If you are planning to have a small, intimate wedding in your own backyard, at an AirBnb, or on a private property… YAY! I’m so excited for you! The beauty of having a small, intimate wedding on your own property is that there are no rules. You have complete freedom to make the wedding personal, unique, and totally YOU!
Here are my ideas for backyard weddings and recommendations on how to design a celebration that is personal and memorable.
When picking a spot to set up the ceremony, play off of the focal points that already exist in the backyard. This can be a large tree, a lake or body of water, etc. Setting up the ceremony in front of a large, focal point is a great way to draw everyone’s attention into you while you say “I Do!”
If the backyard or private property does not have a natural focal point, that’s okay! Another option is to use the front porch or back deck as the ceremony platform. This is a great way to set the stage for the ceremony, and it can be super sweet and nostalgic if you tie the knot on the front porch of your first home together or the back deck of your parents house where you grew up.
The ceremony arch is a great way to set the tone for the entire wedding. Wedding arches are fairly easy to make on your own and there are so many different styles to choose from, so I suggest making it a reflection of the wedding vibe you’re going for.
Whether you want a classic and minimalist wedding arch, a simple and elegant arch with greenery or florals, a boho, indie arch with macrame hung from it, an abstract arch with an eccentric shape, a rustic arch with pieces of driftwood… the possibilities are endless! Whatever you choose, make sure to pick something that represents you and your desired wedding style.
Another trend I’m LOVING is the in ground half moon arch made with greenery and florals. This is a simple way to play off of the nature and land surrounding your ceremony, while still drawing the focus to the bride and groom. This can be made with wildflowers, greenery, or my personal favorite: pampas grass!
A lot of brides worry about not having that dramatic, grand entrance to their ceremony. If the backyard of private property is set up in a way that your guests are going to see you coming from a mile away, one thing you can do to still get that dramatic entrance is set up doors.
When designing these doors, keep your wedding style in mind. Ceremony doors can be either rustic and shabby, or eclectic and vintage, or elegant and chic.
Add greenery, florals, wreaths, a sweet quote or Bible verse to the doors for an extra personal touch.
Another way to give yourself more of a grand entrance is to really accentuate the aisle.
This can be with assorted potted plants lining the aisle way.
Or with scattered flower petals, olive leaves, or colorful fall leaves if your wedding will be in autumn.
OR, if your wedding style is more boho and indie, use assorted vintage rugs to line the aisle and pave the way to your person.
Next, you will need seating for both the ceremony and potentially a reception if you will be having an after party or serving a dinner.
I want to encourage you to consider your seating another element of your wedding style and design. Make the seating just as personal as every other element of the wedding!
Obviously you can rent all matching white chairs from a rental company, but a few other options that are more unique and personal are gathering up mix-matching chairs from various family members and friends. These can be simple chairs, or a mixture or love seats and sofas. This gives a super cozy, homey feeling to guests throughout the ceremony and reception.
Another option if your wedding is more rustic, play off of nature and make seats out of tree stumps.
For a super casual, laid-back vibe, set up blankets and pillows. This way guests can kick back and enjoy the wedding picnic style!
Pick a seating arrangement that represents you and your partner, and use the seating to set the tone for how you want guests to feel and interact with each other.
If you are worried about the weather, rent a tent! But please- get a CLEAR tent.
Clear tents are much more elegant than the white tents. Additionally, clear tents usually end up looking like a greenhouse or conservatory venue.
Ways to spruce up a tent even more:
Add assorted lanterns and hang chandeliers or string lights to give the tent more character.
Or, bring trees into the tent! This is an amazing way to add some elements of greenery and give the tent a lot more life.
Table decor can be overwhelming, but here’s the thing to remember- the simpler the better. Don’t overdo it with elaborate centerpieces or complicated place settings. Just some simple greenery and candles will make the tables look clean and beautiful. Greenery is also super easy to find, you can get it at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Cosco, or a local greenhouse.
Similarly, another way to decorate tables in a more boho, eclectic way is with mismatching candle sticks and stems in vases.
For more earthy table decor, use assorted potted plants or even potted trees to add some height to the table.
For more summery, bright vibes, use dried citrus or whole oranges and clementines in the centerpieces and place settings.
Table decor really can be so simple. Don’t overcomplicate it, and remember that less is more.
The final thing I want to say about backyard weddings; Make it YOU!!! That’s the beauty of a backyard wedding, there are no rules! You can make it totally personal to you and your partner.
If you two are dog lovers, tell guests to bring their dogs!
Of if you two are outdoorsy and love to camp, set up tents for guests to hangout in instead of cocktail tables and serve drinks out of a canoe filled with ice.
Another option, if you two absolutely love Italy, set the vibe with Italian music and serve pasta for dinner followed by Limoncello shots.
The more personal you make it, the more meaningful and memorable it will be for both you and your guests.
To see more backyard wedding inspiration, check out my Backyard Wedding Ideas Pinterest board.
Or if you want to chat about your own big day, send me a message and I’m happy to offer more personalized advice!
Here’s a few more articles that you’ll love:
Or check out my Planning Tips page for more wedding and elopement advice. Happy planning!!
I’m a destination wedding & elopement photographer with a passion for marriage.
As your photographer, I'll capture images that are natural, authentic, and honestly illustrate your love for one another so that you can always remember exactly why you fell in love.
Whether you're eloping just the two of you, or getting married in your favorite place with all your favorite people, I'd love to capture the photos that will help you to cherish your marriage for a lifetime.