So should you do it? There are many good reasons to marry in your backyard, including the special memory that will come to mind every time you look at the place where it all happened.
Before you decide, consider this:
- Position chairs in the shade for the ceremony.
- Provide water packed in ice buckets in a few key places.
- Use fans
- Hand-held can do double-duty by printing your programs on cardstock and giving them a wooden handle.
- Large fans (with misters?) can be rented for the day. Obtain enough of them to place strategically in each corner of the ceremony space.
- Buy or borrow a few chimineas or consider a bon fire. Be sure to get a burn permit from your local fire department!
- Instead of fans, rent heaters (hold the mist).
- Is your house large enough to accommodate the number of guests you’d like to invite, in case of rain?
- Rent a tent to provide shelter if weather turns inclement.
- Mud may be an issue, especially in the spring. Place tarps or a platform under the chairs.
Is your driveway big enough to accommodate the cars of all your guests? Is it okay if they park on a street side, and if yes, how far will they have to walk?
- Ask neighbors if you can use their driveways/yards for the day.
- Reach out to a nearby church or school to request permission to use their parking lot.
- Provide signs to guide your guests to legal spots.
- Ask friends to serve as parking attendants.
Have the ceremony early enough so that neighbors aren’t winding down for the night. Remember, they can file a complaint with the local police if the party gets too loud. Try to avoid that by letting them know about the wedding and then thanking them the next day.
How many people can your backyard comfortably accommodate? Some towns have restrictions on the number of people at one event in a residential space. You may need to call your town hall for a permit.
Treat your guests to a luxury trailer that comes with its own vanity and sink. Just be sure to place it in an area that will not be a backdrop for your photographs!
Assign some really good friends to be clean-up crew. Or, if that isn’t your thing, hire a cleaning team from a local company. They are fast and efficient, making clean-up easy peasy.
Overwhelmed? How about having a wedding planner help? Planners have helped to coordinate countless weddings and have a list of preferred vendors to call. Otherwise, talk to your JP. A backyard wedding is the perfect event for a personal, intimate ceremony making memories to last a life time. It’s likely your officiant can share the lessons learned and best practices from the backyard ceremonies he or she has already been a part of.
Find your perfect JP at findaJP.com
Cindy Dumont is a Justice of the Peace in North Hampton, New Hampshire.