16 Magical Small Backyard Wedding Ideas For an Intimate Celebration

Weddings are an intimate part of our lives and it’s natural to want to share them with just our closest friends and not a room full of people we barely know. This shift and overall acceptance of smaller ceremonies has made backyard wedding receptions quite popular as you can comfortably host most of your friends and family within your home.

If an intimate wedding is right up your alley, then here are a few backyard wedding ideas to help you have your dream wedding reception right outside your forever home.

Creative and Fun Backyard Wedding Ideas

Picture source Instagram @greenweddingshoes

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1. Play Around With the Lights

At first glance, lights may appear as simply a necessity to keep you and your guests comfortable as you head into the evening however, don’t sleep on using them as décor pieces. You can use lanterns, fairy lights, and table candles to create a beautiful space without breaking the bank.

If you’re hesitant to have flames around a drinking crowd, opt for the led alternatives that deliver the same results without running the risk of ending the evening in the ER. Play around with bright and ambiance lights to create a functional space that’s functional yet marvelous to be within.

2. Add a lounge area

Adding a lounge area may not be the first thing you think about when planning a wedding but hear us out. Your guests are going to need somewhere to sit while waiting to sit for the meal. This will come in handy during the cocktail hour while you get your wedding pictures taken.

Your guests may be close friends and family but it doesn’t hurt to have the peace of mind of knowing there are no people moving around in your house unattended.

3. No Dance Floor? No Problem!

The wedding dances are a popular part of the wedding tradition and you don’t have to give these up when having a backyard wedding. Simply clear your patio space and decorate it to serve as your dance floor.

If you don’t have much space on your patio, you can rent a dance floor for the day or even build one yourself if you’re handy. While building might be cheaper, we are leaning more towards renting because we can’t think of many things you can do with the piece once your wedding is over.

4. What About The Pool?

We know a pool in the middle of a party can be a bit disastrous but you can make your pool work for you. A rented pool cover can transform your pool into a large enough dance floor for you and your friends.

If that sounds a little risky to you, it’s not, you can settle for a little bridge that you can decorate to create another masterpiece within your garden. It could also serve as a great photo op area while besides bridging the distance between the two ends.

5. Feel Free to Opt for Self Service or Family-style serving

It’s okay not to want to spend more hiring a team to facilitate the serving especially when you’re on a budget. As most of the people you invite are already your closest friends and relatives, you can trust them to serve themselves or even be helpful in a family service style.

The same can apply to drinks by just adding a drink station where your guests can get multiple refills. If your budget is more flexible, you can leave the heavy lifting to the catering team and enjoy your party with your guests.

6. Set up a fireplace

If you anticipate chilly weather later in the evening, bring your outdoor fireplace to life once you’ve finished most of your wedding activities and allow your guests to sit around the fireplace. This can offer a great opportunity for your guests to mingle and even a secluded place away from the noise for guests who want a more relaxed atmosphere.

7. Set up a game station

Weddings don’t have to carry the aura of formality all the way down to the reception. After all, it’s a party and people should be able to let loose.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how you can make your guests feel comfortable around each other in a much smaller space, consider setting up a game station that can help both groups of your friends and family feel comfortable interacting. Jenga, card games, board games, and even trivia can lighten the mood and bring a merry atmosphere at your reception.

8. How About An Accent Wall?

Let’s be honest, there are not many places around a backyard that can make for a great photo op spot. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you have to compromise on those beautiful reception photos you’ve always wanted.

You can create an accent wall without breaking the bank by making a flower display, using photos of the couple together, balloon arches, and backdrop curtains. This can be added as an entryway into the area you’ve designated for your reception and is a great spot for your photographer to capture your guests coming in.

9. Make Use of Your Surrounding

Being out in nature means you can make use of the environment around you to bring your space to life. Since you’re already outdoors, bring in leaves and foliage as part of your wedding flower arrangements to tie the entire space together. You can also make use of the trees in your backyard to tie together some fairy lights and branches for lanterns that illuminate the space while creating a relaxed and romantic ambiance.

If you can’t seem to get around a certain tree that just seems oddly out of place when doing your décor, turn it into a wishing tree with ambiance lighting and create hanging writing areas where your guests can write up their wedding wishes for you and your partner.

10. Plan Ahead

Picture source Instagram @elevationtent_rentals

If a backyard wedding is this high on your list, then we believe walking down the aisle to great weather and sharing your first dance under a starry sky is something you’ve thought of time and again when putting together your dream wedding.

Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t always seem to act right and you may have to account for the uninvited guest that is rain. If you’re uncertain about the weather, make sure to plan ahead by adding a beautiful tent to ensure you and your guests don’t get drenched. Not to mention the catastrophe of losing your beautiful wedding cake to the rain long before you can cut it.

11. Keep the Seating Simple

A backyard cannot afford you the space you would get at a location tailored toward bringing wedding ideas to life. The only way to get around this is to keep the seating simple and opt for banquet-style tables instead of smaller tables that take up more space.

As a plus, you can thank the universe for getting rid of the table planning task for you as this style of sitting with such a small number of guests can be more laid back.

12. Bring Out the Grill

There’s no excuse not to bring out the grill when the weather is looking good and there’s a crowd to devour the delicacy. Everyone loves a good BBQ and bringing in a pit master to serve up tasty pieces of steak right off the grill is a great way to diversify your menu.

And since you’ll have a professional on-site, you won’t have to worry about the guests going on a grill off on your wedding day.

13. Consider a Live Band

Music has a special place at any wedding as it sets the tone and ambiance while capturing memories of some of the most important moments of your life. While wedding DJs are good, nothing beats live music.

It is soothing and personalized to the audience making it even more special. Fortunately, hosting your reception at your home takes a lot off the budget and you can afford to bring in a wedding band for a few hours.

14. Play Around with the Themes

Picture source from Instagram @majedakassirbisharat

People often associate backyard weddings with rustic themes. While this may be the most popular style, don’t shy away from exploring different themes. You can still bring elements of elegance into the outdoor space.

15. Invite a food vendor for a late-night snack bar

Unlike with a wedding venue, the caterers are going to have to leave at some point as it may not make sense to have them waiting around after the cake-cutting has been done. And with a backyard wedding reception, you have the luxury of time and your guests may be in no hurry to leave long after the ceremony is over.

If you intend to party late into the night, plan ahead as a drinking lot that’s moving around is bound to get hungry at some point. Bring in a local food vendor/truck offering quick bites like hotdogs, burgers, and tacos for your guests to munch on when they get hungry later in the night.

If that sounds like too much for an already small budget, you can opt for having a snack basket and filling it with quick bites from the grocery store. 

16. Don’t limit yourself to just the backyard

It’s a backyard wedding reception however that doesn’t mean that the backyard is the only space you can use to bring your ideas to life.

Make use of the entire property including the inside and front of the house to comfortably host your guests and accommodate their needs. As it gets later in the evening, you can opt to open up the house to let the younger and older guests enter the house and settle in while creating an indoor-outdoor experience. 

3 reasons a backyard wedding reception is always a win in our books

We love all things wedding from picking out rings to dresses, the ceremony, and down to the reception however we have a special place for backyard weddings here’s why;

The celebration is intimate

Let’s admit it, a backyard wedding can only be on your mind if you’re having a smaller guest list that can comfortably be hosted within your home.

This means that most of the people at your wedding are close friends and family members that you are happy to share your day with. This is what weddings are really all about. Sharing your most special moments with the people you love. We love small weddings and how intimate they are.

Significantly lower wedding costs

 Wedding venues take up a huge chunk of your wedding budget especially if you’re getting married in the peak of the wedding season.

Having a backyard reception can help you stay well within your budget without compromising on other areas that you and your partner hold dear. When it comes to weddings, we always recommend making financially sane decisions to avoid starting the next chapter of your life in debt.

The venue will always be available to you

Wedding venues require you to book well in advance to be able to have your wedding there. It can get pretty frustrating when your dream venue has a waitlist of up to 3 months.

With a backyard reception, you are at liberty to have your wedding without stressing about booking a venue. On the plus side, there are also very few rules to hold you back from executing your vision.

What if I don’t have a backyard?

Well, a backyard wedding has to start with a backyard. But what if yours is too small, or you live in an apartment? Well, you can always have your wedding at your childhood home if everyone is on board with this or at a friend’s house. There is also the option of renting out a property for the day and there are a lot of options in the market to bridge this niche.

Wedding planning doesn’t have to be challenging or overwhelming and more importantly, it doesn’t have to break the bank. We hope these small backyard wedding receptions will help you enjoy every step of planning your perfect evening.

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