Is your backyard the go-to place for celebrations? Then maybe you’ve thought of hosting a big event. Here are a few of the best backyard event ideas and tips:

Venue + Guestlist:

Choosing your backyard as a venue for a big event is a convenient way to avoid paying additional fees charged by typical halls. One of the first things before settling on the idea is to make sure that the backyard you intend to use is spacious enough to host the amount of people on your guest list, and what kind of reception you imagine having. Meaning: Create your guestlist first! Once you get a rough idea of how many people you intend to invite, you will be able to move on to the next step:

Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner?

Besides a guestlist, all events need a starting time, food, and beverages. When do you plan on starting your event? If you are thinking of an early start, then you may consider serving light refreshments, such as coffee, teas, juices, and hors d’oeuvres. If your event will begin around noon, we recommend setting up a buffet style brunch with a variety of bagels, a make- your- own- omelet bar, bacon, fish, mimosas for guests who are 21+, and additional options to accommodate people with dietary restrictions. A formal dinner is usually expected for evening parties, unless you are going for a more casual, quick event. Decide whether you want to create assigned seating with place cards, or allow people to choose seats on their own. Hiring a caterer would be the most convenient option for an event, since they are the pros, especially for a plated dinner. Meet with a local caterer to discuss menu options that best meet your needs, and schedule a tasting to decide on your favorite dishes you want served at your event. Despite the time of day, sweeten things up by setting up a dessert table with freshly sliced fruits, mini cupcakes, cookies, and a cake if you’re hosting a wedding, anniversary, or birthday celebration. (TIP: Arrange a water station for your guests stay hydrated!)

Setting-Up the Space:

How do you want your event set-up? Search for local event planning companies who can help you rent booths, tents, chairs, tables, and linens for your party, according to your budget. If you plan on hiring a DJ, consider speaking to a company that rents dance floors, depending on your space. If there are restrictions about sound levels or times in your neighborhood, advise the entertainment staff in advance. Do you have enough space in your neighborhood for people to park their cars? If most of your guests will be driving, when sending the invitation inform your attendees about the parking situation.

In terms of decorations, having a nice garden will already help establish a beautiful ambiance. If your event will be in the evening, adding strands of lights to a tented area, or around trees will create a magical look.

Consider hanging or placing even more lights, lanterns and candles around your party. Depending on the occasion, you may require more decorations:

Weddings/ Celebrations: A theme will help direct the aesthetic: Rustic, modern, whimsical, vintage?

Birthday: For adults: Choose a color theme for your linens, balloons and lighting.
For kids: Find decorations based on a favorite toy, or movie character.

For both: Pick a corner for a table where guests can drop off presents. Prop up a sign that says: “Thank you for the gifts!” You may also want to wrap a few empty boxes and set them on the table.

Holiday: Holiday parties will already have an implied theme. If you are hosting a Christmas party, consider green, red, and white decorations accompanied by yellow lights!

Business: Your industry will define what tone to follow: Serious, playful, inspirational, bold, or simple.

Location Location Location, and Season:

A backyard event in the summer, or winter, needs to be equipped with ways to make your guests feel cool and comfortable, or warm and wonderful. If you would like to designate an indoor space, we recommend setting up chairs or couches for your friends, family, or co-workers to chill in an air conditioned, or heated area. Make sure the bathroom has toiletries for guests to freshen up. (TIP: Place a directional sign towards the restroom to avoid being asked where it is throughout the party.) Having a tent in the backyard will save you the trouble of rearranging your home. Many tent companies offer options with heaters, AC, or fans to improve the event experience.

Creating a tented area is a safe option in case of inclement weather, and will also help protect your decorations. A South Florida event will require “cooling zones” almost all year round, whereas an event in the Pacific Northwest in the summer will usually have a nice natural breeze, but a cold chill in the winter.

Schedule and Activities:

Plan a timeline of how you want your event to run.

21+ Party Timeline Example:

11:30 AM: Guests arrive. (Serve passed hor d’oeuvres, and wine. Play music in the background.)

12:00 PM: Open the buffet.

12:15 PM: (DJ will play a custom slideshow.)

12:30 PM: Speech. (Ask DJ for microphone.)

12:45 PM Invite guests to check-out the dessert table.

1:00 PM: Begin activity #1. (Options: Dancing, opening presents, game, or swimming.)

1:45 PM: Refill water station, bar, and add more desserts/ snacks.

2:00 PM: Begin activity #2.

2:45 PM: Set up party favors table.

3:00 PM: If there will be dancing, continue until all guests depart.

4:00 PM: Begin clean-up.

Recording your Event:   

There are various creative ways to remember your event: A photographer, and videographer are the best options, of course. Also consider renting a photobooth, and setting up a photo, video, or written guest book to look back on.

If you are searching to buy a home with a backyard big enough to host events in the future, our team at A&D Mortgage is here to help you through the mortgage process. You may have your own dream backyard sooner than you think…