Whether you're the bride, groom, or friend or relative in charge of planning an upcoming backyard wedding reception, there are certain things you need to know in order to pull it off successfully. Even though backyard receptions are generally more casual than their counterparts held in other venues, there are nonetheless some strategies designed to ensure that things go smoothly. Following are six of them.
Give Yourself Time for Proper Planning
Give yourself plenty of time to plan the event. If there is going to be music and dancing, for instance, lining up a DJ at least a month in advance provides enough to time to get a good playlist together. You should also decide on the menu as well as order flowers and decorations well in advance. Also, make sure that your guest list isn't so large that people will be cramped if you've got a smallish backyard. An event rental company will be able to tell you how much space you need in order to accommodate the number of guests you plan on having.
Rent a Tent
A party tent rental will ensure that guests are comfortable no matter what the weather decides to do on the big day. A sudden rainstorm won't be able to ruin the day if guests have a dry place to go when the raindrops start to fall, and many may appreciate shelter from the hot sun if the day turns out to be blessed with blue skies.
Get the Proper Permits
Some communities may require that you get a permit for your backyard wedding reception. This is going to vary by location, so be sure to check local ordinances at the beginning stage of your planning process. Nothing ruins a reception faster than local officials showing up to shut the event down because someone failed to obtain the proper permits. Keep in mind that local noise ordinances may place restrictions on how loud the music can be, and that the local fire marshal may have specific regulations concerning open flames such as candles or gas burners on chafing dishes.
Figure Out Parking
If you're like most homeowners, your driveway only has the capacity for two or three vehicles, and curb parking is limited in most neighborhoods. Consider having guests meet at nearby place that offers public parking and providing a shuttle bus to your house for the festivities. You might also look into the possibility of hiring a party bus to pick guests up at their own homes.
Be a Responsible Host
If alcohol is being served at the reception, do the responsible thing and have designated drivers lined up well in advance. Hire a professional bartender to prepare and serve drinks helps ensure that guests won't overindulge because they won't be able to simply help themselves to the refreshments. If your crowd likes a good party, consider hiring a party bus or limousine to transport guests to and from their homes.
Be a Considerate Neighbor
Even if all your permits are in place and you've found alternative parking for those on your guest list, keep in mind that some of your neighbors might not be amenable to a great deal of noise or distraction. Keep the guests confined to the back yard, and try to be understanding if a guest asks you to turn the music down. Although you shouldn't allow your neighbors to completely spoil your fun, you should be considerate of their needs -- starting the party early enough in the day and not letting it go on into the late night hours will probably be enough to satisfy your neighbors. You might also consider inviting them to the celebration -- they'll be less likely to complain if they're joining in the fun.