Prosperity Mansion & Farm- serving Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties in Maryland: Advice from an outdoor / garden wedding venue in Maryland- “What Does Having a Backyard Wedding Entail?”
What to do, what to do. We know you may be confused about whether to have your wedding in a beautiful outdoor/garden venue or your Uncle Henry’s backyard. Not to worry, we’ll give you some helpful advice on the subject.
Backyard weddings require a whole list of things that you may not have even considered yet. For a backyard wedding, you’ll need to first consider the amount of guests you’ll be inviting. If you want a lot of people, you’ll have to do several things:
Power- Between extra lighting, the sound system, and food prep, you’ll be using a lot of power, maybe even more than your house can handle, which would be very bad. Using all of that power could cause fuses to blow, or worse- making the entire neighborhood experience a power outage. So you’ll definitely need to rent generators to accommodate the extra need for power. Not only will you need to rent the generators, you’ll have to check with the caterers and DJ to see how much power they’ll require. The generator company will help you choose what generators you need.
Restrooms- If you have more than twenty people there, you’re going to need additional bathrooms. You’d most likely need to rent portable bathrooms (there are more upscale ones) in order to avoid people traipsing in and out of your house all day and potentially damaging your nice bathroom. A decent restroom trailer with running water and flushes has a starting cost of $1200 and goes up to $2500.
You’ll also need to consider the amount of soap, toilet paper, and paper towels, in addition to other cleaning supplies you may need throughout the day. Additionally, you’ll have to assign or hire a person for bathroom and cleanup duty. Bathroom trash cans will have to be emptied on a regular basis and hand soap and additional toiletries will have to be replaced and replenished at your own additional cost.
Rentals- This will definitely require a lot of planning. Here is a list of things you will require (Not necessary but great items/ideas will be starred*) :
*Guest book table
Food prep/storage equipment
Trash and recycling bins
This is probably a great deal more than you originally believed. In addition to this you’ll have to actually consider your backyard maintenance.
Yard Set-up and Maintenance- You have to make sure your backyard looks absolutely perfect for the wedding. Most likely, you’ll want it to look spotless and hire landscapers. However, the bare minimum is that you’ll certainly have to cut the grass a few days before the wedding. You’ll also need to ensure that the ground level is good enough for chairs, tables, and a dance floor. The tent rental company’s professional team should be able to do that.
You’ll also want to be sure that you have decent looking trash cans, as you wouldn’t want the nice view to be spoiled by them. An appropriate number of trash cans will need to be placed in and around the wedding area. You’ll have to hire or assign someone to be on trash detail. They will have to be consistently checking and changing the bags out. You’ll also have to rent a dumpster or make arrangements for the massive number of bags that will need to go to the landfill. Also, Uncle Henry was nice enough to let you use his backyard- the trash removal personnel won’t take forty bags of trash and you don’t want poor Uncle Henry to get bugs or rodents because of it!
Insurance- It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Although best to hope for no incidents at your wedding, you’d best check with your homeowner’s insurance to see what’s covered. You’ll most likely have to buy ‘Day of Event Coverage”, which can run about $200 (on top of everything else). You don’t want Uncle Henry to be saddled with a potential lawsuit and pay medical bills when drunk Uncle Bob falls into Aunt Martha and she breaks her hip.
Permits- Before you book vendors, you’re going to need to check with your city to find out if you need a permit to host a large gathering at your home. There could be noise ordinances, health regulations and fire codes that need to be up to standard, and zoning issues that you need to address. If you skip this very important detail and the county finds out you’re having a wedding “illegally” they could shut the wedding down before it’s over because they can.
Neighbors- Every county has a decimal level of noise you must adhere to and a time the event must be shut down. You can reach out to the police, inform them about the event, and give them a contact number so that if the noise level gets too high, they can just call you instead of being forced to run out and investigate every time someone calls. The last thing you’d want is to have sirens and police lights flashing as you’re trying to walk down the aisle.
Also, please be respectful to your neighbors. Notify them about the wedding at least a month or two in advance. Give them the date and times. This will give them plenty of time to plan ahead to decide what they will do if the wedding affects them, such as leaving town for the weekend. Also give them a number to contact you if they need to report rowdy guests or simply need to contact you. Let them know where guests might wind up parking. End the reception at a decent time. As a token of appreciation, you could even get them a tiny gift!
Parking- Your guests are going to need somewhere to park. Maryland police state that for parking, you should think that there are at least two people per car. Check the rules for street parking in your city in addition to checking about the permits. Some communities have rules and times that street parking is not allowed.
Clean Up- When all is said and done, you are left with a giant mess. Unless you’re hiring people to clean it for you, there may be some trouble. Remember that guests are not obligated to clean up at your wedding, so you can’t just expect them to do so. However, even if they do volunteer, some of them may be far too inebriated to do any actual cleaning (they could even make more of a mess). You don’t want your poor mother trying to haul bags of trash all by herself in her pretty cocktail dress. The best option here would be to hire a clean-up crew.
Weather- Always have a Plan B. If it rains and you don’t have a tent, you’ll have a horde of angry guests. If your house is large enough, you could move the party inside, but a very likely outcome is that your house might get trashed. If you do have a tent, make sure that the rain can’t get in through the sides. Also make sure the tent is put up on a hard surface so that you’re not walking around in mud underneath the tent.
One Last Tip- You want your wedding to be as classy as can be, right? Don’t commit these faux-pas:
Make your guests bring their own food (potluck)- There are very few scenarios in which this is not tacky. You don’t want to be remembered for not feeding your guests.
Make your guests clean up. You invited them, they are your guests, it’s highly impolite to try and get free labor out of the people who are there to celebrate your big day with you.
Sometimes financial situations dictate what occurs, such as a wedding with just some tables. It’s not ideal, but sometimes it simply is what it is. Some people see the value in renting a wedding venue, as everything is ready for you, and they have beautiful places. Hopefully, you’ve gotten a good sense of what a backyard wedding entails now after reading this article.