When the words “backyard wedding” come to mind, there are usually some less than fairytale like connotations that come along with it. A backyard wedding can be a romantic and beautiful theme style wedding if done correctly. When one thinks of a backyard wedding the image of lawn chairs and a barbeque reception may be imagined, however, backyard weddings are so much more than what the name suggests. We have some beautiful inspiration and tips for planning a gorgeous, rustic country backyard wedding.
Choosing a backyard wedding
Weddings can be stressful and locating an open venue in Wisconsin can be difficult. Perhaps you are a couple in a hurry to get married and want to waste no time becoming Mr & Mrs, a backyard wedding has no waiting list and is an exclusive venue just for your special day. Backyard weddings are stress free and often have a relaxed atmoshpere. Guests are often not required to dress formally so that they can fully enjoy the down to earth style of the wedding. Backyard weddings are fun and can include yard games to keep your guests entertained. There are many opportunities for you to get in touch with your crafty side and create some beautiful diy pieces. Backyard weddings are fuss free and have a simple, yet rustic elegance about them. Whatever the reason for choosing to have this style wedding, the day will be as special and memorable as you choose to make it. Backyard weddings are more suited to the couple planning an intimate spring or summer wedding, and who are looking for the “less is more” approach.
Choosing the venue for your wedding day is a huge decision. If you don’t already have a special family backyard in mind, you may have to consider asking friends and family if they know of a suitable location. Living in the country gives you an advantage right away as the properties are usually large and picturesque and look just like some of the top wedding venues. Consider a venue on a lake or by a stream or one that has a beautiful rustic barn that can be turned into a fairytale reception area.
When choosing your venue, you need to take a few things into consideration:
-The outdoor area should be evenly grassed, you can’t have your guests seated on an uncomfortable slant throughout your ceremony and reception.
– The outdoor area needs to be big enough to perhaps have a tent if there is no other indoor option, you always need to plan for the possibility of bad weather.
– The venue needs to provide good photographic opportunities as well as be accommodating to your guests. Trees may look gorgeous in photo’s but if your guests can’t see past the trees at your ceremony it leaves a lot to be desired.
– There needs to be restroom facilities outdoors, whether the venue you choose has enough restrooms or whether you need to hire a company to provide adequate facilities, this is an important factor that cannot be overlooked.
– Are there electrical plug points and supplies for your outdoor ceremony and reception. Lights, DJ’s and bands, food warmers and other equipment all need a power supply.
– You may have to end your night time celebrations early. You need to make your neighbours aware of the function and take any noise restrictions into consideration.
– Visit your venue a year in advance if possible. This will allow you to see the location at the exact time of year that you are going to get married. Take note of the shade, will your guests be sitting in the sun for the duration of the ceremony? The light needs to be even for the best photo’s to be taken as well. Visiting the venue at the exact time a year in advance allows you to pick the best time of day or evening for your ceremony and reception to take place.
– Will there be enough space for your guests to park their cars? If the property doesn’t have space for your guests, consider hiring transport to fetch them from a safe location where they can leave their cars.
There are many factors that come into play when choosing a backyard wedding and it may not be as simple or as inexpensive as you had imagined. With proper planning and preparing, your backyard wedding dream is fully achievable. Hiring a wedding planner is an excellent option for backyard weddings, it takes a huge amount of stress and planning off of the bridal couple.
Your backyard ceremony needs to be carefully planned. Firstly you need to have a spot for the pre-ceremony gathering. Guests are most likely to arrive well ahead of time and need a space where they can relax and wait for the ceremony to begin.
The majority of backyard ceremonies happen in the beautiful outdoors. You need to take the season and time of day into careful consideration. If the garden is filled with trees and shade, then the time of day becomes less of a challenge. If your venue doesn’t have a vast amount of trees then you may have to consider moving your ceremony to late afternoon so that your guests don’t bake in the summer heat. If there are little or no trees, perhaps a few canvas umbrella’s will be practical and won’t take away from the beautiful setting. Use them to your advantage and add decor to them. Hang delicate tea lights and flowers from the umbrellas or wrap your favourite flowers around the base. The comfort of your guests is of utmost importance. Don’t forget to consider the direction in which you are facing. You don’t want your guests to be blinded by the afternoon sun, nor do you want to be squinting through the glare as you say your I do’s. Have a basket of cute fans for each if your guests to stay cool during the ceremony, these would also look lovely in your photo’s.
Consider planning a gorgeous evening wedding, what would be more romantic than saying your wedding vows in the golden glow of the sunset and dancing to your first song as a married couple under the evening stars. Use your surroundings to your advantage, if there is a swing in the way, use it as a focal point or a decor piece. Get creative and make the most of the beautiful setting that nature has provided for you. If the garden is one level, perhaps have a platform for you as the bridal couple to stand on. This will make it easier for your guests to feel part of the ceremony and will also provide the best photo opportunities. Create a pretty altar feature to stand under while saying your vows, this is a simple trick to add rustic romance to your ceremony. Drape a simple piece of fabric and add some flowers, or create a rustic little arch with wood and drape fabric or flowers over it. Have a backup plan for bad weather, although most guests can must a slight chill for a little while, most of them won’t be too happy sitting in wind and rain to witness your union. If there is no indoor option, then it is best to have a good supply of umbrellas for the day – just in case. Have a wooden crate with blankets in for those who may need to keep warm, this is also a lovely option for guests with small children who may enjoy sitting on a blanket during the ceremony.
The ceremony is over and you are stolen by your photographer for your first photo’s as a married couple, you guests need somewhere to wait for your return. An outdoor space is a good idea as it needs little planning and decor. Have a couple of tables and chairs with drinks and snacks for guests to enjoy while waiting.
Creating interesting things for your guests to do will help alleviate any impatience. Have a photo gallery or a place where guests can write special notes for you, if you are a whimsical couple, have some of your favorite games for your friends and family to enjoy. A photo booth is a fun option for both pre-reception and during the reception. Provide fun little props for your guests to use to create their own memories. These photos also serve as lovely thank you gifts for your guests.
This is what the guests have been waiting for! Food, drinks and a night full of laughter and dancing. You want to create the most romantic and memorable wedding reception possible with the space that you have. If there is no rustic barn or outbuilding, perhaps hire a tent company to create a whimsical tented reception. The fabulous thing about tents is that there are very little limitations. You can still have the fairytale draping and lighting that most brides dream of while enjoying the beautiful country night sky.
The reception area should have enough tables and chairs to seat each guest, as well as tables for catering and wedding gifts, and a spot for the DJ should you choose to have one. You don’t want to have your guests crammed into a small space, it is important to make sure that there is ample space for everything you need in the reception area.
Round tables are very generic for wedding day seating plans. Work with the space that you have. If you need to use long tables, make it work. Many couples are choosing to have long harvest style tables at their reception so that guests can better enjoy each other’s company. A dance floor is another important factor to consider. If there isn’t enough room indoors for a large dance floor, get creative and create a cute outdoor dance floor for the guests who want to dance the night away under the stars.
A huge bonfire is a fun and easy way to add another exciting element to your reception and works perfectly for those nights that get chilly out in the country. Creating a separate seating area is also another popular trend, use the outdoor space that you have to provide an area outside of the reception for guests to enjoy conversation and drinks.
Food & Drinks
Catering for your guests is one of the most important aspects of your wedding. While your wedding day is an important and special day for you as the bridal couple, your guest’s comfort is of utmost importance. You don’t want your guests walking away from your wedding with anything less than magical memories and a satisfied palate. The food and drinks play a very important role in creating those memories.
Offer pre-ceremony drinks for the guests who like to arrive very early, a small glass of fresh juice or a glass of champagne are both great options for summer weddings. For the colder days have a coffee bar where your guests can enjoy something warm while they wait for the ceremony to begin. When the ceremony is over, you will be whisked away by the photographer to capture some of your dream wedding photo’s, don’t forget to take good care of your guests while you are absent from the scene.
Backyard weddings don’t often allow for a wide variety of food options. You have to take the weather and storage options into consideration. If there isn’t space to keep food warm or cold, opt for cocktail snacks that are great served at room temperature or cheese platters with a variety of cheeses, crackers, and preserves. Should you be fortunate to have enough space and heating options, a buffet is another great dinner choice. A buffet style dinner cuts down on catering costs and allows your guests to help themselves to a warm meal. Try choose foods that won’t spoil easily and that aren’t too dependent on the weather, for instance having a seafood buffet in the scorching hot summer isn’t the greatest idea.
Stay away from desserts that need to be chilled and go for tasty miniature pastries and cakes instead. A sweet buffet or bar is a classic this year, you can offer a variety of mini country treats, s’mores are one of my personal favorite’s and offer a fun experience for your guests to enjoy.
Offer drinks that complement the food, having a bar area is always a hit with your guests, or have bottles of wine on the table for your guests and incorporate it with your table decor, this is space saving and cost effective. Alcohol is always a good option as it doesn’t spoil and is easy to store and serve. Pitchers of lemonade and iced tea are really great and space saving too, be sure to have the pitchers topped up for your guests. Spa water is a very popular and refreshing drink, and they are so simple to make yourself.
Another cute idea is to have a picnic theme, your guests can enjoy their own little picnic basket of food, drinks, and treats. You can include a small bottle or Mason jar of a signature drink in the basket, and there will be no waste because guests get to keep their bottles.
Ten years ago, Katie and I started planning our own wedding and we had no idea where to start. We had never planned a wedding before and all the weddings we had ever attended took place in a Church. While we still admire traditional wedding venues, Northern and Central Wisconsin have some great options for the modern bride who is looking to break the mold and is up for a little adventure. Why not invite all your closest friends to a resort for the weekend and end your night with a camp fire and smores. Check out some of our favorite Northern Wisconsin Wedding Venues. Part 1
White’s Wildwood Retreat is one of those venues where all of your dreams come true. There is nothing that the team won’t do for you to make your wedding day magical. The venue can accommodate a wide range of ceremony and reception requests. If you are unsure of the type of venue you want then you need to visit White’s Wildwood Retreat and see what they have to offer. If you are looking for a beautiful country wedding venue in Wisconsin, then this is the place you have been dreaming of. You can find this magical retreat nestled in the bluffs between Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls in the town of LaFayette.
This venue is both rustic and elegant and provides a beautiful country vibe to your big day. From vast grassy gardens with rustic bridges and arches, to gorgeous wooded indoors with breathtaking views of nature. The stunning wooden pavilion is a fantastic option for your reception. The simplicity of the place lends itself to endless decor possibilities. Should you wish to keep things simple, the natural wood and dim glow of the fairy lights are romantic enough to create the dreamy atmosphere you are looking for. Perhaps you prefer to dance under the stars as husband and wife? Choose to have your reception moved outdoors in the beautiful country gardens and dine by starlight.
Choose White’s Wildwood Retreat for the endless photographic opportunities. There are many beautiful backdrops that nature provides at this venue. Your guests that have traveled far can also spend the night in one of the many cabins available on the property.
Enchanted Barn in Hillsdale Wisconsin is a venue out of an enchanted country fairytale. Their slogan is “where rustic marries elegance” and it is truly nothing short of that very description. You will feel no less than royalty on your wedding day should you choose to marry at Enchanted Barn. Everything from the bridal suite to the reception barn, is absolutely gorgeous and finished with rustic touches of ancient timber and stone with hints of chic white decor.
Your wedding ceremony is held inside the barn loft under the glow of soft lights and candles. The barn is open and allows nature to fill the air as you say your vows. When your ceremony is over guests can enjoy cocktails on the decked patio by the fireplace while you enjoy the beauty of the gardens for your wedding photos. While you are away the barn gets transformed into a dining area to die for. Guests won’t believe it is the same place that they were sitting in for the ceremony. After the dinner speeches are over and the guests are satisfied with their amazing meal they can once again head to the coffee parlor to enjoy an array of desserts while the final touch of magic happens in the barn. Once again the team changes the venue into a dance floor of dimmed lights and romance.
There is no request too large or elaborate for the Enchanted Barn team and they will go out of their way to make sure that your wedding day vision is met. Their motto “shoe up and get married” is taken to the literal extreme and you can rest assured that your day will be perfect.
Picture getting married in a restored old barn. Willow Springs is known for its rustic round barn which caters for many functions. There are a wide array of ceremony options at Willow Springs and is perfect for both summer and winter weddings.
Should you choose to say your nuptials outdoors, your decor will be minimal as the beautiful gardens and lush lawns provide all of the country beauty you need for your ceremony. There is a quaint little gazebo that can also be used for your ceremony and will look really great in your photos. If you decide to marry in the cold winter months, your ceremony can be held in the old town hall or in a romantic tent in the gardens. Your reception can also be held in the hall, although the round barn is the center attraction at Willow Springs. Little decor is needed inside the old wooden barn as it provides that rustic charm most country brides are looking for. Dance the night away in this unique barn that dates back to the late 1800’s and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Willow Springs Garden is a simple country gem that is warm and inviting, making it the perfect location for your country wedding.
Located in central Wisconsin, SentryWorld is a unique choice for your wedding. Your ceremony and reception locations offer views of their beautiful green golf course. The manicured gardens are something to gaze at in awe at SentryWorld.
Enjoy a beautiful outdoor ceremony in the summertime in the lush gardens painted with colorful flowers. Your photos will be nothing short of magical in the magnificent garden setting this venue has to offer. In the winter months, you can choose from one of the indoor options which is equally as beautiful with its wood finishes.
Your reception will be held in the hall of your choice. All of the halls have the most exquisite wooden finishes which is both rustic and modern. The way they have designed the ceilings is truly beautiful and complimented by the stunning lighting fixtures which will provide elegant backdrops for your reception photos. In the snowy winter months, your guests can enjoy the stone boma fire on the patio while we capture the most amazing winter photos with nature’s own bridal backdrop of white snow. All of the buildings are wood with marvelous stone features designed in a chic modern way.
If you are looking for something between country and modern then this is the right venue for your big day. Beautiful architecture with rustic compliments and gorgeous lush gardens, what more could a bride ask for?
The rustle of fallen leaves, the warmth of sunshine hitting the trees giving them a golden glow, the cool breeze, and sounds of nature, the fresh summer air or the crackling of a winter fire. If you are planning a rustic country wedding, then these are all of the romantic connotations you would associate with your perfect wedding day. Northern Wisconsin has some of the most beautiful wedding venues, they are simple and rustic yet romantic and elegant all at the same time. If you are on the search for the perfect wedding venue, keep reading. We have found seven gorgeous venues that will take your breath away. Part 2
At first glance, this venue looks like an amazing holiday home on the lake. As you enter the ranch you drive through magnificent steel gates that give you that sense of luxury. The road is lined with tall pine trees which lead you to lush green gardens. The ranch has an elegant country look to it, designed with warm woods and huge windows to allow the splendor and beauty of nature to fill each room. The lake adds to the romantic appeal of the venue, can you imagine the amazing wedding photo’s we could capture out on the lake or at the lakeside as the sun is starting to set? If you are looking for first-class country elegance with just the right touch of rustic charm, then you definitely need to take a trip up to Northwood and see the country beauty of Rondele Ranch in person.
Should you choose to have an outdoor summer wedding, you will be surrounded by gorgeous full gardens shaded by an array of trees. A stunning paved path leads the bride up to a cute little gazebo with soft linen drapes blowing in the summer breeze. Say your vows with the soft sound of the lake water in view of the gazebo. A Wisconsin summer wedding could not be more perfect in the gardens of Rondele Ranch.
If you prefer a cosy winter wedding, envision warming fireplaces and wooden furniture with the soft glow of fairy lights. Walk down the aisle in the warmth of the winter sun surrounded by rustic wooden chairs and candles. Enjoy your reception in a cosy venue where the love of friends and family is warm enough to fight the winter chill.
Whichever season you choose to get married in at Rondele Ranch you can be sure of one thing, it will be rustic and romantic.
Centrally located in Wisconsin’s heartland, Munson Bridge Winery is the perfect location for a dreamy barn wedding. If you have always dreamed of getting married at a classy yet rustic country venue, then this is the one for you. The entire property has a very old school western look to it and almost has a vintage feel, yet still modern and enchanting. You can expect to see a lot of gorgeous steel work and decks in the gorgeous barn-like facilities. The gardens are spacious and green with huge trees. I particularly love the way the Ivy grows up the barns, it adds such a natural romantic look to the structures, I would imagine Romeo and Juliet getting married at a venue such as this.
You will be walking down the aisle in a magnificent hayloft, the loft is made of original wood from top to bottom and is topped off with a huge chandelier which adds an amazing elegance to the place. Envision your guests sitting on comfortably draped bails of hay as you say your I do’s under the glow of the chandelier. I love how the sunlight peeps through the small holes and cracks in the barn walls and roof bringing in some natural radiance.
The wedding reception facility is a huge tent that is situated in the gardens, offering spectacular country views of the winery. In the summer, you can choose to have the sides of the tent open to allow for the fresh summer air and sunlight to fill the tent. In the chilly months, you can choose to have the tent closed and enjoy the warmth of the candlelight throughout the evening. What is truly lovely about this tent is that it is a blank canvas and can be decorated in any way your heart desires. Their on staff decorator works with you to bring your vision to life.
Toast to your future as husband and wife with a glass of one of the many wines that the Winery makes on site. This adds a personal touch to end off your big day.
You don’t get much more romantic than saying your vows on a beautiful lake. If an outdoor summer country wedding is your vision for your big day, then this venue should be at the very top of your list. Located in the beautiful Northwood, Chippewa Resort overlooks Lake Manitowish which provides you with the most exquisite wedding backdrop in the summertime.
The resort has gorgeous wooden villas and decks. There are beautiful stone walls and huge rustic wooden doors, which all provide beautiful backdrops for your wedding day photos. The views and photographic opportunities are breathtaking as you wander down tree-lined pathways which meet the deck leading onto the lake. A sunset photo shoot will be a truly romantic and memorable experience at this resort.
Should you wish to stick to a traditional ceremony, there is a stunning little chapel with stained glass windows and wooden benches for your guests, which is also suited to those who are planning their weddings in the cooler months. Should you decide to have an outdoor ceremony, lush gardens, green lawns and the beautiful lake will be all the decor you need. The Chippewa team have a wonderful wedding coordinator team should you wish to add to the decor that nature has provided. A boat trip down the lake takes you to a reception hall that looks like it comes out of a top country magazine. The decks lead you to a huge romantic cabin with an impressive stone fireplace. The surrounding deck also accommodates those who wish to bring their celebrations outdoors.
If simple country romance is what you are looking for, Chippewa Retreat Resort is the perfect place for you. The best part is that you can choose to stay for your honeymoon at the gorgeous retreat.
For more great Northern Wisconsin Wedding Venues, click HERE.
2015 was a blur. Filled with fleeting moments like these. Looking over our past year in work it is hard not to break into song… 525600 minutes. RENT fans know what I’m talking about. “How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?” For those of you who now have that song stuck in your head, you’re welcome! Anyway, I find that question both haunting and challenging at the same time. Time is the universal currency and it is in limited supply. A concept Mr. J. Timberlake helped me grasp thanks to his movie “In Time.” Side note: If you haven’t figured out that Katie and I are movie buffs, well, we are! What else do you do during late night Lightroom marathons?
Putting this post together is never easy; life is messy and it’s filled with ugly crying, but also belly laughing with pig snorts. Those are my personal favorites. My life, had it been captured to the degree we capture a wedding day, would be filled with candid raw emotion and a full toddler tantrums to boot.
When we pull our digital shoebox out 20 years from now, we want to cry, laugh, and then cry some more – all the while seeing the beauty that is in the chaos – the imperfection, those in between moments. We will ask, “where did the time go?” as we look into each other’s now middle aged faces, filled with more laugh lines I hope. I know I will wish we could go back to in time, yet we know the best is still ahead. I wonder what advice my older self would give to me now. What things will matter then?
The beauty is truly in the journey, not the destination and your wedding is one day of adventure you’ll want to remember for the rest of your life! Katie and I have a total of 40 images from our wedding in 2007. We have one on display in our home. Our goal, our passion, is to capture a wedding like it was our own and treat every couple as if it was us. Our style is James & Katie; it is what we would want had we the opportunity to do it all over again, we wouldn’t but we joke about it.
I can tell you that we were concerned with things that now we laugh about. I wish we had spent more time together and less time worrying. It all turned out and after 8 years of marriage we’re still figuring things out, we don’t have it all together, but we have each other. That makes everything worth it and we wouldn’t change a thing.
Happy 2016! We have so much to be grateful for. Live a #LifeRevered.