An Intimate Upstate New York Wedding – Tips for Saying “I Do” in Your Backyard

two brides kissing in a park

Sometimes, the perfect wedding venue is closer than you think! While I love climbing red rock trails and chasing waterfalls, tying the knot somewhere meaningful – like your own backyard or at your family’s home – can be really special. 

A backyard wedding is intimate, convenient, and often easier on the wallet than a traditional wedding venue. So if you’re planning a small ceremony, like Paige and Alyssa did for their intimate Upstate New York wedding, here are some tips!

Perks of a Backyard Wedding

Here are a few reasons why a backyard wedding may be the way to go! 

Wedding Dates are Flexible

If you’ve ever looked for wedding venues, you know that their calendars fill up way early! You don’t have as much of a choice over your wedding date – but a backyard wedding erases all of that stress. Especially after all the rescheduling that happened during COVID, venues are more booked up than ever – which means if you have a certain date in mind, you might have a hard time finding a venue.

A Smaller Guest List

At their intimate upstate New York wedding, Paige and Alyssa had their closest family and friends around them as they said their vows – and if a huge wedding doesn’t seem right for you either, a backyard wedding might be perfect. Unless you tie the knot at a huge estate, the backyard likely won’t be able to accommodate a ton of people. While you never need an “excuse” to keep your day small, if you’re stressed about backlash from people who insist that they should be invited to your elopement or intimate wedding, the lack of space can help you explain that it’s not personal.

No Restrictions

Well, maybe some restrictions if your backyard wedding is at your parent’s house. But unlike at a traditional wedding venue, you get to make the decisions. That means you can use whatever decorations you want, bring your dogs, serve any kind of food and alcohol you’d like, and completely customize the celebration! 

It’s Sentimental

This home has been totally remodeled by Paige’s parents and they’ve always loved hanging out down by the creek. And now, on her wedding day, she and Alyssa got to splash around in their wedding attire! That’s what’s so special about a backyard wedding – adding a new memory to a place that already has so much significance. Your guests will feel at home and so will you, and you can’t get that at a wedding venue.

It’s Less Expensive – or Free!

The wedding venue is one of the biggest expenses for many couples, but Paige and Alyssa didn’t have to worry about that with their Upstate New York wedding! Tying the knot in your backyard is much more budget friendly, and can definitely be a great way to save some money.

Tips for Planning a Backyard Wedding

Here are some tips for planning your own backyard wedding!

Have a Rain Plan

Hosting the wedding indoors may not be ideal, so having a Plan B in case of rain is a must! This Upstate New York wedding took place during the state’s rainy season, so Paige and Alyssa rented a canvas tent – something I recommend for every couple, regardless of the season. It’ll ensure that your party isn’t cut short, and it gives you the opportunity to hang some string lights and decorate the reception space! 

Think About Amenities

Bathrooms aren’t glamorous, but we all need them! If your wedding includes more than a couple guests, you may want to consider renting some additional facilities. You can find some pretty nice restroom trailer rentals if you need to add a couple bathrooms to your backyard wedding!

Another thing to think about is parking – will your guests all be able to park in the driveway or on the street?

Talk to the Neighbors

If the property where your backyard wedding is happening is within earshot of any of the neighbors (or if you need a few more street parking spaces), it’s important to talk to them in advance to let them know what you’re planning. They’re much less likely to complain if they know this is a one time thing and you let them know ahead of time. For an intimate wedding you likely won’t have to worry about this, but if you have a lot of guests noise ordinances might be worth looking into as well!

Travel for Photos

You can totally take all your wedding photos at the house and in the backyard, but you can also head somewhere close by for some couple’s photos and a change of scenery. This woodsy park made the perfect backdrop for their first look, added some different scenery to their Upstate New York wedding, and gave the couple a moment alone before heading back to the parent’s house.

Another thing to think about is the size of your backyard – if there isn’t a ton of room, it might be hard to get some space for your photos once your guests start arriving.

Ready to Plan an Intimate Wedding?

I’m all about couples planning a wedding day that’s authentic and reflects them – so whether your day is a tiny elopement shared between just the two of you, or an intimate celebration with the people you love most, I’m here to help! From finding nearby places for photos to helping you create the timeline, I’ve got your back. 

Contact me if you’re ready to plan your unique day!

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Specializing in Elopement & destination wedding photography