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5 Tips for the Perfect Backyard Wedding

Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting times in a person's life.  You are planning the day that you commit to sharing your life with another person forever, as well as planning the day that your friends and family will be celebrating this momentous day with you.  Traditional weddings can be rather costly, which make a backyard wedding an ideal choice for those couples that are looking for a venue that is more intimate, unique, and memorable.  

I recently photographed a wedding, a backyard wedding, of Kia and Madison Deems.  Their wedding was absolutely beautiful!  And as I work through the photographs of their special day, I began thinking about five tips for the perfect backyard wedding.

1.  Location!  Let's face it, traditional venues can be very expensive!  Backyard weddings take this expense away since the bride and groom typically use a backyard that belongs to a family member or friend.  When choosing a backyard for your wedding, consider the location.  What type of location or setting are you going for?  Trees?  Rocks?  Flowers?  Waterfront?  

Kia and Madison chose a location on the banks of the Brazos River in Waco, Texas for their backyard wedding.  Photo credit:  Amber Payne for Smith Family Photography

Kia and Madison chose a location on the banks of the Brazos River in Waco, Texas for their backyard wedding.  Photo credit:  Amber Payne for Smith Family Photography

2.  Bugs!  If you are planning a backyard wedding, you must take bugs into consideration - especially in Texas!  You want your guests to be comfortable and enjoy themselves at your celebration, not spend the evening swatting at mosquitoes.  

Kia and Madison were extra prepared and offered their guests sunscreen as well as bug spray.  Photo credit:  Anna Johnson-Smith for Smith Family Photography

Kia and Madison were extra prepared and offered their guests sunscreen as well as bug spray.  Photo credit:  Anna Johnson-Smith for Smith Family Photography

3.  Space.  When planning your backyard wedding, you must consider the amount of space available for guests.  You don't want to invite so many people that you run out of room for your guests.  Obviously, the larger the backyard is, the more guests you can invite.  Often times, couples choose a backyard wedding to keep the special day small and intimate with those closest to them.  

This backyard is very large, which allowed Kia and Madison to designate areas for different parts of their big day.  There was a setup for the ceremony and after the ceremony, everyone gathered at the nearby tables, patio, and house for the reception.  Photo credit:  Anna Johnson-Smith for Smith Family Photography

This backyard is very large, which allowed Kia and Madison to designate areas for different parts of their big day.  There was a setup for the ceremony and after the ceremony, everyone gathered at the nearby tables, patio, and house for the reception.  Photo credit:  Anna Johnson-Smith for Smith Family Photography

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4.  Lighting.  Backyard weddings can be very dark if the reception spills on over into the evening hours.  For that it is necessary to have adequate, yet romantic, lighting so the guests can mingle with the bride, groom, and other guests.  There are so many creative and unique lighting ideas for backyard weddings!

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Kia and Madison used several different types of lights to create a romantic mood for their wedding reception.  My favorite was Madison carrying a lantern to the boat dock to light the path for him and his beautiful bride, Kia, so they could ride a boat down the Brazos River.  Photo credit:  Amber Payne for Smith Family Photography

Kia and Madison used several different types of lights to create a romantic mood for their wedding reception.  My favorite was Madison carrying a lantern to the boat dock to light the path for him and his beautiful bride, Kia, so they could ride a boat down the Brazos River.  Photo credit:  Amber Payne for Smith Family Photography

5.  Entertainment!  Every wedding, even backyard weddings, need some entertainment.  Some couples choose to have a dance floor under a tent, while others choose to have lawn games.  Kia and Madison chose to have a giant game of Jenga at their wedding!  

Photo credit:  Amber Payne for Smith Family Photography

Photo credit:  Amber Payne for Smith Family Photography

Backyard weddings are very unique and creative.  They create lifelong memories for the bride and groom, as well as the guests.  When planning a wedding, remember anything goes!  It's your day so make it exactly what you want!

Thank you Kia and Madison for giving me the opportunity to photograph your special day!  It was truly an honor.  

Special thanks to Amber Payne, my dependable other half at weddings.  Thank you for all that you do!