14 Tips for Planning a Dreamy Colorado Backyard Wedding in 2023!

Are you thinking about throwing a backyard wedding? This post has some great planning tips for your special day that you won’t want to miss!

Updated: May 15, 2023

Have you been thinking about planning a backyard wedding ceremony or reception?

Large weddings at a traditional venue can be fun–but they aren’t right for everyone. A backyard wedding can be a great alternative for elopements (typically 10 guests or less), microweddings (50 guests or less), or even larger groups in the right circumstances.

A backyard wedding lets you save on some of the costs of a traditional venue, and put that toward other aspects of your day. You also have a lot of freedom with how you set your day up! You can make your backyard wedding into anything you’d like!

Check out these planning tips for making your special day amazing!

1. Don’t underestimate the planning

Your backyard wedding can be as simple as you’d like it to be, but sometimes the planning steps really can add up! From preparing the backyard, to buying and setting up decor, arranging food and a bar, etc., there are almost as many steps (or possibly more!) as a traditional wedding. Of course, don’t forget about things like the clean up afterwards! 

2. Consider an Airbnb or VRBO

Not everyone’s backyard is well suited for a wedding. You could always use a friend or family member’s yard, or instead you could consider a renting an Airbnb or VRBO.

Always remember to check the property rules and confirm your plans with the owner before booking!  Airbnb has strict rules around “parties” and many owners don’t allow wedding celebrations because of this. VRBO owners are often more lenient but it really is a case by case basis.

Check out this post with more info on Colorado Airbnb Weddings and Elopements!

3. Set the mood with your decor

How you prepare and decorate your yard will really set the mood for your day! Think about your preferred style (rustic chic, boho, elegant, etc.) and check out Pinterest for inspiration! String lights are always a beautiful touch!

Don’t forget that you can also take advantage of existing features in your backyard for decor. Have a large, beautiful tree in your backyard, or a flowery garden? Find a way to incorporate these areas!

Backyard wedding reception area with tables, place settings, and string lights hung from large trees

See more of my favorite backyard wedding decor items here!

Photos above from Amazon and Etsy product pages

4. Make use of rentals 

When it comes to things like chairs, tables, heaters, tents, decorations, and other items you’ll need, it often is cheaper to rent these things than to buy them. There are plenty of wedding rental companies in Colorado that can provide these items!

Here’s a checklist of items you might need for your Colorado backyard wedding:

  • Tent
  • Chairs
  • Dinner tables
  • Cocktail tables
  • Serving tables to put out food, desserts, and cake
  • Dishes and glassware
  • Bar
  • Gift and guest book tables
  • Signage
  • Ceremony backdrop
  • Decor and centerpieces
  • Table linens
  • Place settings
  • Lighting
  • Speaker system
  • Photo booth 
  • Lawn games
  • Dance floor
  • Food prep and storage equipment
  • Generators
  • Portable restrooms
  • Trash and recycling

5. Separate ceremony and reception spaces

For your backyard wedding, you’ll likely need a separate space for your ceremony and another for your reception. You may be able to move chairs from the ceremony area to the reception space, but the reception space will probably need to have tables set up already. You may also have things like an outdoor bar area set up in the reception space that you probably won’t want in your ceremony area!

6. Consider the season and potential weather

We all know that here in Colorado the weather is notoriously unpredictable! So there’s no way to know exactly what you’ll get for your wedding day. But depending on the season you should be able to narrow down the possibilities.

It’s important to have a plan in case there is rain or snow. If it could be hot, make sure there are enough fans, and heaters in case of cold. It’s important to keep your guests and vendors comfortable, dry, and safe.

Another thing you’ll want to consider with the seasons is your outdoor lighting. There is obviously much more daylight available in the summer than in the winter. If you’re planning a 4:30 PM ceremony in December, you’ll need to make sure you have sufficient artificial lighting since it will be dark by the time your ceremony ends!

Family gathers around a bride and bride saying their vows at a backyard elopement microwedding in Colorado with mountains in the distance

7. Talk to the neighbors ahead of time

Talking to your neighbors in advance about your plans can help prevent unhappy complaints about the noise or parking situation. It can help to give them a day of contact in case they have any issues (but choose someone other than the bride or groom)!

Bride and groom get married by an officiant with parents watching in an Airbnb backyard with trees in Colorado

9. Make sure you have enough space

One thing that can happen sometimes is underestimating the amount of space needed to hold a certain number of guests.

It’s easy to think that if you only have 20 or 30 or 50 guests, that it isn’t that many people, especially compared to a large, traditional wedding.

But I have photographed a number of at home or backyard weddings where there was just not enough room for everyone. For example, if you can’t fit enough seats in the space for everyone coming to your ceremony, it’s less than ideal. Guests don’t love to stand crowded in the back since you didn’t have enough chairs for everyone. So definitely consider your space realistically when you’re planning a backyard wedding!

10. Use signage to help your guests

When you rent a traditional wedding venue, many of the signs directing people on where to go are already in place for you. Sure, you may add your own, but some things are already there.

Make sure you have adequate signage for all your guests indicating where things like parking and bathrooms are and that they are in the right location when they have arrived at the very least.

11. Plan for enough parking

Parking is often one of the most overlooked aspects for a backyard wedding. You’ll want to make sure there is enough parking for your guests and also for all of your vendors! 

You may also encourage people to carpool or take an Uber/Lyft if there won’t be enough parking to accommodate everyone.

If there are certain areas where parking is not allowed, be sure to set up signage!

12. Don’t forget bathrooms

Depending on how many guests you have, one bathroom might not be enough! A good rule of thumb is that less than 20 guests are probably okay for one bathroom, but more than that you’ll want to consider your options. You can always rent bathroom trailers or other portable restrooms. 

Also don’t forget to set up signage to point guests in the right direction toward the bathroom, so you’re not answering the question, “Where is your bathroom?” all night long!

Bride and groom walking down the aisle of their backyard wedding in Colorado

13. Consider your power needs

Depending on your lighting and speaker setup, the power from your house may not be enough. Make sure to check into this if you’re renting equipment, and get a generator if needed!

14. Make sure you have food and beverage preparation covered

If you’re hiring caterers or a private chef, the staff will need an area to set things up. Talk to your food vendor to make sure they will have adequate space for their needs!

You will also probably want to set up a bar area, which could be either self serve or attended by a hired bartender.

Are you planning a Colorado backyard wedding?

I’m more than just a photographer. Helping couples create their dream day is what I do best!

Get in touch and let’s chat about your vision!

Or check out more elopement planning resources…

Elopement Photographer Kim from Wild and Found Photography

Hi I’m Kim, a Denver, Colorado based photographer specializing in Adventure Elopements in Colorado and worldwide! Photographing couples on the most special day of their lives is a true honor for me. But I’ve made it my mission to take it one step further than that. When you work with me, you’re getting more than just a photographer. I’m here to help you with all of the planning resources you need to have the most amazing elopement day ever! That includes everything from assistance with location ideas, timeline planning, and lots more free resources. So you can forget the work, and focus on having fun!

This post contains affiliate links. While I may receive a small amount through affiliate links, it is always at no cost to you and all opinions are entirely my own.

Colorado Backyard wedding planning tips cover photo


  1. Hi Kim, this is such a great article! This is such a great help start planning and thinking about the bits and knots of an elopement. Very helpful 🙂

  2. Yes! It’s so true that a backyard ceremony is a great alternative to a larger wedding- and it’s certainly just as special! This info is super helpful for anyone thinking about having a backyard wedding in Colorado. 🙂

  3. This is such a great resource! Backyard weddings are honestly so amazing, this is so helpful for anyone wanting to plan a backyard wedding!

  4. Such a great resource for couples planning a small / micro backyard wedding in Colorado. Definitely information that the people need right now! Love the checklist too, they’re infinitely helpful for planning. Thanks for being a creator, keep up the beautiful work!

  5. Kim, this is SO helpful! The checklist is probably the most helpful for me because I’m such a visual learner! I can tell you put so much time into this resource for your couples! Your couples are so lucky to have you!! 🖤

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