The complete guide to planning your dream backyard wedding

The complete guide to planning your dream backyard wedding

These days, weddings don’t always have to mean chiming bells, all-white decor and confetti tossing. You have the freedom to choose any type of experience you like. Whether you’d prefer a formal church gathering or an intimate event in your own space, where you say ‘I do’ is your call to make. 

Backyard celebrations are more than a way of making your special day more affordable. They’re romantic, intimate, and relaxing—oh, and they’re pet-friendly (dog ring-bearer, anyone?). And the best bit? You get to customise everything, from the date and time right down to the colour of your napkins.

As Australia’s highest-rated marriage celebrant, we will run through everything you need to know to plan your dream backyard wedding. But before we get into all of that, let’s discuss why you should consider tying the knot in your backyard in the first place.

Why choose a backyard wedding?

Getting married is one of the most poignant moments of your life—you want your special day to reflect that. Here are three ways a backyard wedding can make your perfect event even more memorable.

1. Backyard weddings are more intimate

Feeling anxious over the dreaded wedding guest list? With a conventional ceremony, it’s easy to feel a tad guilty if you want to be selective over your wedding invitations.

Hosting your wedding in your backyard naturally lends itself to a more intimate occasion. The close-knit space means you can limit invites to your closest friends and family—no guestlist anxiety needed. If someone asks why they weren’t invited, you can simply remind them you don’t have the space to host a huge event.

As a bonus, it’s incredibly wholesome for your wedding venue to be the place you call home. And, once you’re finished tying the knot, you’ll get to return to your comfy bed. Win-win!

2. The freedom to personalise your day

Hiring a traditional wedding venue means adhering to several rules. You may feel restricted by the time slot you’re offered, the decorations you can use, and the celebrant you can choose.

When you opt for a backyard wedding, you’re free to personalise your day however you choose. That means more control and more freedom to create the day of your dreams. 

You can jazz up your space however you want, partner with whichever food vendors you like, and pick the day that’s best for you. Need a last-minute change of plans? With a backyard wedding, you’re your own boss—no stressful negotiations required. 

3. You’ll save some extra cash

It’s no secret conventional weddings can cost a small fortune. Opt for a backyard wedding, and you’ll save on running costs and spend less on your venue—meaning you get to stay under your wedding budget and keep that little bit extra for a memorable honeymoon.

Plus, if you do want to spend the extra money to elevate your wedding day, you can splash the cash on some lavish decor, first-class entertainment, or local food options rather than forking out a fortune for the basics. 

Related: How to get married in Australia

Planning your dream backyard wedding

Confident a beautiful backyard wedding is the way to go? As with all occasions, planning is the best way to make your day one to remember. Here’s how to get started. 

1. Assess your location

Securing your location may seem straightforward—after all, you’re hosting a backyard wedding—but there are several things you need to consider to make sure your space is prepared for the big day. Consider these possible challenges to ensure your special event goes as planned.

  • Terrain: Uneven surfaces can make setting up a challenge. Consider where you’ll place tents, food trucks, and seating ahead of time. 
  • Capacity: Determine the maximum number of people your venue can accommodate. Remember, comfort is key on your big day—you don’t want to overcrowd your venue. 
  • Accessibility: If required, consider how your guests will access the backyard. Will you need to provide an accessible route?

2. Find the right ceremony space

In the process of assessing your location? Don’t forget to consider where your wedding ceremony will take place. 

Trees and foliage make for a great backdrop. Alternatively, you might like to have your wedding guests facing toward your home to make your living space the focal point. 

In each case, you’ll want the area to feel vibrant (even if so you can take some stunning photos). Pick a spot with plenty of natural light. In the hotter months, you can keep everyone comfortable by shading your seating area. If your special day is running a little cool, set up your chairs in direct sun to provide some extra warmth.

3. Choose the perfect celebrant

When you choose a backyard wedding, you won’t be restricted by the limitations of the Marriage Registry Office. That means you can handpick a warm personal celebrant committed to making your day as special as you deserve. 

The key is to choose a marriage celebrant that goes beyond the legalities. Your wedding is more than a piece of paper. The right celebrant should make your day feel relaxed, enjoyable, and, most of all, meaningful.

Seeking the perfect celebrant for your big event? Simple Ceremonies is here to make your wedding the day you’ve dreamed of. Discover why we’ve been Australia’s best-loved marriage celebrant for over twelve years. 

4. Plan an incredible reception

With the basics sorted, it’s time to start customising your reception space. Are you going to require extra seating? What food and drink vendors are you looking for? Where are you putting your dance floor?

Proper event planning at this stage is the key to success. Here are some backyard wedding reception ideas to get you started:

  • Tents: Tents are ideal for backyard weddings—they’ll protect you from the heat and give you a rain plan in case of bad weather. To find the right size, a good rule of thumb is to multiply your guest list by fifteen. This will give you a rough estimate of square feet. That said, contact your wedding planner for a more concrete figure. 
  • Music: Is live music your thing? Would you prefer a DJ set? Want to mix your own song list? Whatever your preference, it’s important to think and plan your music choices for your big night. 
  • Entertainment: Besides music, consider other forms of entertainment to keep your guests engaged and entertained. This could include photo booths, interactive activities, or fun wedding party games. 
  • Catering: What types of food would you like your guests to eat? Whether it’s a formal dinner party or a buffet extravaganza, consider your food options and book caterers in advance. 
  • Timing: Consider the timeline for your reception, including key moments such as your first dance, the cutting of the wedding cake, and any other activities you have planned. That said, try not to be too caught up on your schedule. Things don’t always go to plan, and it’s okay to let your timeline slip a little bit on the day.

5. Make a statement with decor

Whether it’s DIY wedding designs, comforting furniture, elegant linens, or locally sourced flowers, backyard wedding decorations are the key to making your day feel unique. Here are some decorating tips to inspire your creativity:

  • Don’t skimp on the flowers. Either hire a florist to decorate your space or pick some yourself for a meaningful touch. 
  • Hang string lights throughout your backyard to add an extra dose of magic to your evening.
  • Celebrate your backyard setting with some interesting rustic textures, patterns, and foliage. 
  • Incorporate some personal mementoes into your reception decor—it’s your special day. Don’t be afraid to get sentimental. 
  • Dot some candles or lanterns throughout the venue. They will add some extra warmth to your space. 
  • Create cosy spaces to relax with rugs, throws, or blankets. Your guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness. 

However you choose to spruce up your day, opt for decor that complements your personal aesthetic. Dare to be a little bit different. Pick a colour palette that excites you. This is your chance to get creative with your wedding decor ideas and create memories you’ll cherish forever.

6. Don’t forget the photographs

No wedding is complete without stunning photographs. Do your research and invest in a photographer who understands your wedding ideas and can help you make your vision come to life.

Once you’ve chosen a photographer, have a chat with them about your preferences to make sure you get the pictures you’re looking for. Remember to allot some time for sentimental wedding photos with family and friends. 

Also, don’t forget to ask for candids. Your photographer will likely be taking them anyway, but it’s always best to double-check. 

Related: Frequently asked questions about getting married

Backyard wedding logistics

Okay—it’s time we spoke about the boring stuff. 

No one wants to think about logistics, but they’re the backbone of your special day. It’s essential to get this stuff out of the way early so you can focus on the enjoyable side of wedding planning.


A short fuse or power outage is the fastest way to turn the perfect day into a total disaster. Between extra lighting, food vendors, twinkle lights and dancefloors, you’re going to need power generators to keep everything running smoothly. 

Remember to book your generators in advance, so you have enough time to work through any logistical hiccups. 


Depending on where your home is located, you might need to grab a permit to host a large party. Check with your city officials for any noise, fire, and zoning rules. Getting ready in advance is the best way to make sure you aren’t caught off guard. 


You’d rather that nothing went wrong during the big day. But, if the worst-case scenario does happen, it’s better to be prepared.

See if your home insurance covers property damage to your home and garden. If it doesn’t, you may need to purchase some extra coverage. Still, you’ll have fewer sleepless nights knowing you’re prepared for everything. 


We all wish we had the outdoor space to store thirty cars, but this is probably more of a dream than a reality!

If you’re lacking space, you’ll need to think about alternatives. Is street parking allowed in your neighbourhood? Is there a public parking zone nearby? Let your guests know where to park ahead of time to avoid any extra stress on the day. 


If you’re hosting a casual backyard wedding reception for all of your family and friends, you’re going to need more than a couple of bathrooms. 

Opt for some portable toilets that you can set up in your backyard. Your guests will thank you—after all, no one wants to queue for the loo after a few espresso martinis. 


Depending on the location of your home, it’s a good idea to let your neighbours know you’re hosting a party. This gives them plenty of time to make arrangements. They’ll certainly appreciate the heads-up. 

Related: What makes a great Marriage

Rental checklist

The key to a great backyard wedding is prep work. You may need to rent the things that you don’t already have on hand. Here’s a handy checklist detailing the items you may need. 

  • Tent
  • Banquet tables and chairs (ceremony and reception)
  • Wedding arches or chuppahs
  • Linens
  • Dishes, flatware, and glassware
  • Floral installations
  • Lighting
  • Lounge seating
  • Cocktail Tables
  • Portable restrooms
  • Heating or cooling equipment
  • Power sources
  • Bar setup, including tables, coolers, and barware
  • Generator and backup generator
  • Coat racks
  • Rubbish and recycling bins
  • Catering equipment
  • Dance floors
  • Gifts table
  • Dessert table
  • Insect repellent
  • Photo booth
  • Wedding decorations
  • Escort cards and escort card display
  • Wedding band or DJ

While you may not need to rent everything on this list, this is a great checklist to tick off as your getting ready for the big day. 

How Simple Ceremonies can help?

Planning a wedding doesn’t have to mean hangups and headaches. By following this guide, taking care of the important stuff ahead of time, and partnering with a celebrant who knows how to elevate your day, you’ll be all set up for the event of your dreams. 

Ready to make your vision come to life? However you choose to say ‘I do’, our caring team is here to make your day as special as you deserve.
Find out more about what we do, or get in touch today. We’ll be on hand to talk through the details and start planning your dream day.