Backyard weddings are a dreamy choice for couples in love with outdoor adventures, that simply can’t imagine their day without loved ones. These intimate affairs can feature a few staple traditions you’d see at a more standard wedding, but on a much smaller scale. Micro backyard weddings favor simple but personalized approach, hand-picked designs and sustainable food options over a large scale generic wedding event with hundreds of guests.
If you had to reimagine your wedding this year, take a deep breath and envision the unconstrained opportunities of getting married without having to follow the beaten path of the wedding industry standards. You can create a personalized wedding day right in your backyard, or in a dreamy Airbnb rental in a breathtaking location. And trust me, it is really worth considering for several reasons. To name a few – cost, comfort and flexibility. Imagine an event with your family and most cherished friends, without the pressures of a large wedding with a tight timeline. Imagine the bonding time with your loved ones witnessing your ceremony and sharing a catered fine dining meal under the stars of limitless skies somewhere beautiful.
Your date isn’t determined by your venue’s booking calendar
Your day will be personalized to you and your partner
Your interactions with your guests won’t be dictated by a wedding timeline
You will save a lot of cash
Luxe micro backyard wedding in the Upper Peninsula
Jayme and Peter, two wanderlusts and adventurers got married in the a backyard of a log cabin at Lake Michigamme (which is one of the smaller inland lakes in the Upper Peninsula). Jayme wore a gorgeous silver BHLDN wedding dress that perfectly fit with her playful personality. We ventured out to the dramatic coastline of Black Rocks, just outside of Marquette and the cliffs served as a stunning dramatic backdrop for their adventure portrait session. The whimsical woodsy property was beautifully decorated with twinkle lights, candlesticks and rustic accents. The dinner was locally catered and served al fresco after sunset.
Highlights from this wedding
Cabin with woodsy property and a lakefront
Personalized DIY elements
First look on a private trail rimmed with tall trees
Local fine foods and cake
Award winning bottle of wine from Napa Valley
Moscow mule with secret bitters
General tip to keep in mind when creating a backyard wedding timeline is to make sure your ceremony and bridal portraits are scheduled during a time with the most flattering light. You want to aim for about an hour before sunset for a beautiful soft glowing lighting conditions. First look is a good option to avoid a logistical nightmare of not seeing each other in your house. Additionally, a first look also helps get all the photos out of the way, so you can enjoy your time mingling with your wedding guests after the ceremony.
When building Jayme and Peter’s timeline, we were mostly working around the lighting possibilities and around afternoon downtime for some family members. We decided to schedule the adventure portrait session at Black Rocks to take advantage of the softer light in the afternoon, which created gorgeous portraits for Jayme and Peter. We also got a chance to add some sparkler shots at sunset back at the cabin, which added to the diversity of the portraits we were able to create that day.
Wedding Timeline (with 2 pm ceremony):
11 am Bridal prep
12 am Groom getting ready
12:20 pm First look
Set up for ceremony
1:30 pm – 2 pm Ceremony
2:30 pm Family pictures
Set up for reception
2:30 pm – 5:30 pm Black Rocks adventure session
6:30 pm Dinner
8 pm Sunset photos at the lake
Later at night – Sparkler shots
Ceremony time and location
If you’re hosting your wedding in your backyard, observe the light for a few days and envision the best time and the most ideal backdrop for your ceremony. Tall trees, natural arches or a lakefront before sunset, typically serve as the most ideal backdrops for any wedding ceremony. Make sure to keep the direction of light in mind when making the decision. You will want to avoid harsh lighting situations and mid-day shadows. Once the sun starts setting, your photographer will love a backlit scene of you and your partner reading your vows.
If you are setting up a ceremony in a rental, ask the owner for some photos at different times of the day to get a better idea of how the light looks. This might give you a better idea of location possibilities and setup ideas.
If you are like me, you will love an al fresco summer reception under the stars!. Make sure to light the evening scene with plenty of string lights and candles, as your photographer won’t have a tent to bounce the light off. If you’re getting married in the fall, get free standing heaters or personalized cozy blankets to keep your guests warm during dinner and toasts.
Having a backyard wedding gives you the opportunity to personalize your accessories and colors to what really speaks to you. Create a space full of comfort and hygge, use local makers and artisans for wedding favors that can be incorporated to the table settings. Jayme and Peter used copper mugs they served delicious mules in, which ended up being one of the wedding favors for their guests, along with the cozy blankets. The sky is the limit.