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Sarah Anne Thompson infuses the look of classic 35mm film with her editorial and documentary style images to create work that feels nostalgic and modern while remaining true to color. Based in Seattle and available worldwide.
Ever wondered what’s the best advice for backyard weddings? Welp! I’m here to help!
I was recently asked by a writer at RedFin to give my best tips and tricks for having a backyard wedding. It got me thinking, now that I’ve photographed quite a few backyard weddings, that I should share my top 5 pieces of advice when it comes to hosting your wedding in your backyard.
When it comes to backyard weddings, the best thing is that it’s a place you know intimately and visit often. One of the most important things when considering where you’ll set up your ceremony in a backyard is where the sun will fall and at what time of day that is. Light can change the feeling of an entire event.
I have great recommendations for lighting! For a romantic evening wedding ceremony, typically you’d want to have it begin 1.5 hours prior to sunset. High noon ceremonies can leave everyone baking in the heat so it’s nice to even it out.
The direction of the sun matters!
I would recommend setting up the ceremony so that the sun falls either directly behind the couple or behind the audience so that you have even light across everyone. When you have side lighting, typically half the wedding is in direct sunlight and the other half is in shadow. This doesn’t always make for the best photos or experience. So, step outside and see what your backyard is up to!
INSTALL OUTDOOR EVENING LIGHTING
Typically backyards weddings aren’t known for their outdoor lighting setups. You’ll want to make sure your guests can see each other and YOU! To add a bit of romance and elegance to any backyard, using string bistro lights gives a warm amber glow to a reception, making guests feel cozy and intimate. These are super cheap from online retailers or even Costco. For a small investment, you can really wow your guests with how romantic your backyard can look! I had a couple on Vashon Island bring in a carnival-style tent for their wedding that added a bit of stylistic flair but kept everyone dry!
CREATE A RAINY DAY PLAN
Another great tip for backyard weddings is to have a rainy day plan! Whether that means bringing in a tent rental or buying a bunch of cheap white/clear umbrellas. You can find these on Amazon!
Mother Nature can throw curveballs at weddings and you want to be prepared for it all. I’ve had a wedding party bust of two dozen umbrellas so that guests could dance through a rainstorm. It made for some amazingly unique photographs and memories for the couple.
NOTIFY YOUR NEIGHBORS
More than likely you’ll have music during your event and it’ll be important to notify your surrounding neighbors that you’ll a little louder than a normal Friday night. It’ll help prepare them for the noise and they’ll be super grateful for the heads-up. Most neighborhoods have a noise ordinance, so be respectful and honor that time limit. Backyard weddings lend themselves beautifully to a romantic evening around the campfire, so make sure you have something to entice your guests after the last song plays!
BRING IN EXTRA BATHROOMS
If you’re hosting a wedding of more than 20 people, consider renting portable restrooms. It’s a lot to have a line out the door and into the backyard and can actually raise the cost of your water//sewer bill at the end of the month. Depending on the strength of your house plumbing, bringing in extra restrooms can keep your guests comfortable and things running smoothly.