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Effortless Backyard Weddings

Updated: Mar 19

and how not get stuck with the dishes.

A DIY backyard wedding doesn’t have to be in your own backyard. It can be at a friend’s place, with a family member or at a private Airbnb. Some have a ban on “events” but some specialize in providing scenic and inviting venues for intimate micro-weddings and elopements and I’ve had some of my best ceremonies in places like that.

If this is what you’re doing, my biggest piece of advice is to accept all the help you can get.

  • You DO NOT want to spend the night before the wedding making sausage rolls.

  • You DO NOT want to spend the morning of your wedding setting up a marquee and putting bows out the table decorations.

  • You DO NOT want to spend your first day as a married couple filling the recycle bins with empties and peeling squashed wedding cake off the back deck.

For the most part, your nearest and dearest are going to be happy to help. It is actually quite an honour to be asked to help with something as special as a wedding and most people will say yes. If you’re worried though, turn the job into a wedding gift.

It is common practice these days to have a “gift registry” and include a link or QR code on the invitation. Why not make your gift registry a job roster? I’m serious.

Set up a Facebook Private Event and “invite” everyone you’ve invited to the wedding who might be about to help, to join the event. "Chris & Jane's Wedding Helpers" for example.

Make this the hub for coordinating who is doing what.

Pin 2 posts to the top of the page. One is the master list of what jobs need doing and then update this as each vacancy is filled. The second is the list of who has volunteered for what which is updated each time you remove a job from List One and add the volunteers name to List Two.

You can all communicate with each other via the page to keep everyone updated (either on the page or via a messenger group).

What’s on the list? Well that’s entirely up to you. It can be as simple as:

Pre Wedding

  • Pick up order from BWS (1 person)

  • Assemble Marquee and Furniture (4 people)

  • Collect flowers (1 person)

Post Wedding

  • General Tidy Up (2 people)

  • Pack up tables and marquee (4 people)

  • Dump run (1 person)

  • Maccas run (1 person)

Or you can go into a lot of detail (I would be doing this because I LOVE lists).

For Example:

General Tidy Up

  • Collect Recycling

  • Collect non-recycling rubbish

  • Gather gifts and cards in one area

  • Empty the Eskies

  • Do the dishes

  • Sweep or vacuum inside areas

  • Sweep outside

  • Mop inside hard surfaces

  • Check the Loos.

In the future I will be publishing some master lists for planning backyard weddings that you can use for inspiration and edit to suit. I love planning and I love working out the easiest way to do a hard job.

If you’re getting married in your own backyard, or mum’s, or just having 10 or 12 people join you somewhere nice for the weekend I’m guessing you are not spending upwards of $20k. Asking your family and friends to gift you their time and resources rather than go out and buy and expensive present you may not need is another way to lessen the impact on them and on the planet.

It’s a way to make them feel involved in your special day, to give you something meaningful, and a “get of jail free” card if they’re already on a tight budget themselves.

They will feel special and you will have the wonderful memories of Uncle Bruce ripping a hole in the tent by accident, cousin Jim forgetting the booze and having to dash out while you’re signing the register and your little brother attacking everyone with the Karcher the next day while they’re trying to work.

Some of the most meaningful, heartfelt and memorable experiences I've had at weddings have been low-budget DIY backyard celebrations and I hope to be involved in many more.

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