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 items 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. We 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 and how big your dance floor needs to be. You also need to have an idea of what kind of food you want to have - buffet, stations, family style 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.
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 and can add up quickly. A backyard wedding can be done on somewhat of a budget, but it all depends on the type of rentals you want to have, the food you want to serve and the atmosphere you want to set. There is a big difference in budget when having a family style wedding under a sailcloth tent with farm tables as compared to a clambake under a frame tent with rounds with linens. Also, when there is no parking on site and you need to provide transportation for your guests it will increase your spending. This is where we feel it makes sense to hire a professional to assist you in managing vendors, take the stress off of everything and even help you save some money!
3. Plan B
If any of your backyard wedding is scheduled to take place outside of a tent, like the ceremony or cocktail hour for example, be sure you have a plan B. Your plan B is obviously not your first choice, 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, as many companies will allow your to 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 peace of mind may just be worth it!
4. Insurance, Permits & Noise Ordinances
Ok, so we made #4 really 4, 5, & 6, but they all relate. These are all important, but not so fun, 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. We also always recommend visiting your neighbors 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 unexpected guests in blue showing up due to noise complaints!
5. Parking & Transportation
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. And do not forget your vendors! They will be arriving before your guests and will have many cars that will need to be parked - catering team, wedding planner, band or DJ, etc.
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 move ahead with plans. And if you feel you need more assistance, hire a planner!
Plan. Relax. Enjoy.
At Cape Cod Celebrations, your vision is our brand. Learn more about how we can help you pull together your beautiful Cape Cod Wedding.