In addition to the uptick in elopements, backyard weddings seem to be having their moment and I am *here for it*. I think what makes it so fun for me is that I get to photograph people either in their homes or the homes they grew up in. I love that sort of nostalgia. Here is where I took my first steps and here is where I will also walk down the aisle. It also seems to lend itself to bride and groom getting ready together which I also really love photographing. It is a nontraditional getting ready process that can be so romantic.
I feel like a lot of couples are getting more comfortable incorporating their homes, their lives, their favorite things into their wedding day. Over the summer I photographed a couple that stopped at their favorite ice cream place that the bride also worked at when she was younger. Backyard weddings seem to fit that same vibe. Going where you love with you love and no one feels more comfortable than at home.
From a photography perspective it also allows me to capture photographs in places I have never seen before and get super creative.
I’ve shot enough backyard weddings to be able to offer some tips if this is something you are considering. Hopefully this helps you either decide if this is something you want to do or better plan out the wedding of your dreams.
- Hire a planner. THIS WILL SAVE YOUR SANITY. Trust. When you have a backyard wedding there are probably twice as many things you need to plan (versus going to a venue). Tables, chairs, tent, getting a dance floor…it is a lot to organize. The upfront investment in a planner will save you time and money in the long run.
- Budget. Backyard weddings are not necessarily less expensive than weddings at a venue. Make sure you work with your planner on creating a budget so that you don’t overspend in one area while leaving no budget for other necessary items.
- Professionals. Even though it is in your backyard, I still recommend hiring professionals for everything. A DJ is key to keeping the success of a reception. Caterers make sure your family is not slaving over food the days and weeks leading up to the wedding.
- Hair and Make-up. A lot of hair and MUA will travel to you on site. Make sure you have an area prepared for them to work. A lot of times I will see them set up in the kitchen or the living room depending on the lighting, counter space, etc. It is always a good idea to let them know what your plans are and even text them with the spaces in your home so they know what they are working with.
I shot a wedding this summer where the bride and groom got ready in the bride’s childhood home and had the wedding and reception at the groom’s best friend’s backyard. It was so much fun. They were able to get ready at home and not worry about having the clean up before people arrived. Once they were done with hair and makeup they hopped in the car for a short drive to the main street of their hometown. Then they drive a couple minutes to their friend’s backyard. It was seemless!