How to Host an Outdoor Wedding

Have you ever considered hosting a wedding in your back yard? Does that sound like fun, or do you wonder how to make it happen? Especially if it’s early October, you live in a rural area, miles from the nearest towns, the weather is unpredictable, and the country is still in the grips of a pandemic. I’ve included a “how to” outline in this blog.

A long and lonely road.

Then you begin to think about the implications of having a hundred of your daughter’s friends settling in for the evening. What do you need to do? If you are lucky enough to have a super-organized daughter like mine, you can relax a bit and just talk over the details with her.

My daughter and her special guy were married in a private ceremony with just the two of them and a minister last November during a Covid shutdown. This upcoming event will be the celebration they were not able to have last fall. Wedding invitations detail that the event will be outdoors allowing people to spread out as much as they wish to avoid possible Covid contact.

I have three dozen folding chairs and assorted benches acquired over the years to host other events. I’m borrowing tables from a community group. My organized daughter contracted for a caterer, a brewer, a band, a wandering guitarist, a photographer, and a florist. Our local neighborhood brewer applied to the county authorities for permission to sell his beer and other drinks in our location remote from his brewery. The permit is approved, thankfully.

Choose a band

The band, Stonehouse, plays at multiple venues in the area and will be performing for this wedding as well.


My daughter also plans for decorations, lights, gifts for attendants, and tartan scarves for the moms and grandmothers. Her husband is of Scottish descent. He, his brother, the best man, and a few others will be wearing kilts. We are missing someone to play bagpipes but everything other than that seems to be coming together as I write this ten days out from the event.

Pick a Theme.


This event has a tartan theme.

Consider the Weather.

The weather is predicted to be 72 degrees during the day and edging toward 45 degrees later in the evening with several days of possible wet weather between now and then. Rain could be a complication; we hope for a dry day, but forecasts can change significantly in ten days. The meal will be in a large garage we call The Shed. The band will be in The Shed under cover as well. There’s just the question of what to do with the guests if it rains.

Select a Venue

The photo is of a previous event held in The Shed.

To answer the potential wet guest question, we have been cleaning two old barns to serve as extra indoor sites… just in case. Barn cleaning is challenging to say the least. We are sweeping down years of cobwebs, removing old manure in wheelbarrows, and chasing unfriendly smells with bleach and deodorizers. The next step will be to scatter chairs around the barns.

Repurposing Barns


There is also the question of parking and bathrooms. My daughter ordered porta-pots to set up in my yard (my rural plumbing will not service large numbers without problems.)  I don’t have a paved parking lot. If the days stay dry, guests will be able to park in a pasture near the house. If it’s raining, they will need to park along the side of the graveled road. Guest can walk to the back yard, or we will ferry them in a Gator two or three at a time.

Outdoor Seating

During the coming weekend the bride, groom and I will do a final cleaning in The Shed. We also need to pick up the borrowed tables, set up chairs, and assemble lawn chairs for outdoor seating. I have a stack of shawls and small blankets to loan for anyone who gets cold.

Enjoy some time outside

Keep you fingers crossed and hope that Mother Nature cooperates to give us a beautiful fall day

Published by llzranch

parent, writer, mental health counselor, gardener, environmentalist

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