Weddings are making a comeback starting this summer and fall. ‘The vaccine rollout is actually giving couples optimism to have bigger guest lists again,’ Today reports. “We’re really going to see those weddings come back full swing starting around August.” What’s more, wedding planners predict that the number of weddings in late 2021 will be even higher than in previous years — the reason being that these weddings will include those who originally planned to get married this summer or fall as well as those who rescheduled weddings from 2020 and early 2021.
But will weddings look the same? The simple answer is not yet. While brides and grooms will resume large celebrations for their nuptials, there are likely to be notable differences. More couples will have outdoor weddings, more couples will scale down their guest list even if they do plan a slightly larger wedding thanks to the rollout of the vaccine, and more couples will eschew tradition and make their weddings personal and uniquely theirs.
One of the most popular options is to throw an outdoor wedding and to do it without ever leaving home. Backyard wedding cocktail hours, backyard celebrations, and backyard ceremonies have the potential to cut costs while offering brides and grooms a world of possibilities.
To plan the perfect backyard ceremony and backyard wedding cocktail hour:
Take Advantage of All Available Space
Exactly what backyard celebrations will look like will vary from couple to couple. Some couples may require proof of vaccinations and commence celebrations without social distancing and masks. Others may be more lenient, although masks and social distancing will continue to be strongly encouraged.
Ideally, it will benefit you and your guests to make the most of all available space for your backyard wedding cocktail hour and celebration. To do that, incorporate the backyard, patio, and garage into your plans. Open up the garage, park family vehicles elsewhere during the wedding, and decorate it as you see fit. The garage can be the perfect place to stow beer and single servings of wine, and even encourage guests to serve themselves if they so desire. Supplement these simple options with a more elaborate bar setup in the backyard.
While it is best to use as much space as possible for your celebrations, do it the smart way. Invest in garage door services and garage door repairs before the ceremony to ensure that the day goes off without a hitch. It may be easiest to keep the garage door open as much as possible. It is also wise to have the garage door in proper working order should you need to open and close it.
Start With What You Have
For a backyard wedding cocktail hour that is idyllic, of course, you will want to invest in decorations and flowers. Even so, it is best to start with a landscape and backdrop that is, in and of itself, well-kept and beautiful. Before committing to a backyard wedding cocktail hour and backyard wedding celebrations, take an honest look at your landscape design.
If your lawn needs a little TLC, take care of it right away. Plant new seeds and talk to lawn treatment professionals about revitalizing patchy, brown grass. Fertilize your lawn for the greenest grass, shrubbery, and most vibrant flowers. Once your existing landscape is up to par, consider what you might do next.
Installing a water feature, like a small pond, waterfall, or fountain will add instant class to your lawn and give you enjoyment for years to come — not just during the ceremony. Another idea is to look at the landscape you are working with and use that to inspire your wedding decorations and plans.
If your lawn is made up of a lot of sustainable plants, green grass, and stately trees, setting up a rustic bar and tables may be the way to go. Complement the colors of your landscape with rustic features, brown wood decor, and sustainable plants, like eucalyptus, succulents, and lavender.
You could also put some green or brown tablecloth or table runner for finishing touches. You can purchase your wedding linen direct supplier for huge savings.
Make Sure Your Hardscape is Up To Snuff
Remember your landscape is made up of two components: softscape and hardscape. Softscape consists of grasses, plants, flowers, and other natural (and typically green) features. Hardscape, on the other hand, includes man-made backyard features that complement these plants and make your space whole.
That may include your patio, concrete, stone, pavers, planters, and more. The condition of these features goes a long way to improve the appearance of your lawn — or take away from it.
If your patio is cracked, faded, or growing mysterious weeds, call a concrete repair service well before your backyard wedding cocktail hour and other wedding celebrations to see what you can do. Professionals will be able to fix and/or rejuvenate your hardscape for you. Talk to them about cleaning concrete or stone — or weigh the pros and cons of doing it on your own — before your big day.
Take Care of the Basics
While it may not be the most fun to talk about, think about, or even to do, there are some things you need to take care of before throwing a backyard wedding. Period. Those things include any critical household maintenance, like plumbing repair and roof repairs.
If your plumbing is malfunctioning, it is going to make things difficult for you on your wedding day. Whether you regularly use the plumbing in your outdoor kitchen or plan to use it temporarily for drains and other outdoor bar fixtures on your wedding day, it needs to be in working order.
Likewise, if you have an outdoor wedding, there is a good chance that at least some guests will venture into your home asking to use the bathroom. A slow-draining toilet could spell a disaster if it is in constant use all day. Talk to a plumber about any problems you may have before your outdoor wedding — ideally, weeks or months before.
Similarly, when you throw an outdoor wedding, guests will inevitably be looking at the exterior of your home. They will notice any glaring problems, like peeling paint, missing or ripped shingles, or a buckling roof. Talk to exterior paint and/or roof repair services before your wedding plans are well underway.
Keep Your Wedding Memorable… In a Good Way
All of us want our wedding to be memorable for the right reasons. That means you want to keep pests far, far away from your backyard wedding cocktail hour. The Family Handyman recommends spraying your lawn with a pesticide a few days prior to the celebrations.
Talk to local pest control services about their eco-friendly and natural options. Call ahead of time to confirm the details, like the most appropriate timing and best treatment for your needs.
If there is plenty of time before your wedding, you can also plant lemongrass to help deter mosquitoes from hanging out in your yard. Lemongrass contains citronella, which naturally wards off certain pests, like mosquitoes. For a quicker fix and/or additional sense of security during your wedding celebrations, invest in decorative candles or decorative lights that keep pests at bay.
All About Outdoor Decor
With the practicalities underway, it is now time to consider how you will set the stage for your backyard wedding cocktail hour. For a striking outdoor ceremony and follow-up celebration, consider the following:
- String up the lights: There is a reason why string lights are one of the most popular decor items at outdoor weddings. String lights add instant class and much-needed illumination while being reasonably priced. String up lights around wedding tents, posts or beams, or along a trellis. Fifty feet of twinkling string lights will cost you about $40 at a local hardware store.
- For a rustic look, use plants as centerpieces and greenery as decor: If your wedding will be outside, incorporate that look and feel into your decor. Large, potted plants often cost markedly less than elaborate flower arrangements, and they can be just as beautiful and elegant as centerpieces. Drape strings of greenery from beams or along the top of tents for a whimsical yet sophisticated look.
- Determine a theme or mood, and run with it: What aesthetic or mood are you going for? Are you trying to create an elegant, backyard garden, a Gatsby- or Roaring Twenties-inspired party, a chic, rustic wedding, a mystical forest theme, or something fun, light-hearted, and simple? Agree on what works best for you and your partner, and set up your decor in line with that theme. For a 20s-inspired wedding, consider introducing brass and gold decorations and hanging antique chandeliers from beams or wedding tents. For a casual wedding, balloon arches and a playful, portable photo booth may be just the things you need.
Have a Rainy Day Plan
While it is inarguably safer to host an outdoor wedding right now, there are a few drawbacks to throwing a wedding outdoors. Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks is that you cannot predict the weather. Without the right preparations, that leaves your ceremony and celebrations at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Don’t take any chances. Ensure that your wedding is the memorable affair you always dreamed of by coming up with a rainy day plan. What will you do if the weather is less than ideal? What happens if it rains or if it is especially windy?
Often, these problems can be solved by something as simple as outdoor party tents. Plan for an alternative ceremony and reception that takes place inside a tent or two. As with your original backyard wedding celebrations and backyard wedding cocktail hour plans, these tents should comfortably accommodate all guests.
Leave room for seating, tables, a bar, and/or a dance floor as well. The idea is to create an atmosphere inside wedding tents that can fully accommodate your wedding plans and do it in a way that won’t leave you feeling deprived or disappointed.
Protect Your Home
Speaking of not taking any chances — if you will be hosting a wedding in or around your home — it is wise to research the various types of wedding insurance. When you have a wedding inside your home or out on the lawn, you risk property damage as well as the possibility of being held responsible for any incidents, accidents, and injuries that may occur.
Before your big day, review your homeowner’s insurance with a fine-tooth comb. While some policies will cover some damages that may occur on your property, others will make explicit exceptions for big occasions and large group events, like weddings. If that is the case, look into your options.
Purchase a wedding and event liability policy that meets your needs. These policies cover damages to wedding venues or — in this case — your home. Some policies may also cover injuries that happen on your property.
Similarly, it may be wise to purchase a host liquor liability plan. The last thing you want or need is for your backyard wedding cocktail hour to turn into a horrific spectacle that haunts you forever. The fact is that some people tend to overdo it at weddings when it comes to alcohol consumption. Having a host liquor liability policy will protect you in the event of the unexpected.
Putting Together Your Outdoor Bar
For the bar itself, get creative and use your bar to make it a night your guests will always remember! Setting up an outdoor bar can take many different forms, including:
- A fun, mobile bar: There are several mobile pubs, mobile bars, and bar trailers that are fully equipped to take on your big day for you. Even better, just about all of them come with a bartender (or two).
- Beer on tap: Set up a station with beer on tap. Choose a variety of beers, like pale lagers, IPAs, and stouts, or — for a fall wedding — pick a few seasonal favorites, like pumpkin beer or spiced cider.
- Serve yourself solutions: Alternatively, keep it simple. Stow beers and single-serving bottles of champagne in large, decorative buckets or barrels with ice, and invite guests to help themselves.
Plan your dream wedding in your own backyard. Follow the tips above to perfectly curate the best possible backyard wedding cocktail hour and reception experience.