4 minute read

Planning for Forever


Whether your wedding will be small and minimalistic or large and elaborate, you’ll still need to set a budget, gather inspiration, make a guest list, and find a location (among other details). Focusing on one thing at a time and outsourcing help with a planner will help you get to the aisle with a little less stress. Local wedding planner Katie Kalender shares some tips and ideas for organizing your big day.

Venue vs Backyard Wedding

Once engaged, most couples start to think about their wedding date, color schemes, and bridal party, shares Katie. But one of the biggest decisions is whether to rent a venue or have a backyard wedding. Have your budget in mind and get your notepad ready.

Venue Rental


What is the average cost of a wedding here?

How long is my venue rental and what are the fees if we go over our contracted number of hours?

What time do you require the reception to end, and when is everyone required to be off venue property?

Are outside rentals allowed? If so, when can they be dropped off and when do they need to be picked up?

What is your max capacity? What is your max capacity for vehicles?

Do you have a preferred vendor list and/or a closed vendor list that I need to be aware of?

Is there a bridal suite or space where the bride and bridesmaids can get ready?

For an outdoor wedding venue, what are the rain backup plan options?

Backyard Set Up


Wedding planner/coordinator. Have someone handle the details on your behalf for your special day.

Power source vendor. They’ll make sure you can plug in your lights, DJ equipment, catering equipment, restroom trailer and coffee pots without tripping a breaker mid-reception.

Lighting vendor. Walk around the backyard at the time of year you plan to have the wedding at night, to ensure there’s plenty of lighting to keep guests comfortable and safe on the property.

Restroom trailer. Be sure there is a water and power source available.

Layout and property diagram. Indicate power sources, sprinklers/water lines, parking areas and the layout for everything else.

Caterer. They should have their own cooking equipment and work well in a backyard setting. You’ll likely need to build out a kitchen and prep area for them. Provide a small, well-lit tent for covering, too.

Quality rental company. Bring in everything, from the tent to the salt and pepper shakers.

Tent. Unless you have a covered structure that could be used in a case of a plan B, having extra room in the budget for a tent is critical.

Parking and lighting for the parking area.

Bottom line: Because it’s being built from the ground up, a backyard wedding might cost you more in the long run.

spend where you want, save where you must!


• Wedding planner/coordinator.

• Photographer.

• Videographer. Too pricey? Ask for the smallest package and add on your raw footage.

• Upgraded chairs. It’s worth the splurge if design aesthetic is important to you—chairs show up in most photos.

• Floor-length table linens.

• Florals and live plants. Their freshness and texture can completely transform an entire space. If full centerpieces aren’t in the budget, splurge on some statement pieces, adding minimal greens and candles or plants from a local nursery elsewhere that you can later enjoy in your new home.


• Opt for a later wedding start time to offer guests desserts and coffee instead of a full sit-down meal.

• Choose buffet-style dinner service vs. plated or family-style dinner service. Try a burger bar instead of chicken or steak.

• Skip the Save the Dates and send your invitation earlier.

• Offer beer, wine, and a signature cocktail instead of an open bar.

• Skip the champagne toast.

Only you know your limits for your budget, your time, and your energy. Planning ahead now means a smoother event later!