Having a wedding at home might seem convenient, but the decision comes with a slew of factors to consider.
This story first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Columbus Weddings, published in June 2018.
Looking out into the backyard of a house on the market, a prospective buyer might imagine the possibilities it contains: It might play host to games of catch or bocce ball, cookouts or graduation parties. What most people probably would not see is the setting for a wedding ceremony. But with proper planning, the backyard can serve as an ideal spot for the exchange of vows.
Just ask Lindsey Boyd; she and husband James Boyd have known each other since they were children, and they had always seen the backyard of James' childhood home in Lancaster as the venue for their June 2017 wedding.
“I grew up in his backyard, and it was always a dream to do it there,” Lindsey says. “We didn't consider any other option.”
In the Boyds' case, logistical challenges had already been considered. But there is always the looming threat of bad weather, and the nasty proclivity that major events have to not go according to plan.
Which is why Lindsey, herself an event coordinator at Ohio State University, suggests working with a planner. She and James hired Tracie Zody to be the behind-the-scenes guru for their big day.
“You're basically building a venue from scratch,” Lindsey says. “We told [Zody] our vision, and she ran with it.”
Zody is an event planner and designer with Bliss Wedding & Event Design. She is also the owner of Z Creative and Design Exchange, a rental company that she created after having trouble finding the equipment she wanted for her events. She stresses the necessity of having a planner for backyard weddings, which require considerations that more traditional venues don't.
“Backyard weddings are, logistically, very difficult,” she says. “It's important to hire a planner that knows how to order tents, generators and port-a-potties. These kind of weddings are very popular, but they are also about double the amount of work.”
The first and most important piece of equipment that needs to be considered in the planning phase is the tent. The primary line of defense against unpredictable Ohio weather, the tent is the hosts' only guard against moving an entire wedding party inside their home.
First, the yard has to be level; any dips or hills will need to be evened out. After the tent comes necessities like a dance floor, restrooms, generators, tables and chairs, dishes and silverware—all in addition to typical rentals like linens.
The process of unloading the equipment and setting it up can be a logistical struggle as well, which is why Zody offers a service that puts her onsite a few days before the wedding.
“A lot of coordination is needed, so I'm on the property five days in a row,” Zody says. “If the wedding is on a Sunday, the tent is brought in on Thursday and the other rentals on Friday. On the day of, I bring in the flowers. It runs like a well-oiled machine.”
Every backyard is unique, which means that every backyard provides its own unique challenges. James' parents' backyard, for example, required the rental trucks to drive through an adjacent cow pasture.
But despite the effort required to pull off the big day, it can be especially rewarding in a familiar space. “Our wedding was perfect and unique,” Lindsey says. “It was a childhood dream.”