When you begin planning your wedding, one of the first decisions you will make is based on your style. Will you have a traditional church wedding? A rustic barn theme? Elegant ballroom? Indoor? Outdoor? There are so many different options these days — choices that will reflect your unique personality and vision. After this big decision is made, the next step is choosing the perfect venue that reflects your style.
If you decide on an outdoor wedding — the next choice you will find yourself makings using a venue vs. hosting your wedding on personal property. In our opinion, there are definite pros and cons to each.
A “Backyard Wedding”
A “Backyard Wedding” is essentially a wedding held on private property belonging to yourself, your family, or a friend. This option usually comes into play when couples either have a unique space they have always loved, or find themselves on a tight budget.
Here are what we think are the biggest pros to a backyard wedding:
Budget — Your budget is always going to be one of the leading decision makers in your wedding planning process. If you have the opportunity to host your wedding on someone’s property for free, this can obviously be a cheaper option. We do advise you to be cautious with this decision though and do your research first! You may find that it is much more expensive than you anticipate — we will say more on this later.
A Sentimental Choice — The location of your wedding should feel special. It will be a huge part of your love story. Choosing to get married on a property that already holds meaning to you will obviously make it feel even more special.
Less Guidelines — There is no contract! There is no list of rules you have to follow, likely no time restrictions, and overall more flexibility. If signing and sticking to a contract scares you — or if you have a vision that doesn’t fit into the confines of a professional business — then hosting on private property might be your best option.
Of course with the pros, also come the cons.
Pressure on Your Family: Hosting on personal property leaves A LOT of responsibility on you and your family. All of the details of your day will have to be taken care of my family/friends or hired out to a planning service. This will include setting up, tearing down, directing vendors and guests, decorating, etc. If you want your guests to feel like GUESTS, then hosting a “Backyard Wedding” might not be the best fit for you as they will have a lot of work to do before and after the event.
Property Maintenance: There is a lot of work that goes into getting a property “wedding ready.” That responsibility will have to fall on you or the property owner. Some things that might be involved are updating landscaping, mowing, spraying for bugs, establishing a parking area, clearing a large enough area, etc.
Stress: Again, there is a lot that goes into preparing for a wedding. The more responsibilities put on you and your family, the more stressful your wedding day becomes.
Facilities: More logistics. Something as simple as restrooms may help you make your decision. Does the property have enough restrooms for your guests? Are the owners okay with people coming into their home? Will you have to rent portable restrooms? For some, this is a deal-breaker. For others, it will just be an added expense. On the same page, make sure electrical is available as well. Will you have to bring in generators? Extension cords? Is there enough electricity for efficient lighting as well as your DJ/music needs? Don’t forget to add these things into your budget. Lastly, make sure you consider parking. Always be sure there is enough parking available for all your guests.
Lack of Guidance: All of the decisions in wedding planning can become overwhelming. Just looking at the list above can become stressful. Unless weddings have been done on the property in the past, you may just feel at a loss of where to even start.
Rentals: We mentioned restroom rentals, but also make sure you take into account all the rental items you will need to host your wedding. This may include a tent, tables, chairs, linens, etc. The more rentals you need, the higher the cost. This adds up — and fast.
Overall — just be sure to have a comprehensive list of all of your needs when putting together your “Backyard Wedding” budget. You may be surprised at how quickly it adds up. If your budget is the only reason you are hosting your wedding on private property, at least make sure you reach out to local venues to see if there is another financially similar option. If your choice is made based more on emotional and sentimental reasons, use the list above as well as other planning tools to help you in the wedding planning process!
An “Outdoor Venue”
Now that we have discussed what a backyard wedding is and what it entails, let’s compare it to using an outdoor wedding venue instead of personal property.
We won’t bore you with redundancy, but of course a lot of the pros/cons of using a professional outdoor wedding venue are going to be the opposite of the pros/cons of a backyard wedding.
Professionals Available: This is one of the biggest pros in our opinion. Hiring a venue usually means hiring a staff as well (we advise you to make sure that it does!). This will typically at least include someone on-site to answer any venue related topics such as where electrical hookups are, where guests should gather, assist with vendor questions, etc. Some venues (like Bailey’s Place!) will even have additional staff to handle your set up, tear down, and even decorating and coordinating options as well. Having professionals to take care of these details rather than depending on family will hugely reduce your wedding-day stress.
Property Maintenance: We discussed before all that can go into preparing a property for a wedding. At a venue, that responsibility obviously falls on the venue. They should be taking care of all the landscaping, mowing, maintenance, spraying for bugs, etc. What a relief!
Rentals Included: This will vary by venue as well, but most venues will have tables/chairs/tent included in their pricing. If they don’t, then make sure you ask about those costs — but we recommend finding a venue that does (and even sets everything up)!
Guests are GUESTS: Self-explanatory. Your guests get the luxury of being a guest and not responsible for working at your wedding.
Facilities: Restrooms, electrical, parking, etc. Taken care of!
Additional Perks: Varying by venue, there are a lot of other perks that come with using a wedding venue including bridal suites, decorations, vendor recommendations, assistance in planning, and a property designed for weddings!
But it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t mention…
Budget: With the above pros, does come a cost. Venues do have to add into their fees staffing, maintenance, insurance, etc. If you budget is very strict, your only option may be to rely on your friends/family instead. If that is the case, I am sure they will be more than happy to help and make your wedding dreams come true!
Guidelines: Venues will have guidelines and contracts that you must follow. This will include rental timeframes, food and alcohol restrictions, max capacities, and more. If you want to maximize your freedom with decisions, using a private property might be the best choice you can make.
Which will you choose?
We obviously love an outdoor wedding — backyard or at a venue! Whatever choice you go with, make sure you do your research and prepare — and choose something that feels special to you!
Have you found yourself overwhelmed with wedding planning? Are you engaged but simply READY to be married? Long engagements are great and give you ample time to celebrate and plan — but short engagements have their pros too! They are often more budget friendly as you can find last-minute deals — and you will also be married sooner and can begin building your life together!
We don’t claim for this to be an all-inclusive list of everything you need to do. But we do think it is full of information to help make the process more enjoyable. Keep these tips in mind when planning your wedding in 6 months — or less!
1. Set Your Budget
Always, always, always start the wedding planning process with setting your budget. Know exactly how much you are comfortable spending and make a list of priorities to ensure you stay on track. What is most important to you for your wedding? Having a formal 3 course meal? A beautiful venue? An open bar? A large guest list? Decor? This list will differ from couple to couple and your distinct priorities will make your wedding individual to you. You should know ahead of time the general price point of the venues you tour, caterers you interview, and florists you contact. Don’t waste your time with vendors who do not align with your budget and priorities. You do not want to fall in love with something and then blow your budget securing only one aspect of your wedding.
2. Book Your Venue
As with all wedding planning, booking your venue is very often your very first task (short from setting a budget). Booking your venue is essential in securing your date and can be extremely helpful in finalizing your theme and giving your general aesthetic a more distinct direction.
When you are exploring your venue options — keep in mind the size of venue and the packages that they offer. If you are planning on a quicker engagement, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, be prepared to be open to Friday, Sunday, or even weekday events. Some venues (especially in bigger cities) book years in advance. However, they often have availability on less traditional wedding days. This might seem weird to you at first, but when you are marrying the love of your life surrounded by your family and friends, the day of the week won’t seem to matter. Next, a more intimate affair is going to be your best bet. Find a venue that offers smaller event packages. These will be (a lot) easier on your budget, and a lot easier to plan. A smaller guest list will make it easier to find a caterer with availability, collect decor for your event, and will have a huge impact on your overall budget.
When it comes to planning on a quick timeline, you should also consider including as many “amenities” as you can that your venue has to offer. Checking off as many tasks in one place will ease your stress and simplify the process. If they offer catering, coordination, decor, florals, etc. (and their offerings fit your budget and style) — then book them upfront! That will free up your time to focus on other aspects of the planning process.
3. Find an Officiant
Contact your minister (or ordained family member/friend) ASAP with your wedding date. If having a specific person marry you is a high priority, make sure you move this to step two. If you are more flexible, have a few options on your list and secure your date with them as soon as possible. They may also require pre-marriage meetings, so make sure you get those scheduled right away as well.
4. Bridal Party Attire
Another way to reduce the stress of planning a wedding quickly, is letting your bridal party choose their own attire. Give them any specifications that are important to you such as length of dress, color scheme, etc. and then trust them to find something that matches your vision. This can go for bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ushers, etc. Letting them choose their own clothing will take that stress off of you — and you can always ask for them to finalize decisions with you as well. This route also allows them more flexibility to buy off-the-rack and eliminate the need for alterations which often take a few weeks to a few months to get back.
5. Skip It If You Can
Some wedding planning timelines have 18 months worth of steps — sometimes accumulating over 100 tasks. This can be overwhelming even with a year and a half to complete them. Shorten that to a few months and it is near impossible. Our advice? Skip it if you can! (Honestly, this is sometimes our blanket advice to our clients.)
When planning a wedding in just a few months, save the dates are not really necessary as the date itself is right around the corner. Invitations may not be either. We think it is completely acceptable to use your wedding website to invite guests as well as collect their RSVPs. Explain the circumstances and your family and friends will understand. This will save you the hassle of designing and sending invitations and awaiting replies. It can help you to get final counts quicker and in a simpler way. Just be prepared to give some of your guests a call and make sure they saw their invitation via your website or email and walk them through how to respond if it is new to them.
Other things you may choose to skip? Wedding favors, programs, individualized menu options, photo slideshows, or anything else you feel is unnecessary.
6. Buy Your Dress Off the Rack
Dress shopping is often one of the most special moments in wedding planning. You get to surround yourself with important women in your life, feel beautiful, and imagine yourself on your wedding day. We never recommend skipping the shopping process or simply ordering your dress offline. Dress shopping is a tradition that we feel every bride should get to experience. We do suggest, however, letting the boutique know that you are shopping for only off-the-rack dresses. Having a custom dress made or even awaiting alterations can take months. Buying off the rack will allow you to take the dress with you and check yet another task off. It also doesn’t mean giving up on style or your vision — you may just have to try on a few more selections — which is always fun!
7. Book Your Vendors
Again, starting with a firm and clear budget is essential in the wedding planning process. It will allow you to easily narrow down your search and make final decisions in securing your wedding-day vendor team.
Florist: You may want to find a florist who offers smaller packages (bouquets and boutonnieres) for your wedding. If full florals, arches, centerpieces, and decor are a priority for you — then feel free to splurge here! It may just be a little harder to find a florist with short-term availability.
Catering: You should quickly start contacting caterers to see who is available on your wedding day. Once you have decided on decisions like buffet vs. served meals, Italian vs. chicken and sides, etc. then focus on finding a caterer who is available and has your menu choices available. It is also becoming more and more popular to have a less-traditional reception including dessert and drinks only, a cocktail style spread, or a brunch wedding.
DJ: Again, always keep your budget and availability in mind. Book your DJ as soon as you can.
Dessert and Drinks: Lastly, but of course not least, make a decision on what dessert options you will have available as well as drinks. Will it be an open bar? Dry wedding? Cash bar? Make the decision and find a baker/bar service that has availability ASAP.
Once you have all the big ticket items in place (guest list, venue, food, drinks, dress, DJ, and florals) then you can free yourself up to focus on the smaller details. Make sure you have a plan in place for decor, buy gifts for anyone you feel necessary, create a seating chart, and plan your timeline for the ceremony and reception. Make sure you take a peek at full year planning timelines to ensure you have tackled all the big tasks. And always remember to enjoy the process!
When I first met David, I knew he was the one. He proposed to me on our 2-year anniversary by recreating a painting I did for him on one of our first dates. It was the most magical day for me and I wanted our wedding to be just as magical. Both of our families could not be happier and the count down for the big day began. Finally, after a year wait, our big day was here. Our wedding day was everything we dreamed of and more. It was so important to me to show both of our personalities during our ceremony and I was able to do that with Baily’s Place. Baily’s Place captures David’s love for history with the cabin and my love for the outdoors. We shared our first look under the beautiful pine trees as we both smiled with joy and tears. As I made my way down the aisle and captured my future husband at the end, I was overwhelmed with joy. The sun shining through the tall trees made everything feel like a dream. I felt like all my prayers were answered in the man that was waiting for me at the altar. My heart will always be full of gratefulness for getting to share this special day with all of our friends and family. Most of all, we were so thankful to have a venue that was made our wedding feel like such a fairytale. Our wedding day was perfect and will forever be etched in our hearts and I am so thankful to have a video to capture it all.
How do you follow up a magical Disney proposal, secretly planned and executed in front of your family? Planning your dream wedding can be overwhelming, but when you are surrounded by your family and friends from the moment you say “Yes,” somehow a magical wedding takes shape and your dreams all come true.
Throughout the planning process, Adriann said she would get butterflies just thinking about all the details and how they would come together on their special day. She knew how “effortlessly romantic” the venue was and how easily her own personal wedding style would fit. Planning an October wedding comes with the chance of, well — October weather. Through it was unexpectedly cold, she told that us “everything was perfect. I smile every time I think about it.” One of her favorite memories from the day was after a cold a windy ceremony, the sun broke through the clouds and shined on them, as they walked down the aisle hand in hand, finally as husband and wife. She shared that there were an array of “favorite moments” throughout the day and night but she especially loved the little, intimate moments shared with her family and friends as she got ready. She felt lucky to have everyone that means something to her in the same place to celebrate their special day. From their magical proposal to the day they said “I do” they were surrounded by love and support.
A year later, Kyle and Adriann have bought their first house and have spent a lot of time turning it into their home – a home in which they hope to start and raise a family. We can’t wait to watch their love and family grow. We feel blessed to call them part of our Bailey’s Place family, and our family-family as well! ❤
Our wedding was definitely a special day that I’ll never forget! My in-laws created the most beautiful space for a romantic ceremony in the woods. Tyler and I were so lucky to have all the help from the family to make that day so perfect! I remember when I made my way down that aisle with my dad, I felt like I was in a fairytale. One of my favorite memories from that day was when the wind blew through the trees and leaves were sprinkling down, as my future husband walked up to the alter. It was magical!
Bailey’s Place will always hold a special place in our hearts. I love that it’s a place where we can come back to host all the special events in our life. Like, this past year we were able to have our baby shower there! We welcomed our first child in November and I love that we have this place where our love story began and we can come back to share with our growing family!
They say every girl dreams of her wedding day. I am not sure if that is true, but it is for me. I always knew what I wanted — to marry the man of my dreams at a simple, sweet, and beautiful ceremony — surrounded by my closest family and friends. When my (then future) in laws purchased the cabin, it was in no shape to be sweet and beautiful, but as cleanup and renovations progressed, so did the visions for my future wedding. As they cleared the brush and brought this cabin back to life, I knew it was the perfect place to marry their son. It was not yet a “venue,” the grass was not yet full and their was no indicated space for a ceremony, but we knew with our vision it would be just what I had hoped for — simple, sweet, and beautiful. My husband and I took our vows in his parents backyard (where the grass was full), surrounded by our closest family and friends. We then invited them to join us at the cabin for our reception. A tent was put up, lights were strung from the trees, yard games were brought out, food was catered and served from the cabin, and we celebrated our marriage in the most perfect way. Our day was flawless from start to finish. I now feel honored to get the chance to share this space with future brides. I hope that you see Bailey’s Place for what it is and if it is the perfect place for your special day, we can’t wait to celebrate with you!