Backyard and private estate weddings are seriously some of my favorites. With a blank canvas the design options are endless. I have had a ton of requests lately for this ( thanks covid) so I always want my clients to be knowledgeable and prepared on what to expect financially as well as what can go into this. There are a lot of moving parts and things to consider when you are thinking about doing a backyard wedding that you may not have thought of!
I think a lot of people immediately think “If do a wedding in my backyard I am going to save so much money!” That can be true sometimes but other times it can actually be more expensive. I always want to be as transparent as possible and I want my clients to know what they are walking into when working with me.
Lighting and Power. If the backyard or “venue” is not adequately equipped with proper lighting and power that will need to be brought in. From experience DJ’s and caterers require a ton of power and the wattage is often greater than a house can provide alone. If this is the case a generator will need to be brought in.
Restrooms. If you are having an event at your home or a private estate you will need to think about the bathroom situation. Some people are uncomfortable with guests using their home to use the bathroom so if this is the case you will need to bring in portable restrooms. Luckily they have some really fancy ones these days and you don’t have to resort to old school porta-potties…yuck! Whether or not you decide to bring in additional restrooms, you will want to have a bathroom attendant throughout your event to make sure the bathrooms are stocked and cleaned.
Parking. If you live in a neighborhood where there is not adequate parking you will need to figure out how you are going to deal with parking and transportation. We often use valet services and the valet attendants will drive the cars to an area nearby where there is adequate parking. You will want to make sure and scout out an area where they can park the cars in advance.
Neighbors (and noise). You will want to give any neighbors a heads up you are having an event to make sure and avoid any noise complaints. It is also a good idea to check with the city to find out about any noise ordinances in the neighborhood you are having the event and see if there are any curfews that would be imposed.
Weather. Having a backup plan for inclement weather is always important at any event. With a private estate wedding or event it is imperative that you figure out a plan in advance and budget for it just in case. Tents and draping can get pricey. You can also check with your local rental companies to put one on hold for a small fee just in case you need to use it last minute.
Rentals and decor. Aside from the obvious wedding arch, flowers, and chairs you will need to think about all of the rentals and decor that will need to be brought in. Tables, chairs, dance floor, linens, silverware, glasses, and heaters will all need to be brought in. Sometimes full service caterers will provide some of these items but you will want to triple check that all of the items have been ordered in advance so guests are not stuck eating their meal without a napkin.
Catering and Bar. This is the fun part! Since you are having the event at a private residence the food and beverage opinions are endless. This is a great way to save some money on your event. You can purchase alcohol in bulk from places like Costco and save a lot of money by hiring local bartenders. Ice can be an issue if there is not enough ordered in advance. You will want to make sure you are stocked with ice and ice chests are often needed to keep the excess cold. You can also choose any sort of food rather than selecting off a pre-fixed menu at a hotel or venue. You will have to decide between a full service caterer and a “drop and go” type of caterer. This is very important to distinguish the difference because it will make all the difference during the service. If you hire a drop and go caterer you will want to hire several “servers” to help until the end of the event. You will want someone to help serve food, clear glasses and plates, take out the trash, make sure the food stations are kept tidy and clean. Most guests will not understand the difference so having servers there is so important to ensure guests are happy and there is no mess left for the family to clean the next day. If you hire a full service caterer you will want to make sure they will provide these services and stay until the very end of the event. Just because the food service is done does not mean there is nothing left to do. Trash will need to be cleaned and taken out throughout the rest of the event.
Overall, backyard and private residence events are some of my absolute favorites. It is incredibly rewarding as an event planner to see the transformation of a space and I love being able to run wild with ideas given the flexibility we have with no time constraints and I LOVE that the space is new and unique. Private residence events are truly one of a kind! I hope this gives you a little bit more insight into what goes into a private event, if you have any questions on how this will work with your budget please sign up for our mailing list to receive your free wedding budget tool.
Click here to see one of our backyard events featured on Kate Aspen’s Blog.