If you did not know already, the only thing that you cannot control at your wedding is the weather. Everything else can be timed out and planned to a T, but the rain or sun or snow or hurricane is something you will not know until about 3 days before, if not even the day of. That is why we recommend taking the following actions to be as best prepared for any type of weather that may come your way on your wedding day.
Take it from a pro who has three weather apps on her phone and checks them frantically leading up to every weekend, that no matter how many apps you have, they are all going to be different. I highly recommend not looking at your weather forecast until at least 5 days out, as in my experience the 10 day forecast is always wrong. At three days you are going to be rather close as to what is going to happen and even up until the day of it could change. Why you ask? Mostly because you are getting married on Cape Cod where it may be raining in Brewster but sunny in Dennis!
No matter what you need to have a backup plan in place for at least rain, if not worse if it is a time of year that is prone to snow or nor’easters. For any of my clients planning on a tented event, outdoor ceremony and/or cocktail hour, we always have a rain plan at the bottom of our time line. That way we can hop over to that plan if we need to the day of the wedding and be ready to go with indoor options. If your ceremony is supposed to be on the beach and the backup plan is a conference room with no windows, you have to make sure that you can envision that happening. Granted, it is the worst case scenario, but if you do not think it all through you could be super sad when you’re inside instead of out.
If you are planning to have a tented event, this post is really for you. One thing that you have to be 100% okay with is that it could potentially downpour on your wedding day. If you are not okay with that, then you need to find a ceremony and reception location that is indoors or at least have a backup plan that you are okay with. For tents, you can also talk to your tent company about rain tent options. This is where you reserve a tent for your ceremony or cocktail hour backup and then at the three day out mark you can decide if you want to put it up or not. If you decide not to, the tent company will only charge you half the cost of the tent. To me that is pretty great rain insurance!
So you have decided to take the leap and have the perfect reception location in mind - only thing is...it is a blank canvas. An open space in your parent’s/grandparent’s/friend’s backyard on Cape Cod that needs tents, tables, chairs, bathrooms, you name it. You are not alone. Many Cape Cod weddings take place in beautiful, private locations that need many things brought in to make it happen, so that is why we have compiled a list of the top 5 things to consider when planning an at home event.
When you get the idea to have your wedding in a backyard, your first step will be to make sure you have the space to hold all of your guests. I recommend starting by calling a tent company and having them come out to see the space and measure for you. This way they can give you all of the options. It helps to have your guest list close to final so that you can let them know how many seats you will need for dinner. You also need to have an idea of what kind of food you want to have - buffet or plated - and if you want round or rectangular tables. This all helps to map out if you would have enough space for your dream wedding.
One word: Rentals. When you have a backyard event on Cape Cod, or anywhere for that matter, you have to bring in EVERYTHING. Tables, chairs, flatware, china, glassware, tent, bathrooms, dance floor, caterer, ovens, generators, and the list goes on. I don’t mean give you this list and use all CAPS to scare you, but to make sure you know that this is a big portion of having an event at home. Sometimes it makes sense to hire a professional to assist you in managing all of these vendors, take the stress off of everything and to probably even help you save some money!
3. Plan B
If any of your backyard wedding is scheduled to take place outside of a tent, be sure you have a plan B. Nine times out of ten, you will not like plan B at all, but if you don’t have plan B, you will be stuck in the rain! Ask your tent company about last minute options for a backup tent. Sometimes you can pay a deposit to have the tent on your order and then cancel that week if the forecast says you are in the clear. Paying for that peace of mind may just be worth it!
4. Insurance, Permits & Noise Ordinances
Ok, so I am making #4 really 4, 5, & 6, but they all relate. These are all legally related items that you need to look into when having a backyard event. Usually you can get insurance easily by adding on a one day rider onto your homeowner’s insurance. Also, make sure you know what kind of permitting you need to have a tent in your town. Most tent companies will actually cover this for you. And last but not least, call your town to ask about noise ordinances. Most towns on Cape are 10pm, but some differ. I also always recommend killing your neighbors with kindness and visiting them in the weeks leading up to the event with a bottle of wine and letting them know about the wedding, especially if they are not invited. This way you can possibly avoid the cops being called due to noise.
Parking is something that seems to be overlooked a lot for backyard events and always needs to be taken into consideration. Do you have ample parking on site or do you need to shuttle in all of your guests from their hotels? Do you have street parking, but want to hire a valet service to make sure that your guests can easily park? There are many different options to ensure a smooth parking situation, but be sure you have it under control.
Did I talk you out of it yet? Don’t let me do it! Backyard events are totally worth every second of the planning process! Yes it can be stressful at times, but the outcome is always so beautiful, original and fun! There are definitely other aspects you will need to consider when planning a backyard event, but these top five are the best ones to start with before you sign on the dotted line. And if you feel you need more assistance, always ask for help!
Plan. Relax. Enjoy.
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