Elevating Your Backyard Bash

If you think simple, plain, or dull when you think of a backyard party, think again! Your outdoor event experience easily translates into personal spaces – you may just have to scale your operations down to accommodate more limited space and bring in the things you are accustomed to finding on site at a venue. Elevating your client’s backyard bash simply requires adding your signature sparkle and character to the celebration on a smaller scale.

Establish a stunning foundation

Begin with securing the necessary rentals to ensure guest comfort and safety, as well as appropriate service and prep areas. You’ll need the standard array of tables, chairs, and linens. Depending on the size of backyard, you may need one or more tents. A smaller event might be catered from the owner’s kitchen or garage, or you might need to rent a prep tent. Additional restrooms may also be needed. Ask your local supplier for upgraded options that include lighting and sinks with running water.

“Also like any professional venue, pay close attention to how the weather might impact your food safety or presentation and adjust to fit the anticipated temperatures.”

Menu

There is no reason you can’t have the same high-quality menu as you would with an outdoor reception venue. Action stations are engaging and interactive and beloved by guests. Have wait staff pass hors d’oeuvres just as they would at a venue. Also like any professional venue, pay close attention to how the weather might impact your food safety or presentation and adjust to fit the anticipated temperatures.

Florals in unexpected places add an element of surprise and delight. Photo courtesy Jenny DeMarco

Add lighting

Lighting can make the biggest difference in décor at any party, but especially at a backyard bash. Simply plug in some pretty uplights pointed toward the landscaping and you create instant ambience while de-emphasizing those parts of a backyard that hold less mystique. Add hanging candles, clusters of pillars, and lighting along pathways and you can create a wonderland out of the least exciting spaces in a backyard.

Photo courtesy Don Mears Photography

Plan for weather

Other weather considerations apply to outdoor events no matter where they are being held. Rent market umbrellas as shelter from the sun or even rain if a tent won’t fit in your space. In the summer months, have bug spray on hand for all guests. Keep a supply of hand sanitizer available for use after spraying. In hot weather, add lots of fans—hand fans, standing fans, and give yourself bonus points if you can install a mister. In the winter, gas-powered heaters can be lifesavers.

Address practical considerations

If you can swing it, offer heel protectors for women if the yard is mostly grass. Choose locations for events that aren’t low-lying where water might collect and create mud, and have tents installed several days before if rain is expected to try to keep the lawn dry.

Make arrangements for guest parking if needed. If there isn’t enough street parking at the owner’s house, is there a nearby lot that you could use in conjunction with valet service? Nothing says “this backyard bash will surprise you” like being greeted upon arrival by a valet!

A backyard event gives you many different opportunities to wow both your clients and their guests by turning their everyday space into something magical. To truly go above and beyond, remember that managing a backyard bash with professionalism, courtesy, and innovation will create an unforgettable experience every time.

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Kim Sayatovic

Kim Sayatovic is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Belladeux Event Design, a full-service wedding and event design firm based in New Orleans, Louisiana.