The Truth about Backyard Weddings

Our Backyard Wedding, will it really cost us less?

The truth about your backyard wedding…

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have heard, “oh we’re just having an inexpensive backyard wedding” really? Let’s breakdown the truth of a backyard wedding budget.

This is not meant to scare you off of your dream wedding, but to assist in the planning, logistics, and budget process of a backyard wedding.

I planned and had the backyard wedding of my dreams for 126 guests, that was 18 years ago and yes it still cost me over $10,000 way back then.

Most reception venues you choose will have flexible rental rates depending on peak season, and day of the week, obviously with Saturday being at a premium. Venue prices are all inclusive meaning you get tables, chairs, dance floor, electricity, a/v equipment, heating, cooling(usually), washrooms, and kitchen facilities, staffing and onsite catering, bar services, and they setup and teardown tables and chairs in the space, and get rid of all the garbage! Rental rates vary but your local community hall can be as little as $250.00 per day, with specialty venues running up to $2000+ for 2 day rentals.

Let’s compare a backyard wedding:

We know you can’t control mother nature, so this means renting a tent( $600 – $3000+ depending on size and style), not any tent, a tent that can withstand torrential winds and downpours, that comes from a reputable company that carries liability insurance, will set it up by industry standards and taken down.

Then there are all the other rental pieces, tables(avg $7 each), chairs($1.75-$30+), dance floor($2 sq foot and up), lighting($75 and up), generator, linens($400+), dishes, cutlery, glassware($1050+), portable toilets($600+).

Let’s also consider finding a caterer to work in a non traditional – off site locations and provide a high quality meal.  And of course putting your family into high stress mode for months of prepping the gardens and property for the big day, arranging site tours for the service providers that are arriving, like the tent company, and setting everything up and cleanup.

There will be miscellaneous expenses that add up here, like delivery costs, etc ($400). The average 150 person backyard wedding is around $7500, THIS IS BEFORE food and beverage which typically accounts for 50% of overall budget, décor, Dj, wardrobe, flowers, accommodations, etc.

This also does not account for the number of hours it takes to source, price compare, meet with and confirm all your vendor bookings. I read an article about a bride bragging that her backyard wedding only cost her $5000.00 total – seems awesome right? Then I read she quit her job 6 months prior so she could plan it full time…um, not sure I now see the cost benefit there.

Insurance – venues carry general liability insurance policy, you will need to accommodate for this cost for your backyard wedding, and contact your home insurance provider. Venues generally also carry a liquor license, otherwise you will be responsible for an SOP and alcohol liability insurance as well.

Bugs and weather – cold, hot, wet, dry, windy – be prepared for anything in your backyard!

Oh and parking…venues have a lighted parking lot to accommodate the number of people onsite, can you accommodate parking at your private property?

Looking at $40,000+

Ok so you are asking how can I have an inexpensive backyard wedding?

  1.  Keep it simple, limit your guest list so you do not have to rent a large tent, and other large amounts of rentals.
  2.  Keep the food simple – can your favourite restaurant deliver and you eat off paper plates? Can family and friends all bring a dish to share?
  3.  Limit the bar selection to one beer, one liquor based cooler and wine only.
  4. Write out what is truly important to each of you, ensure those details are met first and compromise on the rest.


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