I was honored and excited for the opportunity to contribute to Redfin’s article titled Creating An Intimate Backyard Wedding with 19 other planning pros from the US and Canada. When I received an email from Ryan Castillo who is a member of the Content Marketing team at Redfin, I was surprised and elated at the same time.

The original article first appeared here on Redfin’s blog. Continue reading below to check out the article in its entirety. My tip is #18.

Creating An Intimate Backyard Wedding | Nashville Wedding Planner
John Myers Photography

20 Expert Tips to Create an Intimate Back Yard Wedding

Weddings are a special moment in a couple’s life, and choosing to host the event at home can make it all the more memorable. However, planning for the big day can take a lot of time and preparation. From updating your house with a fresh coat of paint to installing landscape lighting, there are many details that you may not think about when planning an intimate backyard wedding.

If you’re planning your wedding ceremony and don’t know where to start, look no further. We reached out to 20 wedding planners and photographers across North America, from New York, NY to Vancouver, BC, to help you plan the wedding of your dreams. Keep reading to see what they had to say.

  1. Understand the cost of an intimate backyard wedding. A big misconception that couples tend to have is that intimate backyard weddings are more affordable than renting out a typical venue. In most cases, it is actually more expensive because you are literally building a venue. Tents, flooring, dance floor, lighting, rentals, luxury restrooms, generators, etc. cost a lot of money. – Danielle Caldwell Events
  2. Think big picture logistics. Remember the biggies that regular wedding venues have that your home may not – parking, lighting, restrooms, power, and kitchen space. Consider hiring a valet service to help keep your neighbors happy by not lining your street with cars.  Also, consider whether or not you want people walking through your home to use the restroom. If not, portable restrooms are a must. – New Creations Weddings
  3. Make sure there is enough parking for your guests. We recommend making sure you have enough parking. We see so many small venues lack the needed parking to accommodate all of the attendees at a wedding and wedding guests can get really frustrated by that. – Philippe Studio Pro
  4. Request a measurement consultation. Many rental companies offer measurement consultations where they come to your property to measure for the best-sized tent and number of tables you will need based on your estimated guest count. Structuring the space you have with the appropriate rentals for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception will allow for the wedding day to run smoothly. – The Virginia Gathering Co
  5. Everything revolves around the sun. Spend time watching where the sun goes throughout the day on your property and plan to create your outdoor ceremony space out of the direct sunlight. Couples most often choose anywhere from 4-5:30 pm as their ceremony start time, so be sure to know where the sun will be during those times of day at various months throughout the year and make note. – Happily Hitched
  6. Incorporate shade. If you are planning an al fresco event at a time of day when the sun is directly overhead, incorporating shade (under a large tree, for example) will be more comfortable for your guests and will make for more flattering photos. – Todd Danforth Photography
  7. Reserve the room with the most light. Especially for getting ready shots such as getting in the dress and makeup. Nothing looks better on camera than natural light and you want to reserve the best lighting in your house for these moments. – Wild Fern Weddings
  8. Update your exterior with paint. One thing to do for an intimate backyard wedding is updating it with fresh exterior paint which will create a fresh and romantic feel for the big day and at the same time, beautifying the home and potentially increasing the home value. – Apropos Creations
  9. Choose a focal point with the best backdrop. Create an altar by using a simple arch or two large floral arrangements that will flank the happy couple. Get rid of clutter, prune the shrubs, hide the unused pots and put the patio furniture in the garage. Prepare the space to be neat and tidy. – Blue Linden Weddings
  10. Hang string lights. String lights are a great enhancement to any backyard. They’re something you can keep up all year round and are crucial to an evening event. You don’t want your guests sitting in the dark. – Kellie Jane Creative
  11. Install landscape lights. Many backyards are pitch black after dark since they do not have existing landscape lighting on the property. For safety, make sure that the paths to and from the parking area and bathrooms are well lit. The last thing you want is somebody twisting their ankles or falling and hurting themselves. – Event Accomplished
  12. Create a moment of magic. Having a sparkler moment can make an intimate backyard wedding feel like a major celebration. Just make sure to get it done before your guests are far too inebriated. – Megan & Kenneth
  13. Consider a tent to transform your space. A tent will add an additional structure that can pair next to your house. It will change the layout of your yard – how you have seen it and used it in the past. Look into a clear top tent or a sailcloth tent to add to the beauty that surrounds it. – Pearl Weddings and Events
  14. Try a canopy. If you must have an afternoon event outdoors and have no shade structure or trees, consider creating a simple canopy with fabric to provide shade. It keeps guests cool and ensures everything looks fabulous both in photos and in real life. Choose fabrics based on the ambiance you want to create; sheer for light and airy vibes, opaque for a more somber mood. – Tanushree Vaidya
  15. Go with as much natural foliage as possible. Ivy and wall climbing vines are always beautiful or tall trees like Spearmint Junipers that can be planted in the ground or in planters can create a barrier between neighbors or separate one space from another. The goal is to make guests forget they are in the backyard of a home. – Payton Bernstine, Owner & Lead Designer, Promise Event Planners
  16. Add potted plants. Plants will always breathe life into space. Opt for large potted plants that can be easily moved around to help form an altar and small ones to add to your tablescape. – Jessica Sloane Events
  17. Create a lounge and cocktail hour areas in unique spaces. One of our most recent couples used a tiny backyard corner as their dreamy lounge area complete with deep green velvet furniture and oak tables. They also used their outdoor pool area as the perfect space for their guests to mix and mingle during cocktail hour. – Alicia Lucia Photography
  18. Rent outdoor bathrooms. Because you want your guests to feel comfortable, opt for a luxury restroom trailer that usually has more than one stall and a sink for hand washing. Your guests will appreciate the extra thought. – LeeHenry Events
  19. All space is usable, including the pool. Create an intimate aisle for the bride and groom to walk across the pool as the family gathers on either side. Added benefit – no phone cameras in the professional photos. – Front Paige Events
  20. Think about one photo or memory you want to remember. Use that to help you focus your design or remodeling efforts. If you are dreaming of an al fresco dinner under the stars with cafe lights and candlelight, look around and see if you have trees or a pergola that you can use to construct it. Having a goal or end result to guide you in your efforts will ensure you spend your time and investment wisely. – Desirée Adams, Owner & Event Designer of Verve Event Co. based in Upstate New York
How to plan a backyard wedding | LeeHenry Events LLC
The Company Photography

Originally published on Redfin.com. Photos have been changed to LeeHenry Events’ wedding photos