Ever thought you’d like to have a backyard wedding and wondered where to start? Our friend and reader’s daughter Jan asked if she could borrow our backyard to create the woodland themed wedding of her dreams. We happily obliged, and couldn’t be happier with how it all fell into place for this Practically Perfect fall wedding. Follow the steps along the 3P path to convert a home into a venue, and a dream into reality. Our bride, the families, and guests enjoyed a beautiful night to eat, drink, and be married!
* Converting your home to a venue + things to consider: When transforming your home into a wedding venue, there are certain pieces of the nuptial puzzle to consider, and to include in your budget:
– Electrical: When hosting a wedding, everything needs to be powered up properly….from the lighting, to the DJ, food and beverage stations, decor and more. Gathering your power needs and discussing them with an electrician will prepare you for a no-fail power plan! No stressing over blackouts on your white wedding day!
– Landscaping: Teamwork is essential! First walk the walk with your bride & groom deciding on entrances and exits, then talk the talk with your gardener or landscaper if needed.
– Get a “clean sweep” on things pre-wedding by setting a date for a “cleaning party” with friends, family, bridal party and maybe even a professional service (if it’s in the budget) to help prep the property. By setting up a station for hydration, snacks and refreshments…we kept the vibe lively and everything running smoothly. We were relaxing with a pizza party by 3pm…and just like the night before Christmas, we gave the couple a pre-wedding gift and were surprised with a thoughtful gift from them for hosting! They were delighted with their photo frame and shadow-box to feature fab wedding photos and cherished keepsakes!
– Verify Your Valet Plan: Be sure to get the blessing from your neighbors before the party, and arrange for parking nearby that won’t nag the neighborhood. A little gift can also go a long way, our bride provided a gift to a nearby neighbor that donated a lot to the cause…giving us parking perfection! Also have a “just in case” plan for party-goers that need a safe ride home. Party buses are a sensational safety option. (You can even arrange for a really sweet ride for the groom and bride!) We chose Parking Solutions for our valet needs, and they were fantastic.
– Rest Assured That Restrooms are Cared For: Make a list of necessities, and double it per your headcount. If you’re expecting 70 guests, prep your powder rooms for 140 when stocking up to keep them in tip top shape. Disposable towels, TP, pump soap, disinfecting wipes, along with signage are your go-to’s when guests have to go. VIP Porta-potties can also be rented in pinch!
2. Do-It-Yourself Decor the Day Before: Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue flowed in prior to the big day. Borrowed tables/chairs, rental linens, coordinating blue bows, new lumineers and more! This gave time for signs to be placed, centerpieces to be planned, and tables to be tucked into their spots. Our mother-in-law to be arrived the morning of, to add fabulous finishing touches on centerpieces, the caterers completed their masterpieces, and we actually had some PEACE before the party began! The bridal party was also thoughtful enough to hire an on-site event planner, our friend and reader Julie who professionally pitched in so that we could relax and enjoy the big day too.
– In Favor of Flavorful Favors: Our crafty bride to be shared “S’more love” with her guests by gifting a DIY, take home edible favor! With 3×3 inch boxes purchased from www.papermart.com, custom tags from www.etsy.com, and sweets from Sam’s Club…the bride and her assembly line of family and friends whipped up these fluffy mementos in no time.
– Signage Success: Our signage was chalkboard-chic and hand-written by the bride! We chalked this up to our bride’s impeccable penmanship and creativity, adding a special touch and a warm welcome with light hearted guidance to direct guests. She inspired us to include this DIY in our next 3P party as it personalized things, while saving pennies.
While not quite as nice as our bride’s handwriting, we quickly crafted up a few much-needed reserved signs for special tables. By creating a downloadable printable that’s easily Glue-Dot-able to a cute brown bag dressed up with raffeta…we again saved the big bucks (and the primo seats) for the family! Download your own harvest-style printable HERE!
– Awesome Autumn Centerpieces and Decor Took Center-stage: Mason jar candles with matching florals and tiger pumpkins tied together the woodland theme. Family photos, LED lights, and additional pumpkins placed perfectly through out! Our blushing bride used her crafty touch to prepare many items with love before the event, from the cocktail areas to the cake display!
3. Choosing the correct caterer: Our bride chose Diamond Events, and they were a delight! The day before; Owner Chef Maurice and his team arrived on time to set-up, arrange additional lighting, plan for food prep and stations, designate the DJ booth, coordinate the cake and more. All bases were covered and communication was on-point!
4. Action Timeline + Safety Precautions: With every event…an action timeline is a MUST HAVE key, as well as guidelines and safety precautions. When every member of the team is on-track, details no longer slip through the cracks, stress in minimized, and questions are answered promptly. Safety arrangements, guidelines and insurance checklists tie into your timeline and must be followed to ensure a good time is had by all! When everyone checks in and checks off the timeline, including the Mr. & Mrs…everyone can enjoy a fairytale evening at a residence without stress.
5. Simply Glam it Up and Easily Tear It Down: Much like Cinderella after the ball, our gorgeous backyard oasis was restored by midnight…within an HOUR post-party! The clock struck, the families and bridal teams pitched in after a long emotional day, and everything returned to normal. Even the pumpkins….LOL. Having boxes at the ready, vendors ready to move, and furniture safely stowed to re-assemble your home provides a gameplan to restore your happy habitat.
Congratulations Jan & Garrett, we had a ball with you borrowing our backyard!