Plan a Backyard Wedding on a Budget | COVID Safe
This year has been full of surprises, but that can't keep love down. If you're in a situation where you have to postpone your 2020 or 2021 wedding, I have you covered for how to safely plan a small backyard wedding for your closest family and friends. Keep reading for everything you need to plan a covid safe wedding reception.
My sister was set to be married at a destination wedding this month (October 2020), and I had the honor of helping her re-arrange plans to accommodate an intimate wedding in a backyard. It is a very difficult decision to postpone, but ultimately you can still have a beautiful ceremony and save the bigger celebration for when it safe. From making a floral arch to ordering the food, here are all of our suggestions on how to keep your wedding safe (& fabulous) for you and your guests.
Steps to plan a COVID-safe wedding for a small group:
Trim down the guest list to under 20 people
Select a location
Organize the details: food, florals, decor, seating arrangements, and photobooth
Set everything up!
Trim down the guest list
Let's face it - this is challenging and potentially awkward. I recommend selecting a line (siblings and parents) and then letting others know that you look forward to celebrating with them when it is safe. The more you can trim the list down, the safer it will be for everyone involved.
Select a location
If you're able to do this in the yard of one of the attendees, that is ideal! If not, look for a local park that allows you to rent a grassy area or pergola for a day.
We went with the yard of the groom's family, which was great for having items delivered early and spreading out some of the set up.
Organize your food, florals, decor, seating and photobooth
Everyone is passionate about different elements of a wedding. Try to split up the tasks among everyone coming so that no one feels overwhelmed with too many things to do. Making it a team effort will just make the day that much more special for you and your family.
Set up an order from your favorite restaurant. Because this is a smaller group, you can order regular catering or order individual meals for each person. If you go the individual meal route, I would recommend setting up a google form with the options and having everyone select their entree 1+ week before the event. My sister arranged for the food to be delivered one-hour after we started the ceremony, which was perfect timing for it to be fresh and ready to go for dinner.
We ordered flowers from Costco and then arranged them all the morning of. The key is to order a variety, and make sure you get lots of filler flowers. We ordered all of our flowers for under $300. Our full flower order included:
100 stems of fillers and greens
60 stems of purple gerberas
50 white roses
10 white mountain bouquets -- we split these up, but they were great for bulk ordering a variety of white flowers and additional filler
5 medium and 4 large pumpkins
Want to make your own floral arch? Here is how I did it:
Select and set up your arch: We ordered a white birch on from Etsy, but you can go with any style you like.
Start with green floral foam blocks and floral wire: You will want to rest the foam on top of the arch and then secure it on with floral wire. We wrapped the wire around 10+ times to ensure it was nice and secure to hold the weight of the flowers.
Add a base of larger flowers: Start with the big flowers spreading out the colors and styles across the whole area. The more random and spread out, the better.
Add in filler flowers: Small white and green flowers can fill in between the larger flowers to fill out the display.
Add some sprawling pieces from the ends: Putting longer pieces of vines and eucalyptus to the ends will make the flowers flow more effortlessly into the rest of the arch.
Add an aisle: We lined ours with pumpkins, which was perfect for fall, but you can also use candles, additional planters of flowers, or small twinkle lights.
And that's it! You have a beautiful flower arch and aisle. Floral arrangements are an art, not a science, so just have fun with it!
Decor can be kept simple, but it makes a big difference to incorporate a few creative elements around the space. Much of our decor was the flowers, but we also put together the following:
Wood stumps & name cards for each table that my mom painted with pumpkins (link)
Welcome & bar signs
Custom hand sanitizer (Spread love, not germs)
Custom mugs for hot cider (link)
Decorative lights around the yard and tent
Fake leaves & bags of real leaves to throw on the bride and groom
Ribbon to hold tablecloths
We choose to essentially have each household have their own table to keep things more distanced. This made for six tables of 2 to 4 people each. The chairs and tables were rented with a tent for the yard, but you could also use a collection of chairs and seats from your home.
We were able to use the same seats for the ceremony and the reception by simply moving the chairs to the tables after the ceremony. Because this is a small group, you can easily do this!
Pro-tip: If it's chilly where you are, add some outdoor heaters between the tables.
To make the day even more special, we created a photobooth with a tri-pod and an app. It was such a fun addition, and we ended up with over 60 photos from the booth. We used the app mini photobooth. It was $10 for the event, and we could customize the design directly on our phone. It seems like there is no shortage of photobooth apps, but I would definitely recommend this one!
Set everything up!
The day has finally arrived! Give yourself three hours to set everything up. The day of you'll want to do all the flowers (arch, centerpieces, bouquets, etc.) and set the tables. I would recommend doing everything in this order:
Arrange your flowers
Lay out your table cloths & table settings
Add a few decorative elements
Get Ready: Hair, makeup and clothes!
Set up technology: speakers for music, a mic for speaker (if you need it), photobooth and cameras to record the special day
Do you have any DIY celebration tips? I would love to hear!