45 Backyard Wedding Ideas to Make Your Own
Planning a wedding is no easy feat. With so many details to organize—from the venue and the caterer to the photographer, florist, and music—the process can easily take on a life of its own. One way to rein it all in? Take control wherever you can. While that might mean pre-scheduling your vendor meetings, keeping detailed to-do lists, or working with a professional wedding planner, it might also mean deciding to tie the knot somewhere where you get to call all of the shots: your backyard. Plus, there's something inherently special about opting for a backyard wedding, as exchanging vows at your own (or a loved one's) home immediately makes the day more personal. And in the age of COVID-19, backyard weddings are becoming even more popular. So, whether you had to pivot your wedding planning due to COVID restrictions or you've dreamed of an outdoor bash at the place you call home, know that a backyard wedding can be just as beautiful, elevated, and meaningful as a celebration at a more traditional venue.
What's more, having a backyard wedding generally means you have more options (and fewer restrictions) than you would at a typical venue. For one, you don't have to worry about staying within the venue's approved vendor list or working within the confines of any packages they offer. When you're getting married in your own backyard, you have complete freedom over the decorations, food, and music. Want a band to perform the ceremony, cocktail hour, and dinner music? Go for it, as long as you check the local sound ordinances before signing a contract. Have you always imagined having leaving your reception as loved ones wave sparklers? Since you don't have to worry about a venue's restrictions on fireworks and open flames, you can get that wish with an at-home wedding.
Just because you're planning a backyard soirée doesn't mean you have to skimp out on any of your wedding-day must-haves. If you've been dreaming of a textural reception setup, consider the options available to you. Here, Florabella transformed a backyard pergola into an intimate dining area, complete with twinkle lights and plenty of greenery.
Ahead, we're sharing some of our favorite ideas for backyard weddings, including impactful flower arches, breathtaking reception set-ups, delicious food options, picture-perfect cakes, and so much more that can all be applied to your at-home nuptials. Ultimately, remember that one of the major benefits of a backyard wedding is that you get to do things your way, so don't be afraid to think outside the box and create a celebration that's as personal and meaningful as possible.
If you're inviting a smaller group of people to your backyard wedding, consider seating that keeps everyone close. Detailed benches nicely complemented the flower-covered chuppah created by Lily Roden Florals.
Handwritten Escort Cards
Calligraphed escort cards add a special, personal touch to any wedding, but we think it's an especially nice option for a celebration taking place at your own home. These were secured from any wind with crystals, which doubled as a wedding favor.
Just because your wedding is in your backyard doesn't mean you need to forego a wow-worthy cake. This light-blue-and-white-frosted cake from Konditor Meister offered three different flavors for guests to choose from.
A homespun celebration doesn't have to skimp on details. Heather Balliet of Amorology Weddings created this setup that featured twinkle lights and long farm tables, resulting in an intimate, elevated look.
Environmentally Friendly Swaps
A backyard wedding means that you (or your family members) will likely be tasked with post-nuptial cleanup, so think carefully before choosing items like rice or confetti for your recessional toss. Eco-friendly alternatives like flower petals, leaves, bird seed, or herbs can be left on the ground once the party is over.
If you've got it, flaunt it. And these views certainly have it all. If your backyard features stunning views, lean into a motif that lets them shine, just like Penny Lane did when transforming this celebration into a chic ranch-inspired affair.
If you're tying the knot at home, there's a good chance your ceremony locale will be visible from the rest of the celebration, so go bold with décor since it'll be on display all even long. This lush floral arch from Ruth Ridgeway Designs stood out at this beautiful wedding.
Everyone loves a signature cocktail, so when you're tying the knot at home, it's important to make sure you have enough to go around—that goes for everything at the bar, since there's likely no stockpile of additional booze on-site. We recommend making a large batch of your signature sip for ease, but if you do decide to have have a bartender on-site, custom stationery depicting your go-to cocktails is a fun way to add a personal element.
There's no need to scale back your design vision for an at-home wedding. This breathtaking floral arch—created by Inessa Nichols Design—helped define the couple's backyard wedding design.
It's important to wear shoes that match your locale, not just for aesthetics, but for practicality, too. Treat yourself to a new pair for the occasion—this bride donned textured white Steve Madden booties, which were perfect for a wedding on the family ranch.
Give guests a hint of what's to come at your backyard wedding with a sketch of the planned ceremony scene, like this one by Shhh My Darling. Bonus points if your four-legged friends make the cut.
The beauty of a backyard wedding—besides the meaningful aspect of saying "I do" in a place filled with loving memories—is your ability to completely handpick your vendors. If you and your fiancé have a favorite food truck in town, you can order ahead and enjoy the bites (like these hand pies from The Wild Table) throughout your reception. No need to be tied to the venue's caterer.
Choose a wedding cake design that complements the rest of your backyard wedding's style. This one by Toni Patisserie & Café featured two tiers of vanilla cake filled with lemon mousse and raspberry preserves, which were iced in white, wrapped in faux vines, and finished with handcrafted sugar flowers.
Hire an illustrator to bring your home to life on your wedding invitations—literally! This invitation suite by Graphikkart featured a drawing of the home where the couple tied the knot.
Few things are as meaningful as getting ready for the wedding with the help of your family. One way to take it up a notch? Get ready in the home you grew up in, just as this bride did. That process is far easier when the rest of the celebration will unfold just outside the back door.
Take the opportunity to pose for photographs in an area of your backyard that means the most to you. It's the perfect way to capture meaningful portraits that you'll love and cherish for years to come.
A backyard wedding means convening with nature, so why not let your wedding cake reflect that aesthetic? This gorgeous treat from Cove Cake Design featured lime cake enrobed in semi-naked frosting and topped with fresh flowers.
Grand displays can stay up as long as you like when you're tying the knot at home, so invest in décor that you can enjoy after the big day. Keep them up for as long as you please, or use them again the next day for a post-nuptial brunch. These pretty in pink balloons by Botanical No. 9 offered a nod to the day's poppy pink palette, but they double as a work of art long after the last song of the night is played.
Elevated Place Settings
We're about to let you in on a little secret: There's no rule that says a backyard wedding can't be elegant. Use textural place settings to set the tone for your reception, like these by of Madame de la Maison. Ornate chargers were topped with gilded china to make the table feel extra special.
Locally Sourced Flowers
Make use of local blooms or those growing naturally in your yard by incorporating them into your décor. Here, dried flowers were pressed between pieces of acrylic to create a background for carefully-penned table numbers.
Ornate Sweetheart Table
Make your reception extra special (and feel like date night!) with a beautiful sweetheart table. For an autumnal celebration, burnt orange and brown-hued blooms were arranged by Enchanted Garden Floral Design to great a golden arch around the bride and groom. You can even set it up on the stand used for your ceremony alter to make the most of your space and your decorative details.
Fun Escort Cards Display
Even if your guest list is small, a surefire way to make your wedding feel grand is by adding a beautiful escort card display, like this one from Love This Way.
These colorful cocktails, created by Omni Catering, allowed guests to imbibe whenever they pleased. Plus, they're an easy and cost-effective way to ensure no one goes thirsty. For a backyard wedding, ordering extra glassware is always the way to go—you may not have extra staff available to clear and wash glasses between each use like you would at a traditional venue.
If you've been dreaming of a casual backyard wedding, passed bites—like these mini tacos by Roomforty—are a great idea.
Simple and Sweet
If a more minimal aesthetic is what you're aiming for, plan to serve a simple wedding cake. This one by The Sugar Shack was iced in vanilla buttercream with a light stone texture, which nodded to the couple's stone-laden venue.
Beat the Heat
While guests can escape inside the house to beat the heat, you likely don't have room to accommodate everyone—plus, the party is happening outside! An easy way to help keep everyone comfortable is to add fans to each guests' seat. Place the ceremony program atop the fan (this one shows the family crest made by watercolor artist and calligrapher Cami Monet) to tie everything together.
Bring the Indoors Out
Ensure guests have a place to relax at your backyard wedding reception by bringing in luxe seating. This lounge furniture in shades of pink, ivory, and blue from Tufts and Toile created cozy seating areas.
No shoes? No problem! Tap into your inner boho bride and feel the cold grass beneath your feet as you dance the night away in your backyard. Just be sure the area is cleared of sticks and anything sharp that nature has to offer.
Everyone loves a Champagne tower, but the overflowing bubbles are often frowned upon at traditional venues. When you're tying the knot at home, all you need is a tray to catch the overflowing Champagne and plenty of the chilled stuff on hand. And with a guest list that's likely a bit smaller, as was the case at this couple's wedding, building the tower is a lot simpler. The result, however, is just as photo-worthy.
Fun and Games
Amp up the fun at your backyard soirée with some interactive outdoor games. It'll take the pressure off of guests that don't want to dance and can double as an ice breaker.
Create a Backdrop
If your neighbor's home isn't a part of your wedding-day vision, adding a canvas backdrop (like this one by JRD Artshop) to your ceremony will not only block prying eyes, but it'll also help set a picture-perfect scene.
Another way to nod at your at-home venue is by having an artist recreate the scene on the wedding programs. They double as a gorgeous keepsake, as evidenced by these gorgeous paper goods created for a wedding planned by Sarah Park Events.
Bold Color Combinations
Go bold and textural for your backyard wedding's tablescape—when the only competing décor is natural scenery, the sky really is the limit.
Divide and Conquer
Backyard weddings can often feel like one big area, with nothing signifying where the ceremony ends and the reception begins. One way to visually break up the day is by creating a nook using a room divider swathed in fabric. The event planner for this wedding, Iann Ivy, added a bar cart with the couple's Mijji Cakes cake to make the most out of the space, but it could also serve as a bar, escort card area, or makeshift photo booth.
Charcuterie Board Delights
With a laid-back fête brings an opportunity for laid back bites. Few people can pass up a charcuterie board, and when you're tying the knot at home, there's no limit on what you can do with yours. Yuta Restaurant put together this spread, but consider working with a caterer to design mini versions for each guest in attendance at your celebration—this works especially well for a micro wedding.
Everyone loves Champagne at a wedding, but no one wants to end up with multiple half-finished bottles once the reception is over. Opt for individual servings of Champagne, beer, and wine for your backyard wedding reception, which works well in light of COVID-19, but is also a great alternative to hire a bartender for any small-scale celebration.
Use Existing Garden Features
A backyard wedding means that you can make use of the details you already love about your outdoor space, which is a much more organic design decision than competing with what's there. Renny & Reed created this lattice structure for an outdoor party that played up the area's existing design.
Raise the Bar
A backyard wedding does not need to be small. If you have the space, use it! Build (or rent) a bar, just like this one dreamed up by Holm Collective, for an unforgettable evening.
Dance Floor Moment
If your backyard has a patio or deck, use it as the dance floor for your first dance. Firm ground makes it easier for you and your guests to dance, but it'll also serve as a photo-worthy backdrop.
If your backyard party is more of an elopement, especially in light of COVID-19, a small wedding cake should do the trick. This one, by Mr. and Mrs. Creamery, featured a single-tier of buttermilk cake and was filled with yuzu and blueberries.
Asymmetrical floral arches like these, which were created for a backyard wedding planned by Courtney Scott, are easier to move around than a larger, grounded display. That means setup, mid-party décor adjustments, and breakdown are all a breeze.
Photograph Table Numbers
Backyard weddings allow for even more personalization opportunities, not just because you have freedom over what you do, but because they're often associated with smaller guest lists. Use photographs of you with your guests, you and your soon-to-be-spouse, or even other family members' wedding photos as table numbers for a meaningful touch.
If you have a covered deck or patio in your backyard, add chic linens, like Heather Rice Events did here, to transform the area into an outdoor room. The result is a luxe, private-feeling reception.
Backyard weddings often open the door for nontraditional details, like personal wedding cakes for each guests. Forego the large three-tiered treat, especially in light of the ongoing pandemic, and order mini ones, like these petite treats by Nadia and Co., instead.