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Your Ultimate Guide to Backyard Outdoor Weddings

Your Ultimate Guide to Backyard Outdoor Weddings
By RST Brands
December 31, 2021

We’ll walk you through 10 key checklist items involved in planning a backyard outdoor wedding. Each part comes with insightful ideas to help your big day to be unforgettable.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

1. Choose the Right Date and Time

The key to planning the right backyard wedding is to use the natural surroundings to establish the right vibe. A large part of this requires setting your date during the right season and time of day. After all, you want your guests to feel comfortable outdoors.

Take a look at the ideal months and times to consider having your outdoor backyard wedding.


The following seasons and months are just mild enough that your guests won’t be freezing or sweating throughout the ceremony and reception:

  • Spring: March and April
  • Summer: June (though for some areas this month might not be ideal)
  • Fall: September and October

Time of Day

A mid to late afternoon start time is perfect for an intimate backyard wedding. For example, the ceremony might start at 3:30 pm followed by the reception at 5:00. Guests can indulge in a nice meal and mingle with others while enjoying the sunset. If you’re doing a summer wedding, you’ll want to have a later start time since the sun sets later.

2. Guest List

It’s helpful to sort out your guest list before diving into the logistical aspects of how to plan your backyard wedding. That way, you can map out exactly how many chairs, tables, and other items you’ll need.

Not to mention, planning the guest list first can help you avoid accidentally overbooking for the amount of space your backyard can accommodate (people need room to breathe!). Make your list of guests and decide if you have enough space for everyone. If it seems like it might be tight, start trimming down the list.

A general rule is that you need “6 to 10 square feet of floor space per guest” for seating purposes. You can also consult with professional event planners about your guest list and space requirements.

Family and friends will love spending time on your 6 Piece Sectional with coral accents

3. Lounge Area

If you’ve got a nice tree or pergola in the backyard, you can set up a cozy lounge area beneath it. Here are a few fun ideas for creating the perfect lounge space:

  • Decorated accent tables. If you’re going for a boho feel for your summer wedding, opt for some gold or wooden accent and side tables with brightly colored tulle on them (think oranges and pinks!). Don’t forget to add some flower arrangements to the tables for an elegant pop.

    If you’re going for a chic and romantic vibe in the fall, you can select some black accent tables with floral arrangements like white lilies or hydrangeas. You can drape some white tulle around the tables for a sweet, dreamy feel.
  • Outdoor sofas and chairs. Look into some outdoor sofas and sectional sets to provide your guests with areas to sit and relax. Try mixing and matching different colors and sectional sets together for an eclectic look, or stick to one color tone if you’re going for a more elegant vibe.
  • Hammocks. Hammocks can lighten up your lounge area and add in some fun and relaxation. They’ll especially come in handy during a long night of dancing! Your guests can plop on the hammocks in between songs and hang out with their loved ones or even take a nap.
  • Yard games. Not everyone is a dancing enthusiast, and that’s okay! To accommodate these guests (including kids), you can add yard games like cornhole and giant Connect Four or Jenga to provide a nice variety of activities for every age. Games can especially come in handy during the break between the ceremony and reception.
  • Blankets. If it gets chilly at night, put some throw blankets on the sofas to help your guests feel nice and cozy. Even if they don’t use them, the blankets can serve as nice decor.
  • Fans. Whether the sun hits a little too hard or your guests feel a bit hot after a few drinks, fans will always come in handy and give people a nice breather.
  • Fairy lights. Hang some fairy lights above your lounge area. You can also drape them around your accent tables and furniture. When the sun starts to set, flick on the lights, and you’ll have an even warmer and more cheerful ambiance.

4. Gift and Guest Book Table

A guest book encourages your guests to share memories, and a gift table becomes a beautiful decorative display of their love for you and your partner. Ideally, the guest book table should be at the entrance of your backyard for guests to sign on their way in, and the gift table should be nearby as well so they can easily leave gifts as they pass by. Some ideas for the guest book and gift table include:

  • Photo displays. Shower this area with pictures of you and your spouse. You can set up framed photos in various sizes on the table, or you can DIY a creative photo display like a rustic wooden display board. Feel free to add some more personal touches mixed in with the photos. For example, if you and your future spouse have traveled quite a bit together, you can add some of your favorite travel mementos.
  • Gift baskets. Set up some cute baskets where guests can drop off their wedding cards and gifts for the newlyweds on the gift table.
  • Guest booklet. Have a booklet where guests can sign their names and leave a thoughtful note. You could also have a disposable camera available so guests can take photos of their group and add them to the booklet. These will serve as poignant memories of your big day.
  • Reception seating assignments. Have a chart or note cards with guest names and table numbers at the entrance. That way, they’ll know exactly where to go following the ceremony.

5. Ceremony Space

This space is all about you and your loved one. Make it intimate, fun, and comfortable! Here are a few ideas on how to make it your own:

  • Chairs. When renting or purchasing chairs, give them a test sit to make sure they’re comfortable. You don't want people to remember how uncomfortable their chairs were when they think about your wedding. Lay your chairs out in rows, making room for an aisle.
  • Backdrop stand. A beautiful backdrop can really pull everything together as you stand in front of it to exchange your vows. You can DIY a simple backdrop by putting together some wood slabs and draping them with twinkly lights, fabric, and flowers. If you aren’t feeling crafty or don’t have the time, you can always rent or purchase one.
  • Decor down the aisle. Adorn the aisle way with flower arrangements, or add plants to small mason jars and tie them to the aisle chairs. You can sprinkle flower petals down the aisle or put out some pretty rugs.
  • Confetti poppers on each seat. Leave some fun confetti poppers on all of the chairs. That way, after you and your partner officially tie the knot, you can walk through an aisle filled with a magical concoction of color and glitter.

Give your patio an additional surface with this cozy side table

6. Reception Space

Wedding receptions are all about mingling, dining, dancing, and drinking with your family and friends. It’s essential to make your reception area spacious enough to accommodate your guests and aesthetically pleasing to create a nice ambiance. Your reception space might include:

  • A dance floor. Help your loved ones bust out their best dance moves by renting a dance floor. “There should be at least three square feet of dance floor space for every two guests.” If you have uneven ground, professionals can assess the type of foundation you need to lay underneath the floor.
  • Rugs/mats. If you don’t want to rent a dance floor, or you want to help your guests walk around just a bit smoother, consider laying out some pretty rugs and mats. It can give your wedding space a nice avant-garde feel.
  • Elegant outdoor tables for dining. Find some outdoor dining tables for your guests to eat on. Depending on the number of guests and the space you have, you might want to move your tables together to create one long table or an L-shaped dining space. Drape some nice table cloths on them, and don’t forget to add some centerpieces and place tags to help your guests feel special.

You should use some of the same decor elements you use for your lounge in your reception space. That way, you can create a cohesive design and theme for your wedding.

7. Dessert and Drink Bar

There is no wedding without desserts and drinks! To really bring your A-game to the wedding, have a dessert and drink bar. You can put them together or separate them, depending on how much space you have.

  • Desserts. Cover one table with an assortment of desserts. These desserts can include treats that you and your partner enjoy. Or, you can stick to one type of dessert, like ice cream sundaes with all your favorite mix-ins and toppings. Put your wedding cake in the center for a more grand dessert table feel.
  • Drinks. You can either have a variety of store-bought drinks (sodas, beer, wine, etc.) laid out in ice buckets on a table or hire a bartender who can create some fun cocktails for guests. If you go with the latter, work with your bartender to create a personalized menu of cocktails for the night. They can have some fun names like “Bloody Marry Me” (a bloody Mary) or “Apple of My Eye” (a hard apple cider).

If you have enough space, you can also set up some outdoor bar furniture to give additional areas for your guests to lounge and enjoy their treats.

8. Landscape

Once you have a good idea of the space you need for your lounge, ceremony, reception, and dessert and drink bar, make sure the remaining areas look good. This might involve some landscaping, so you may want to hire someone to clear up the space and make your flowers and trees look well kept and extra pretty.

Create shade for your guests to get out of the sun with a stunning 12ft Umbrella

9. Have a Rain Plan

Even if you plan your wedding during the summer, unexpected rainy days can happen. you and your guests can comfortably hang out underneath. Trust us, having a plan for inclement weather will give you peace of mind. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Tents. Rent out tents big enough to cover your ceremony and reception spaces. If you see rain in the forecast the week of your wedding, set them up beforehand.
  • Patio umbrellas. For smaller areas like your dessert and drink bar or lounge area, consider getting some nice and durable patio umbrellas. You may even be able to choose an umbrella color that fits with your wedding decor.
  • Individual umbrellas. Have some individual umbrellas (in complementary colors) available to help your guests get around your backyard comfortably.

10. Other Things to Consider

There are some other extraneous yet critical items to consider for your backyard outdoor wedding. We weren’t sure how to categorize these, to be honest, hence this extra section. Regardless, you made it down here, so we’re leaving you with some additional parting advice:

  • Bathrooms. No one wants to go to an event where there are two bathrooms for thirty or more people. Prioritize your guests by renting restroom trailers with nice touches like pretty floras, toiletries, and candles.
  • Power generator. You’ll be using a lot of power from your fairy lights, microphones, speakers, and music. Look into some reputable rental companies that can rent you a power generator and other miscellaneous electrical items you might need.
  • Heel stoppers. If your wedding is taking place on grass, tell your guests in advance so they can dress accordingly. You can also provide your guests with heel stoppers as part of their party favor.


Check Out RST Brands for Outdoor Furniture Options

Having options when planning your wedding is crucial in finding a look and feel you and your guests will love and appreciate forever. Check out RST Brands’ outdoor furniture options to help inspire more backyard wedding ideas. We’ve got some of the best weather-resistant patio furniture available to help bring your vision to life.