In a world where inflation is wreaking havoc on everything and gas prices are on a constant rollercoaster ride we can totally understand the desire to find ways to cut costs. Considering a wedding is a one time event that shouldn't cost a fortune, it can be easy to fall into the mindset trap of "I can do it cheaper myself". But is that really true? And do you really want to?
Before you commit to the endeavor or turning your backyard into your venue, we want to take a moment to make sure you consider the 10 biggest obstacles that could steal your wedding day bliss. These things are so easily overlooked and can destroy your wedding day faster then the cost of catering.
Before we go any further, we want you to know that from venue to vendors our hearts desire is for you to find your perfect fit. If after reading this you still decide your perfect venue is your backyard, that's great! If you're considering your backyard because you just can't find a venue that's affordable, please keep reading! We'll show you how, even in the midst of rising costs, you can still afford a gorgeous venue with all its amenities for less than it would take for you to rent it all & do it yourself in your backyard ;).
Photo Credit: Rhiannon Mim Photography
(she's an amazing photographer!)
There are so many details that are so easily overlooked when it comes to the backyard wedding. These not only have the potential to steal your wedding day joy but also put major strain on other areas of your life long term. Maybe your parents have a friend with a lakehouse, or your grandparents cabin, or an aunt with a pretty yard. It all sounds easy and inexpensive right? All you'd have to do is order the tables, chairs & make a pretty arbor right?
But have you considered...
Do you have a city permit for your event? Most fire departments will want to do an inspection to make sure everything is in order in case there’s a fire or emergency. Is there a local noise ordinance that requires a permit or place restrictions on noise? The last thing you want is the local police and angry neighbors crashing your wedding.
Speaking of neighbors, how will they feel about a big event in their neighborhood? Is someone going to be mowing their lawn during your ceremony, or having a BBQ with their friends with the music turned up loud? Remember, whoever owns the backyard has to continue to live next to these people.
Does your homeowner's insurance cover a big event with third party vendors (catering trucks and trailers, DJ equipment, etc). Will you be required to get a supplemental policy for third party liability or do your vendors have their own insurance policies as well?
Is there room for parking 30-50 (or more!) cars plus vendors? Do you need to file for a permit to park cars along the street? Will there be a problem with your guests taking up your neighbors parking on the streets? Or will they be parking in a dirt field that creates dust, or worse, if it’s raining, your guests will have to walk through the mud?
Does the area for the ceremony and reception have enough space for all your guests? Is the ground level enough for chairs, tables, the dance floor. Your vendor team (catering, florist, DJ and so on) will need to check out the area where you will have them set up to see if it will work for their set up and equipment. Also, you'll need a lot of space (way more than you think!) to store & prep the floral displays, bar/beverage, desert & catering. What are you going to do with garbage? (hint: you'll likely need a big dumpster!)
6. Electrical Requirements:
Will your vendors (catering/DJ/ bar) have all have the room they need as well as the electrical power necessary for their equipment. Caterers and DJ’s require a lot of power for their equipment. You don’t want to be in the middle of your ceremony and everything shuts off - now the property owner has to leave the ceremony to go flip the breaker back on. Most homes cannot accommodate the amount of power necessary to light a tent or provide power for catering needs. You don't want to risk a power outage.
What if the weather takes a turn for the worst, will everyone need to fit indoors or will you have a tent? Is there covered space for the DJ and caterer to keep their equipment covered in case of rain or out of the heat? Stifling heat can pose just as many problems as rain. Do you have a plan to keep your guests safe in case of severe or dangerous weather or will they all need to leave?
Will your caterer have enough room to bring in a trailer? Will they be able to park close to the yard area to serve the food? What about the DJ? They bring a lot of heavy equipment. Do you have a place for the florist to keep the flowers fresh until the ceremony? What about the cake and deserts? Will they stay cool or melt in the sun? If you're thinking more of a 'potluck' style dinner, do you have enough cold storage space to ensure the food doesn't spoil - and somebody to coordinate / manage bringing the food out & putting it away??
9. Landscaping & Yard Maintenance:
A beautiful yard may take months of advance to prepare. From guests dancing on your lawn to vendors traipsing in and out, your home may take a bit of a beating. The expense of a landscaper, flowers & shrubs, and maintenance is a huge investment for a one time event.
10. Rental Costs:
A backyard wedding & reception requires tables, chairs, dance floor, linens, and other rental items to throw a party. If you're planning a potluck you'll also need dinnerware, napkins, place settings, an area for your bar and a tent. What about bathrooms? Figure at least two - three bathroom trips per guest. Since residential septic tanks can't handle that many flushes, portable bathrooms are a must. Is there a convenient place in the yard to be out of the way yet close by for your guests?
Let's take a quick look at what renting minimal equipment could look like for a guest count of 100. On today's date (1/3/23) the average cost of renting basic folding chairs is $1.75 per chair, round tables (seating up to 10) are $11 per table, rectangular tables (you'll need at least 6 for catering/bar/head table) is $10.50 per table, linens run about $12 per basic white linen, a dance floor is $700, and a tent will run you about $800. Add that all together and you're at a grand total of $2,090. Add tax, delivery, tent set up & portable restrooms and that puts you well over the cost of our Minimonie Experience of $2,500. Is the stress & headache really worth it? ;)
One of the most amazing things about choosing Grand Pend Oreille is we've already taken care of all of this and more. There are logistics even beyond this that our venue has already figured out and executed over a hundred times to help create the most incredible wedding experience for our couples and their guests.
The expense of rentals, set up, clean up, garbage, obtaining permits (if even possible), landscaping, additional insurance, dealing with unhappy neighbors, solving the needs of your vendors, and so many more headaches are why you might want to reconsider having a backyard wedding.
By the time you add it all up, not only will you save money and precious time by hiring a venue, you will eliminate the stress that comes from trying to do it all yourself. Don't forget that time is the most precious gift you can give on this day. And time is exactly what you and your closest loved ones sacrifice when you try to do it all yourself.
If it costs less than doing it yourself, why not let a venue take care of the event hosting so you can have the time to enjoy the day. For a very affordable alternative to a backyard wedding, make sure to check out our Minimonie Experience. This option gives you all the benefits of our Traditional Wedding Experience without the pricetag... priceless photo backdrops & over 1000' of shoreline included.
Once again, from venue to vendors we want you to find your perfect fit! We truly want only the best experience for every couple on their journey to 'I Do' and hope that this helps those who are contemplating that 'backyard wedding' experience.
If you feel we may be a perfect fit for you, take the next step and schedule a Venue Tour! We'd love to hear more about your story in person and learn how we may be a service to you in this incredible adventure to your forever together.
Enjoy the Journey,
Peggy & Susan
Grand Pend Oreille Weddings