Is It Less Expensive to Host a Backyard Tent Wedding?

There are plenty of reasons why couples choose to have backyard tent weddings —the ambiance, the relaxed feeling and the sentimental backyard location, among other reasons. However one reason not to choose backyard wedding is to save money on the cost of a venue. Backyard weddings often end up costing the same as weddings held at a venue.  It takes a lot of work and preparation, as well as building your venue from scratch. This includes not only the tent structure, but also tables, chairs, restrooms, trash cans and heating/cooling elements that come already included in most venues.

Below we have drafted a mock budget for a backyard tent wedding for 150 guests (based on Central Indiana prices). As with food & beverage, the rental cost will also increase for a high guest count (larger tent, bigger dance floor, more equipment, etc.).

Pros of a Backyard Tented Wedding

Now, let’s chat about all the great reasons that backyard tented weddings are a great choice. When you visit an indoor venue, there might be factors that you don’t love such as flooring, wall colors, decor, etc. A tented wedding offers a blank canvas for you to create any design you can dream up! Not only do you have to build your venue, but you can build it the way you envisioned it.

Another bonus is that there are less restrictions. There are no preferred caterer lists to adhere too, nor is there an official end time. Do you want to surprise guests with a firework show or a cozy backyard bonfire? You want your dog to be in attendance? You got it! You can utilize the tent for a weekend of festivities…pending your neighborhood noise ordinance.

Cons of a Backyard Tent Wedding

On the flip side, let’s chat about the cons of having a backyard tented wedding. Other than building the venue from scratch, you’ll also need to plan for parking. Assuming most guests come in pairs or families, you’d need to plan for 60-75 parking spaces for a wedding with 150 guest count. Does your neighborhood allow or have accommodations for guest parking? If not, one solution is to use a valet or bus service from an offsite location. Some churches or parks will rent out their parking lots, pending there is no other activities going on. Guests can also be encouraged to Uber, but it may be different to find returning rides for the mass crowd at the end of the evening.

Another factor is weather. If Mother Nature is having a bad day, it may translate into a rain soaked yard or high winds or chilly temps. Renting side walls for your tent is always strongly recommended for this reason. However, guests and caterers will still need to access a restroom, catering prep area or their vehicles so often a covered walkway may need to be created.

And finally there’s the labor involved. Depending on your rental company, they may or may not install your lighting, set tables, chairs and put out linens and decor. Landscaping and yard work are often elevated for hosting celebrations too. This requires many hands to prepare for the wedding which can take several days on both sides of the event.

Looking for a tent feel, but not wanting to take on the extra tasks? Check out the Historic Ambassador House Outdoor Pavilion in Fishers, Indiana pictured above. Photo credit: Meghan Harrison

Our Backyard Couples

Stephanie & Danny | Carmel, Indiana

Evangaline & Anthony | Brownsburg, Indiana

Stephanie & Trent | Lafayette, Indiana