How to Throw a Colorado Backyard Wedding!
Colorado is down right one of the most gorgeous places to have a wedding, regardless of where the wedding is held! Some of us are lucky enough to live on a beautiful slice of Colorado property large enough to host a wedding. Have you ever looked at your property or maybe a family member's property and thought, "Wow, this is super pretty! I think we could host our wedding here"? Seems like an obvious choice, right?
Well, before you go frolicking through the fields with those beautiful mountain views there are several things to think about when making this very big decision.
Photo by Shutterfreek
Let's start by debunking a few common thoughts surrounding backyard weddings.
Hosting a wedding in your backyard does not necessarily save you money. 9 times out of 10 it ends up costing more money vs. hosting a wedding at a traditional venue. This may come as a shock to some, so we'll break this down later in this blog.
Hosting a wedding in your backyard does not make it a casual/laid back event. There is a lot of work involved in making sure your property can host a large number of people. Yard work, tent measurements, floor plan creation, wedding day set-up, planning out electricity, running water, parking and adequate restrooms - all things that have to be done.
Hosting a wedding on your property does not necessarily mean anything goes.... There are noise ordinances in your area, there are liabilities involved with serving alcohol, vendor end times need to be respected and other rules / guidelines with hosting an event come into play.
I promise I'm not here to talk you out of hosting a backyard wedding, in fact some of the prettiest weddings I've ever had the opportunity of planning were held on private property! I am simply acting as the voice of reason while you weigh the pros and cons of going this route. Let's get into it!
Photos by Shutterfreek
First and foremost, it's important to understand that you are essentially building your own venue.
Here is a list of the basic needs in order to host an enjoyable evening of celebrations.
A tent or other form of shelter that IF needed could shelter everyone from the elements. I've attended weddings that ended at 8:00pm because of bad weather and poor planning.
Lights and electricity - either run from a nearby house or from a generator. It's not a bad idea to have two generators for back-up purposes. The average backyard set-up requires 8-12, 110 volt outlets.
Running water. Bartenders need to keep the water dispensers filled, caterers need water for their food chaffers, and for tableside water service. Make sure the water on your property is potable - otherwise ask your bartenders and caterers if they can provide this.
Adequate restrooms based on guest count. The last thing you want is an overflowing toilet because of over usage. Bathroom trailers are of course the nicest option with electricity, flushing toilets and sinks. Porta-potties work too, but just remember as soon as the sun goes down it's a dark experience... Do not rely on your bathrooms inside your own home. I repeat, do not.
Tables and chairs and possibly table linens to cover those plastic tables. Will the chairs be used for the ceremony and the reception? If so, will your guests carry their chairs to their tables after the ceremony? Or can you rent double the amount to avoid this being an issue?
An area dedicated to vendors. Caterers need to stage their food, and have a place to buss plates. Rental boxes need to be out of sight, and vendors in general need a place to store their things. A 10x20 pop-up tent with walls works great if there isn't a nearby house or room dedicated for this.
Parking for your guests and your vendors. A parking attendant is also a great idea to keep things as efficient as possible. If you plan on shuttling guests in, make sure there is an area for the shuttle to drop-off and turn around.
Directional signage showing guests where to park, where the ceremony is, where the restrooms are etc. Most times it's not self-explanatory for someone who has never been to your property.
An area for trash! This is a big one, and often times overlooked. Where can vendors put 10-15 bags of trash at the end of the night that won't attract wildlife? Do your caterers / bartenders offer trash removal services? That would be the easiest option.
Photos by Ginger Moose Photography
Now that you have the basics, I'm sure you're wondering what all of this will cost...
Before we get into numbers though, it's important to understand that cost is 100% location dependent. Delivery fees and access to certain vendors may increase your costs if you're in a remote location vs. outside of a city.
In 2023 the average backyard wedding of 100 guests in Southwest Colorado will cost $40,000.
Rentals = 30% of overall budget
Food / Drink = 20% of overall budget
Flowers / Décor = 8% of overall budget
Photo / Video = 12% of overall budget
Wedding Planner = 10% of overall budget
Misc. Costs (Hair + Makeup, DJ, Accommodations, Shuttles) = the remaining 20%
Photos by Kelsey Kaplan Photography
There are certainly ways to save a bit of money here and there, but overall it is an investment to host a celebration on your beautiful private property! Though, we agree there are so many pros to hosting at a location with so much meaning behind it already vs. a venue that seemingly herds weddings in and out of it like cattle.
We hope we provided you with enough insight on the basics of planning an event like this.
Lucky for you Mountainesque Weddings specializes in planning and executing weddings on beautiful private properties in Southwest Colorado! We understand the importance of hosting this special day in a place that is near and dear to your hearts, and that's why we'd love to help you navigate this process! We love taking a blank slate and turning it into your dream venue. We know all the ways to cut costs, and we know all the unforeseen things to look out for. Reach out today - we'd love to tour your property and hear more about your plans!
You can also learn more about wedding planning & money saving tricks in our blog post titled,
' Tasteful Ways to Save Money on your Mountain Wedding'.
Make sure you're following us on all social platforms to see more mountain wedding footage + wedding planning tips!