I don’t want to sound like a wedding snob here, but I’ve daydreamt my wedding a bunch of times, and not once has it been set in a backyard. Backyard weddings are a given—a popular choice—but they’ve always seemed too straightforward to me, too simple, too obviously romantic. (It probably doesn’t help that I live in an apartment building sans any kind of backyard, and that my dad currently lives in a condo with a backyard smaller than my Brooklyn bedroom.)
I carried this backyard wedding prejudice with me until I started doing a little research for this piece. You see, backyard weddings are trending in 2019. According to our friends at Pinterest, searches for backyard weddings are up 441 percent. That’s a pretty big jump, and I took it upon myself to find out what all the hype was about.
After losing myself in a Pinterest rabbit hole (one I spent about two hours in), I realized backyard weddings weren’t the one-trick pony I’d long imagined them to be; like any wedding, backyard weddings come in myriad shapes, sizes and aesthetics. Brides on a budget can take advantage of the free space (and incomparable sentimental value) of a family backyard. Bohemian brides can turn a woodsy area into a colorful dreamscape. Princess-minded brides can render a tree-filled plot of grass an utter fantasy.
And—my personal favorite—indie brides can use a backyard wedding as an excuse to throw the most charming whimsical shindig you’ve ever seen.
Backyard weddings, with all their home-grown glory, are practically begging to be the manic pixie dream girl of the bridal community. Nowhere else could you justify including a stack of vintage suitcases, a van-turned-photo-booth, a literal family tree and a rusted wheelbarrow full of drinks. The DIY spirit inherent to the backyard wedding is an opportunity to let loose, get creative and craft a wedding worthy of Zooey Deschanel’s 100 Days of Summer character, or some similarly dreamy, quirky person.
Indie backyard weddings certainly aren’t solely responsible for the trend’s jump in popularity—they’re just one facet of the backyard weddings movement. But they’re a delightful facet. And one that really hadn’t occurred to me until that Pinterest rabbit hole subsumed me a couple weeks ago. Consider this my homage to them,.
A van-turned-photo-booth—complete with vintage suitcase decor and kitschy decor and every-trendy green garlands. Indie (and photogenic) AF.
The easiest way to make layered wallpaper look cool? Turn it into a background for a very Instagrammable photo op.
I told you—it’s a literal family tree. (And a really, really cute way to commemorate your family on your big day.)
This is practically begging to be Instagrammed.
Altar, photo op or both? (Who said the two had to be mutually exclusive?)
Undoubtedly the most charming way to invite your loved ones to kick back—and get down on the dance floor.
A recycling bin that feels distinctly in-aesthetic (and not at all lecture-y).
Indie, bohemian and dreamy all at once.
A truly adorable way to keep your loved ones warm all day/night long.
Because putting French doors outside sounds so ridiculous but looks so, so good.
S’mores stations are always cause for celebration, and having one at a wedding is unendingly fun.
You’re gonna have to rent chairs anyway—might as well make ’em cute.
I mean, why not make your wedding reception feel like your family dining room? Instance romance, coziness and family celebration wrapped up in one.
Another s’mores station. Because there’s no wrong way to do it.
A simpler take on the mixed-chair aesthetic.
Who needs an open bar when you can BYOB in a wheelbarrow?
The cutest damn way to do a sweetheart table.
Save money on a bartender by letting guests serve themselves all night long.
A seated altar might be the ultimate wedding power move.
Because fairy lights make everything dreamier. Everything.
This sign takes advantage of the kitsch inherent to an indie backyard wedding—and makes the absolute most of it.
Proof DIY altars can be a ton of fun.
More mixed-and-matched chairs, because seriously, you need chairs anyway!