~Here are some Pro's to having a backyard, or outdoor wedding:
1) You choose the location, usually one of personal significance. Often the home of a Parent or Grandparent. When a memory is attached to your location of choice, and your surroundings are familiar, you are more likely to relax and feel at home.
2) The relaxed feel of being outdoors rather then a formal setting. Don't get me wrong, you can have a super-classy, formal outdoor wedding if you choose too. The surroundings however- birds chirping, water flowing, flowers and nature all around you, fall colours etc...this is a very relaxing setting! And if space allows, your guests can enjoy outdoor games to pass time while photographs are taking place.
3) An environment suitable for children to be invited. What a perfect way to allow parents to bring their children. This is great when you have a lot of out of town guests be it family or friends. When people travel, it can often be difficult for them to find child care for a long period of time. There can be a set-up of games specifically for young children, and perhaps consider hiring a "Wedding babysitter" to look after the little ones, including fun games related to your wedding day. How about a personal wedding word search, or other crafts related to you and your groom?
4) Fewer restrictions. Yes, you can actually light REAL candles! And you can invite as many guests as you can physically fit onto your property. You can also blow bubbles if you want, or throw any variety of items including rice, birdseed, confetti etc... Also you are not limited with your decorations. You are free to choose where to hang lights, place flowers, set up your chairs and meal areas.
~Here are some Con's to having a backyard, or outdoor wedding:
1) The responsibility can be very stressful. Unless you are the type that loves planning large parties, or have a great support system of help, this can be a huge burden. Arranging the set-up, decorating, parking, washroom facilities..as well as the tent rentals- not to mention tables, chairs and linens. Another large responsibility is the clean up after. Thankfully, you often have the next day to continue putting things away.
2) Neighbours or Neighbourhood. This could also be listed in the "Pro's" depending on your situation. If you are in town, and have neighbours nearby that are NOT invited to your wedding- your music and late night party may be a nuisance. Definitely involve your neighbours whenever possible. Our outdoor weddings have been so successful, we have often used ovens from nearby neighbours to prepare wedding food!
3) Weather. Your wedding date has likely been set for months. You have no way of predicting the weather. In all honesty, we have not catered an outdoor wedding yet with anything but beautiful sunny days. Each time a large tent has been provided, both for the guests and for our food service line. This is the safest way, and we would say mandatory. In case of rain, the sides of the tent can be dropped, and the reception can continue as planned.
4) Bugs. They are inevitable! But also worse at different times of years, and in different settings. For example, a wedding reception planned near a river or lake- in the evening will provide an ample amount of mosquitos. Consider supplying bug spray for your guests, and burning citronella candles- or other types meant to ward of bugs.
As you can see, planning an outdoor wedding bears a lot of pre-thinking. I believe the work and difficulties are worth it! Obviously there is not enough room here to list all of the pro's and con's we can think of, but these are our top few. Each and every wedding situation will bring its share of obstacles.
We hope you have an enjoyable time planning your wedding, whether it be outdoors, in a church/hall setting, bed and breakfast, or other creative location!
We look forward to hearing from you!
Paul and Aimee