The Backyard Wedding
1st August 2017
From the summer issue of Dominion Lending Centres’ Our House Magazine. One woman’s experience planning— then living—her dream nuptials under the open sky of her in-laws backyard.
Some of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding involve picking a venue for the reception. For Kate Brady, and events manager by trade, she knew exactly what she wanted when it was time to tie the knot in June 2015. Kate and her groom John Muddiman transformed his parents’ Oakville Ont., backyard into the reception hall. While it wasn’t particularly traditional, it was ideal for the couple. The reception, which included 100 of their closest friends and family, involved a plexiglass dance floor over a pool and a few other unique touches along the way.
Q: Why did you chose a backyard wedding?
A: Growing up I always loved that movie Father of the Bride – it always looked fun – and through the whole wedding process I really wanted something different. I was at the age where we were the last of our friends to get married, so I’d been to so many weddings. It doesn’t really matter what you do with it… it’s still going to feel very similar to what someone else has done. I really wanted something unique, and because we’re in the backyard it really limited our numbers. That really encouraged us to have more of an intimate wedding.
Q: What were some of the challenges?
A: The flow itself. When you’re in a backyard, you want to make sure things function the way they would if people were coming to any other venue for a wedding. We brought in nice Port-o-Potty trailers to make sure people weren’t going through the house. From a catering perspective, they need space. My in-laws have a pretty large property, so the kitchen was pretty expansive, and it was fairly open concept so they could use the dining room and living room. Making sure the ovens were up to code from a cooking perspective for chefs that want to produce that level food. We were lucky the way the backyard was structured; we had no rain that day. Had it rained, the whole flow and the vibe of the night would have changed. If it rained everybody would have been forced into the tent and then you’re trucking in the rain to go to the bathroom. Parking was also a bit of a challenge. There are tons of options; you can bus people in from the ceremony but a lot of people chose to carpool on your own. But that was a bit of an issue making sure people aren’t being ticketed. For us, it was a concern; how do we make sure people aren’t drinking and driving and they’re being responsible and leaving our property and getting pulled over?
Q: Do you think it was more work to host it at home?
A: The one thing I would say when you’re planning a backyard wedding versus going to a venue, a lot venues will provide some sort of an event planner that will coordinate with the bride and groom, so if you’re doing a backyard wedding, you don’t get that. So if you have the budget, having an event planner to coordinate especially the day of… I did bring in an event planner in the day of to manage all the vendors and make sure set up as going effectively and making sure things were taken care of.
Q: What kind of advice would you give a couple considering a backyard wedding?
A: I think, trust your gut and do what you need to do to get the wedding to reflect you. No matter where you are whether it’s the backyard or venue you want a wedding to truly reflect the two people getting married. Not to sweat the small stuff. Because at the end of the day something’s going to go wrong with the wedding, whether it rains, you just have to have fun with it and not get too caught up into those details. Make sure you’re doing your research and you’re engaging vendors that are trustworthy, that are reputable in your area and know what they’re talking about. If they’re reputable, they’re going to give you advice, they going to guide you through it.
Q: Would you suggest others do this?
A: Yes! It was so personal. Every little touch I wasn’t restricted, I really had free reign and creative vision of what I really wanted to do and I could envision the space and we made it happen. In the end, it was everything I had expected and more. After the ceremony, the first thing I did was get to the backyard and lock everyone out for just five minutes just to take it all in. It’s so cool. You’re in an environment where you might be every day… to see it come to life with your vision for you and your husband or future bride, that’s really cool.
-Our House Magazine