot that you have permission to use, plan ahead! 

If you need to use a lot and there isn’t one in walking distance, you might also consider hiring a shuttle service to transport guests. 

Design Your Backyard Wedding

backyard engagement party

This is the fun part! Design the layout of your backyard wedding, accounting for seating, a dance floor, food service tables, drink stations, a ceremony space, and more. You’ll need to know the plan for the ceremony vs. the reception, as some backyards may not have room for a separate setting for each. 

You’ll also need to know the size and shape of your tables, both for guests and for food displays, as well as where any music needs to be set up. There are wedding seating chart tools that can help you visually map out your unique space so that you can design a layout!

Once the layout is determined, plan decorations and details! Use our ideas above for different drink stations, photo spots, and more. No matter what backyard you’re working with, you can decorate it to match your ideal wedding colors, style, and theme. 

Have a Rain Plan

outdoor ceremony

Rain on your wedding day is far from ideal, but it is a possibility. Have a rain plan in place – whether that’s a large tent or postponing the wedding to a different date. Be sure to discuss this possibility with vendors as well so that you don’t lose your deposit.

Have a Plan for the Big Day!

Have a plan in place for the big day! If you have a wedding planner, she can help coordinate all of the day-of details. If it’s just you, however, enlist the help of your wedding party, close family members, or even hire staff to help set up. 

You’ll need help setting up tables and chairs, meeting and directing vendors, decorating, and making everything look perfect. The bride and groom will need time to get themselves ready as well, so they can’t be running around checking on every detail! Make sure you have a team ready to help and a plan in place to coordinate everything on the wedding day.

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