With the current COVID-19 situation, many brides and grooms are opting to go the micro-wedding route. Often a backyard is a perfect venue for this type of celebration. There are some easy ways to decorate your yard for the occasion.
After the recession of 2008, I saw a shift towards backyard weddings. This is because they are more intimate, less complicated to organize, and less expensive. I am seeing the same trend, now called micro-weddings, because of the need for physical distancing in a COVID-19 era.
Couples are disappointed in the change of plans and looking for alternatives. Before you write off a backyard wedding as an overly casual affair that welcomes a rustic vibe only, know that there are endless backyard wedding ideas to transform it into anything you want it to be. After all, there is no place like home.
There are many advantages to hosting a backyard wedding, one of which is having the the freedom to get creative. The ability to build the venue the way you want it, or envision it, is a gift. So let your creativity run wild with inspiration from elegant, formal looks and statement entrances to romantic tablescapes and natural décor.
These ideas below, I have seen successfully transform a backyard and will alos help with physical distancing.
1- Create a Chill Lounge Area
Pair airy, wicker accents with gilded tones and tons of lush greenery for an elegant, summer vibe. Bringing the indoors out in the form of a luxe lounge area will elevate any cocktail hour or reception and can easily be achieved with outdoor furniture you already own or by creatively repurposing indoor furniture. You can even cluster mismatched furniture in various textures or tones for a more eclectic take.
2- Have a Rain Plan
While we all hope for sunny weather it’s not always the case. Make sure you have a rain plan first, before you have your sunshine plan. This will help you choose which backyard works best and can accommodate your guests taking into account physical distancing. It will also help you critically think through what to do if it rains and how you will keep your guests and vendor teams comfortable, safe, and dry. For many outdoor at-home nuptials, this means having a tented area or balcony can be preplanned just in case.
3- Illuminate With String Lights
Chances are your home is not equipped with glamorous outdoor lighting to really make the property shine. You don’t have to break the bank on lighting if it’s not in the budget but making certain you create the mood and set the scene is critical for creating an ambience. It’s simple to create a welcoming display with very little effort or cost. Illuminate an alfresco dinner setting with a few overhead bistro lights or wrap them around the beams of a tent to highlight the structural grandeur.
4- Elevate the Entrance
Make a grand entrance for a backyard reception with curtains elegantly pulled back by foliage and accented with topiaries and candles. If you choose to have a tent for your reception, drapes can easily be attached and pulled back to create an inviting entryway.
5- Add Some Color to Your Outdoor Tables
Add some visual depth to your alfresco cocktail hour by draping tables in printed linens. Nautical tones are quintessentially coastal New England, whereas floral prints have a charming country quality.
6- Use Plants for Your Centerpiece
Potted flowerless plants mimic the shrubbery of a backyard and make for stunning centerpiece displays. Cluster a few plants, baby fruit-bearing trees, and herbs from a local garden store for a visual masterpiece that will smell just as good as it looks. Bonus: The plants can live on as landscaping for the backyard instead of meeting a quick demise.
7- Lawn Games Are Always a Good Idea
Cocktail hour gets a lot more fun when there are lawn games to be played. Lend them an air of sophistication with your own personal touch—stamp your initials on croquet balls or have cornhole sets customized with your wedding date. Elevate an oversized Jenga set by painting it in your wedding colors and setting it on a polished side table.
8- Bring the Bar Outside
Nothing puts guests in a good mood like self-serve beverages on ice. Stock up a bar cart with bottles of bubbly for a quick and stylish refreshment. Want to kick things up a notch? Bring in a vintage car or truck and set up the basins of ice in the trunk.
9- Set Up Spaced Tables
Backyard weddings are all about family and friends that have become family. Your seated dinner reception should celebrate that by bringing everyone together—family style. Usually, long banquet tables, set a warm, communal tone that is often lost with other seating styles. You can still do this, but space people a little more further apart.
10- Opt for served buffet style Service
Instead of individualized plating, the meals should be a served buffet. It is still a more intimate style and helps with physical distancing.
11- Choose a Focal Point
The best part about having a wedding in your backyard is that you already have a pretty good idea of the area’s strengths and weaknesses. Pick your favorite spot, whether for sentimental reasons or because of its visual impact, and make that the focal point of your celebration.
12- Indulge in Local Delicacies
The great thing about having a wedding at home? You know all the best local food. Why not pay tribute and incorporate these gems into the festivities by having them cater or set up a late-night food cart?
13- Throw a BBQ
Set up outdoor grills and have your catering team, or your favorite grill-master, cook the evening meal on site. Warning: Your guests may be a bit distracted during the cocktail hour with the delicious smells of fire and smoke permeating the air.
14- Landscape the Grounds
Think about your backyard wedding as good motivation to spruce up the garden beds and lawn. Whether it’s planting new flowers or fertilizing the lawn, these will last long after the wedding and be a good home investment, as well! And I highly recommend spraying for bugs before the wedding.