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Venue vs Back garden: Why a Backyard Wedding Could Be Your Perfect Match!

How Jen & Ben's back garden wedding have completely changed the game and my opinion on how your your wedding day should be! I knew from the moment that I first spoke with Jen & Ben that their wedding day would be one to remember. Not just because they were the first couple to ever discover me on Tiktok (welcome to the future), but they're also the first couple that I've worked with or heard of, who decided to host their wedding day, in their own back garden!

a back garden full of wedding guests, with a tree and summery sky
Jen & Bens Beautiful Backgarden Wedding

Now many people (especially those with very little space) would question why such a choice. However, much thanks to Jen & Bens incredible planning and creativity, as a more none traditional, modernly rebellious gal myself, I think that a back garden wedding is a brilliant idea! Of course these newlyweds had the acres to be able to host a party of 50 plus guests. Then again, even if your homely space and inner circle is more on the small side, there's many benefits to ditching the typical wedding venues and having the biggest day of your life, at home.

Before I list a few reasons why I'm so on board with the backyard. It's worth caveating that I of course understand that each couple's day is about themselves, their style, their story and their love. And as a wedding singer who's bared witness to a variety of weddings across Yorkshire and The North, I'm a huge admirer of the many beautiful, grand, quirky, spacious, picturesque and fairytale venues that I've had the pleasure of visiting. So whatever venue you as a couple choose, it will be the right choice, because you made it.

I'm just here to throw an interesting, alternative and quite frankly adorable spanner in the venue ideas category mix. First of all, I think the most obvious benefit that comes to mind would be the price. When talking about fees, we're not talking numbers, but more about value. When I learned from this particular couples plans, that they were re-decking their patio for the wedding especially, using their savings to snazz up their garden and then going on an all American road trip in a mustang (DREAM!) afterwards. It dawned on me that typically, once the wedding day is over, the newlyweds then have to hand the metaphorical keys back over to the venue owners along with the money spent with them. However, in Jen & Ben's case, they now had a gorgeous patio and garden space to enjoy with friends, family and their dog Ralph for years to come. Which as outdoorsy people, would mean a lot to them. Along with that pretty iconic honeymoon to look forward to. According to the UK National Wedding Survey 2023, the most expensive fee for couples for the most previous years and repeatedly is the venue. So imagine where you could put that extra cash? Of course, this depends on how much wedding cash you have to start off with. However, I'm obviously going to put my debating hat on and this is where the concept of value comes into play. Where you as a couple need to ask yourself what your own values are. A wedding day is a huge moment, it's a core memory and special marker in a couples love journey. Which is why I completely understand why you would want to escape from the normality of every day life, take yourself away from your usual view and take the day to be something truly spectacular. Venues are the perfect way to create this romantic escapism. They're also a great way of naturally expressing you as a couple's style which will in turn be portrayed in the life long wedding photos. So if a Bridgeton style manor house, cutely converted barn or gorgeous gothic church allows you to tell your couples story. Then the value and therefore the price is of course, worth every penny.

On the subject of stories and personalisation, this is where the argument for a back garden wedding bats back over to for. As many venues have their own styling teams, restrictions and sometimes, blank canvas vibes. With your own home the possibilities are huge.

a wild flower bouquet lays on a table. The bloom is made up of multiple bright and bold summery colours
Jens Wildflower Bouquet

As with Jen & Ben, their scheme was fun, colourful and comfy. Therefore the bridal's wildflower bouquet co-ordinated perfectly with their already blooming flower patches dotted around the garden. Cute beehive ornaments and gnomes decorated the outskirts and the huge tree swing already in place, was a hit with their guests. There was space a plenty for their doggo Ralph to run free and to actually be involved in the wedding. (Can you believe that some venues DON'T allow dogs?!) With outsourced garden games, hay bales, crafty table decorations and knitted love letters. Strict BYOB instructions and ice buckets to chill beverages, a live band (close friends of the wedding party) and a silent disco hire. Not only was the wedding day transformed into a festival vibe but by inviting myself as a supplier along with guests into their own home ergo their own space, it really did create an extra layer of intimacy that I'm not sure an external venue could naturally create. There's also the magical thought that, no-one else will have been married in this space. (Unless the previous owners had the same idea). But with most wedding venues, in peak season, there's sometimes multiple couples in and out of the venue within the week.

The idea that this back garden, this space and place belongs purely to yourselves as a couple, is something to treasure and something that you can re-call throughout your future together. Both geographically and metaphorically, the day is all yours. What could be more personal that that?

A jacket potato in hand, infront of Jen & Ben the bride and groom in their garden, enjoying their wedding
Wedding Breakfast Meal - Spud Buddies jacket potato

Be that as it may, it goes without saying that to actually host a wedding in your own back garden, it requires a lot of organisation, planning and is heavily weather dependant. Which to be fair, aren't all UK weddings? However, from what I witnessed during the build up and on the day itself. This type of wedding required the style of involvement that could be described as more, "hands-on". The punch jar of Pimms was made up by the bride a few hours before the ceremony. Wedding chairs, tables and oh yes, the wedding building itself aka the gazebo had to be sourced and then installed a few days prior. Appropriate coverage and power supply for myself as the wedding singer all had to be sorted out and provided beforehand. During the drinks reception, we had the groom hands on, fully suited up, pulling out a water pipe across the garden and the father of the bride helping out with parking logistics. Which in fairness, it was rather nice to see the family working together to upkeep the day. Still, perhaps a little less glamorous. All of the details that the comfort of a venue naturally take care of, falls into the couples hands. So I guess it depends once again on the type of couple that you are. Do you actually love the idea of mucking in, perhaps you already have a hack and enjoy event planning and have intensely impressive organisational skills? If so, you're either Monica from Friends the TV show or perhaps the perfect candidate for your own back garden wedding. A further however, if you love the idea of hosting your own day, but are more like Joey from Friends (a cutie but severely unorganised) you can still source the external help. A wedding co-ordinator or events planner would be more than capable of taking the slack and stress off of your hands. There are no strict rules here! Speaking of rules, most wedding venues are able to claim that title as they are liscened by law to legally marry with a registrar on site. However, as you can imagine, most homeowners, don't have this liscence. Which would mean that you like Jen & Ben would have to opt for a Celebrant/Family and Friends Lead Ceremony. (I could and probably will write a whole other blog post on these). But if you're not clued up on celebrant ceremonies and how they work. Basically, you'd be required to have a legal ceremony in a licensed venue (typically a registrar's office), before your second ceremony on the wedding day. Couples choose to do this despite the extra step as celebrant lead ceremonies can allow for much more personalisation, un-formality and creativity, which for a back garden wedding, the cohesion is unquestionable. Plus there's the option to extend the wedding celebrations with a mini wedding the day before as many of my couples have opted for. Making it again dependant on your beliefs, traditions and preferences as a couple when it comes to the ceremony. This factor alone could determine whether a back garden wedding is possible. Then again, who's to say that the back garden has to be full wedding day exclusive? A more formal and legal setting for the ceremony, followed by a return home for the Drinks Reception onwards could also be the perfect compromise.

A still of jen and bens wedding ceremony inside their gazebo
Jen & Bens Family/Friend Lead Ceremony

I think it's fair to say that the over-riding theme of the point I'm making here, as should with any wedding opinion blog. Is that, the choice is yours. The choice regarding your wedding, whether that be the venue, live musician or cuisine served. Is that it should always be yours. But perhaps the idea to host your own wedding at home, never crossed your mind. In regards to those who decide to opt for it, I say hell yeah! If it's anything like the success that Jen & Ben's day was, it would be a choice and wedding day that is highly welcomed, with outstanding themes of homeliness, intimacy, individuality, romance, rebellion and freedom. Which I think in this modern day society, is a pretty good impression to leave on the first day of the rest of your lives together, don't you? All the best, Abbi-Kaye (Viva la Vintage) x


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