It has NOT been an easy year. We are officially in “mid-year” and couples and vendors alike are all very much not impressed with 2020. This is usually our biggest time of year, and we are just as upset as our couples that we are making postponements that are sometimes, just necessary.
That being said, we wanted to talk about something that may make you feel a bit better, and give our couples some idea of how to beat the Covid blues. If you have postponed your wedding to 2021, or are considering doing so, another option would be to cut the guest list, and host a ceremony and small gathering in your very own backyard. These events are not only special and intimate, they are Covid-19 approved.
Venue - When thinking about planning your own backyard wedding, be aware that it doesn’t actually have to be in your own backyard. There are dozens of different options that could work. For example, does a friend or relative have a backyard that they are willing to offer? Or what about a local park, field or even a desolate place near the woods. Think outside the box for this because it doesn’t have to be so cookie cutter. You get to incorporate your own vision and creativity, which is why we love it so much.
Food –Depending on the amount of people that you are having come to attend your intimate affair, you have a few options. You could order catering trays to be delivered from your favorite local restaurant, which will allow for customization and smaller portions for your reduced guest list. You could also talk to a caterer, if you wanted something where you don’t have to lift a finger. If you are in NJ we highly recommend Harvest Catering. In fact, we recently planned an intimate wedding where the couple chose to have a caterer, and they ordered trays of lobster tails, a tray of filet, corn, fries, and were able to have a small buffet in their own backyard. For your cake, you can still order a gorgeous, smaller version wedding cake from the bakery you originally had in mind, or somewhere local that may even deliver! For a small gathering of 10-15 people, you can do a small, two tier cake or even a larger round cake that feeds 20. That way, you can even save some for your anniversary the following year! No traditions broken here!
Drinks – For the bar, you can source your liquor from a liquor store, but to put a personal touch on your event, try seeing if you can find a recipe for a sangria, lemonade, or some type of mixed drink that can serve as your signature drink! For our lead planner Brielle, her family makes the BEST sangria. It’s a family staple for sure. She was able to have her family help her to recreate it into large pitchers and serve it for her engagement party. It was a crowd favorite and still to this day, her guests remember and ask her to send them the recipe.
Music – Have a friend that is always the go-to car DJ? Have them make you an awesome playlist that will be amazing for your day. If you even feel comfortable enough to do it on your own, why not! It should be fun and stress-free. If you have a small, portable bluetooth speaker (or if a friend does that you can borrow) bring it out and you’re good to go! Another alternative would be to look into booking a violinist, cellist or pianist that can play ceremony music so you still have the ambiance you had originally envisioned. Check out our spotify playlists here.
Décor – Pinterest is everyone’s best friend during this pandemic, so put it to good use! Have the florist that you originally chose for your date make up some small centerpieces for you so that you have something to put on the tables. If you are feeling super creative, head to your local supermarket and grab some fresh flowers and make your own! Mason jars are still always the easiest and somehow have always managed to stay classic. Fill the jars with a tiny bit of water and some simple florals and you’ll be good to go.You can even do this for the bouquet and boutonniere – just be careful to make sure that you don’t have any thorns sticking out!
For the tables & seating– if you don’t have enough, there are various places where you can rent any type. They drop them off and pick them up when you’re ready, so you’re not worrying about having to return them anywhere. Rent a few long, rectangular tables for the food and some smaller round tables for your guests, or just all rectangular so you have the super farmhouse vibe – we dig it either way! Eagle Tent Rentals is a fan favorite in NJ and we recommend reaching out to them for sure! You can also go the route of renting super chic furniture which creates the most amazing atmosphere! You can even rent different types of love seats & chairs for the ceremony area, your guests will be super comfy & in love with your set up! We recommend Reaching out to The Event Bird if you are in the NYC/NJ area.
You can also rent lighting from these companies, so if you’ve been wanting string-lights or bistro lighting, don’t worry because they will likely have options for you. If you hang a few strands from any nearby trees, canopy, etc.
Always thought about adding a tent? Now is your chance! Various rental companies have tents that you can rent, but you can also find various options online. Depending on the size of the area that you are envisioning, you can talk to your wedding planner about the best size for your event.
Signs – Etsy is great for this stuff, but we also highly recommend The Jess Press in NJ! By adding additional signage, you can add simple special touches that really make an impact on your guests.
Photobooth – If you have an Instax camera or can pick up some disposable cameras at your local store, designate an area where your guests can take some memorable photos. You can purchase or even make various different types of signs for them to hold up (we wouldn’t recommend purchasing or making masks or anything that may go on the person during the pandemic) but you have more than enough options to be able to make some memories and capture them on camera. You can also put some disposable cameras on each table so that your guests can circulate the cameras and get some shots of everyone!
Last but not least, favors. This year, you will likely find that you can think of some easy favors for your guests. That’s right –personalized hand sanitizer and masks! You can find various websites online that will allow you to customize your order so that you can put your date or something funny like “spread love, not germs” and make it your own! If you are concerned about ensuring that you have sanitizer for your guests, you can rent or purchase your own standing hand sanitizer pump so that no touching will be necessary.
Overall, there are various ways in which to make this type of gathering fun and safe,but at the end of the day what matters most is that you and your soon to be spouse are together, safe, healthy and in love. What more can we ask for right now? This day is about the two of you, and truly it will be what you make of it. So make some lemonade from 2020’s lemons and lets have a party!