Once upon a time, having your wedding at home or in your own backyard was considered the height of unrefined: I mean, how could you ever make a backyard fancy enough for a wedding?! Luckily for everyone getting married these days, the Internet has made having the backyard wedding of your dreams easier (and more beautiful) than ever.
The perks to getting married at home go on forever. At least one of you is likely to know the spot incredibly well, and you’ll be comfortable there. You’re probably not going to deal with any decor restrictions, and can in fact do something like string up a whole bunch of confetti-filled piñatas from a tree because—hey—it’s your yard.
Of course, there are a few things to keep in mind too.
1. If you’re worried about late night noise, invite the neighbors! People don’t tend to complain about parties they are… at.
2. Don’t forget about things like porta potties. If your home has old pipes or your guest list is huge, it can be worth the investment (and avoidance of future plumbing repairs) to get the fancy kind. (And y’all the fancy kinds are F-A-N-C-Y.)
3. Remember that at-home weddings mean you’ve gotta bring everything in and take everything out yourself. And hauling trash the day after your wedding is zero percent fun. So if you’ve got a college-age cousin or sibling and that person has friends, don’t be afraid to hire out some help hauling things away. (P.S. This might be where our post on rentals comes in handy.)
But enough about logistics. We dug through our own backyard and at-home weddings to bring you some of the best ideas for leveling up your own backyard situation. If you’ve recently planned a wedding at your home we’d love to hear even more ideas for having a flawless wedding right where you live.
1. LEAN INTO THE STRENGTHS OF THE SPACE
Who: Abbie and Reid | Where: Oak Lawn, Illinois | Vibe: Relaxed poolside barbecue
Getting married at home doesn’t mean you have to turn your backyard into the Ritz Carlton. Have a pool? Make it look kick ass like Abbie did with this balloon installation. Lots of trees in your backyard? Hang shit from them. Work with the space you have, not against it.
2. ARRIVE BY BICYCLE, JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN
Who: Kari and Duncan | Where: Mamaroneck, New York | Vibe: Handcrafted backyard New York wedding
Because you can and you should.
3. BUILD YOUR OWN FIRE PIT
Who: Amanda and Wesley | Where: Knoxville, Tennessee | Vibe: Casual Friday backyard wedding
Win 1: You build your own fire pit and can have s’mores at your wedding. Win 2: The fire pit is still there after the wedding, which means you can have s’mores all the time.
4. USE THE DRIVEWAY AS AN AISLE
Who: Kait and Bobby | Where: Seattle, Washington | Vibe: A front yard elopement in the Pacific Northwest
Kait and Bobby’s photographer, Jonas Seaman, found an awesome front yard for their ceremony—right down the street from where they were staying. Voila, insta-wedding aisle.
5. SUBSTITUTE BLANKETS FOR TRADITIONAL SEATING
Who: Emma and Shanna | Where: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada | Vibe: A small, love-filled, doused-in-sunshine, at-home wedding
Keep in mind that various guests may have different needs than most and might require comfier chairs, but generally speaking, offering everyone blankets instead of seats lends a colorful, whimsical vibe to your wedding (and an excuse to buy cute blankets for your home).
6. EASILY INCLUDE YOUR PETS
Who: Kathryn and Jeff | Where: Trout Lake, Washington | Vibe: A magical blend of simplicity and wildness
If you really want to have your dog in your wedding but you also really don’t want your dog to be on your mind the rest of the day, getting married at home makes it possible.
7. ANY NOOK CAN BE A WEDDING NOOK
Who: Sarah and Selena | Where: Washington, DC | Vibe: Relaxed elegance
You don’t have to transform your home into a wedding venue for it to be… a wedding venue. Your favorite spot is your favorite spot for a reason already, right?
8. JUST BECAUSE IT’S DIY, DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN’T HIRE THAT ISH OUT
Who: Cat and Jonney | Where: Silverlake, California | Vibe: A Tuesday wedding planned in just seventeen days
When Cat and Jonney made the decision to plan their wedding in a hurry so that Jonney’s late mom could attend, they realized they couldn’t do it all themselves. So Jonney hired a house decorating company to deck the backyard out in twinkle lights. It took eight hours and cost a penny, but was worth totally worth it.
9. PARK A FOOD TRUCK IN YOUR YARD
Who: Nat and Juni | Where: Miami, Florida | Vibe: A forty-person at-home wedding planned in twenty-one days
Sure, you could offer a plated meal or buffet… or you could mix it up and bring a food truck to your home. Options, people! Options. (Note: If you’re planning a food truck wedding, be aware that, depending on the food type, your guests might end up spending some serious waiting in line. To avoid food truck backup, stagger your meal, or choose a food type that can be prepared in advance and only has to be assembled on site.)
10. BREAK OPEN A MATRIMONIAL PINATA
Who: Kaitlyn and Nick | Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Vibe: A romantic and intimate backyard wedding
If you don’t care that confetti and candy will be all over your yard, then popping a piñata or two is a really fun way to celebrate getting married. Unity candles be damned!
11. PUT EVERYTHING UNDER ONE AMAZING TREE
Who: Vanessa and Jesse | Where: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Vibe:Small on funds, big on heart
Trees are backyard wedding magicians. They keep you from getting too hot and from getting sunburned. Plus, there’s all that pretty. With the help of cinder blocks and willpower, Vanessa and Jesse’s entire wedding (ceremony, eating, and dancing) took place under one gigantic, incredible magnolia tree.
12. TAKE PHOTOS IN A SENTIMENTAL SPOT
Who: Brian and Genevieve | Where: Santa Rosa, California | Vibe: A raw, poetic, family-filled, at-home wedding
Speaking of trees. The best part of getting married at home? You get to visit your wedding site over and over again. Brian and Genevieve shared their first look (and therefore first kiss) under the same trees they later took wedding photos under. Perfection.
13. GO OUT WITH A BANG
Who: Mary and Michael | Where: Seattle, Washington | Vibe: A laid-back community-made block party
That thing about fewer restrictions? Means you can get away with stuff like sparklers and these amazing fire lanterns. (P.S. You can get eco-friendly ones righthere.) Since there is no one to kick you out at the end of the night, these make a great symbolic gesture to end the evening. Also, let’s be real, the photos are dreamy. I said it.