How To Have the Perfect Backyard Wedding

These local wedding experts will help you create the wedding of your dreams.
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Pennsylvania’s gathering limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused many couples to push back their wedding day. However, some couples who are set on their 2020 nuptials are deciding to move their weddings somewhere more personal: their back yard. 

This may seem like a daunting task because the venue needs to be built from the ground up, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be the wedding of a couple’s dreams.  

The most important thing to think about when planning a backyard wedding is the extra amenities that you may have to secure. The first thing on your list should be a tent, according to Kristin Maher, the production manager at ILLUME Lighting and Event Design, so there is a backup plan in case of inclement weather. Additional items include generators, tables, chairs, flooring if your yard isn’t completely flat and extra restrooms. 

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“You are essentially building a venue,” says Victoria Deardorff, owner and editor of Burgh Brides. “When you think of traditional wedding venues, like a hotel or a ballroom, there are certain amenities that are built-in, things like electricity, restrooms, full-service kitchens, parking. These things don’t come with a back yard.”

Both Maher and Deardorff recommend getting a wedding planner or a day-of coordinator to help. Maher says that she and her partner Chris Ubinger, the founder of ILLUME, have worked with more planners this year than in the past. 

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“This is where hiring a wedding planner, or even a day-of coordinator will be worth every single penny,” says Deardorff. “They know what questions to ask, and they know which vendors to work with in order to make this happen quickly and seamlessly.”

While planning a backyard wedding may include more attention to details, the best news is that you shouldn’t have to push your nuptials back to a later date. 

“There is some more time that goes into it because you’re having to coordinate your own stuff. Where if you go into a venue most often the caterers are there, the chairs are there, everything is on-site, and that [venue] coordinator will handle a lot of that,” says Maher. 

While couples are pivoting their venues, Maher says that ILLUME has also begun offering a more rounded service to their clients, in addition to their original lighting and draping services. Now they are offering décor services and pulling from their vendor pool to supply clients.

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“[We] work so closely with so many of our couples and so many other vendors that we’ve all kind of banded together to do what we can to make sure these people can move forward with their wedding,” says Maher. 

Deardorff and Maher both agree that having a backyard wedding is a special experience. While your guest list may be smaller, you are getting to spend the day with the people who mean the most to you in a distinctive space. 

“Couples are able to take an ordinary space that may have some special memories to them, and turn them into a place that plays host to a once in a lifetime event,” says Deardorff. “For example, perhaps a back yard where they played as children, where their swing set was, maybe where they played catch with their dad and all of a sudden, in that very same spot, they’re having their first dance with their spouse.”

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