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Rentals for Backyard Weddings

They're relaxed, they're cozy, they're low-key. And compared to the typical wedding at a rented venue, they're stress-free. No wonder backyard weddings are becoming increasingly popular with Wisconsin couples! It's a trend we're glad to see, and to be part of. While big receptions are fine for some couples, the backyard reception (and ceremony) has a unique and undeniable charm.

In Praise of the Backyard Wedding

Backyard wedding In the 1950s and 60’s, backyard weddings and receptions were commonplace. Young couples starting out in life would often host a reception in the backyard of one of their parents’ houses. There was no shame in it, and no worry about people calling it “tacky.”

Then, something happened. Perhaps inspired by the excesses of celebrity weddings, Americans became obsessed with lavish receptions in fancy venues. An entire industry devoted to nuptials sprung up, feeding the frenzied dreams of a storybook wedding for countless young women. Thankfully, though, the pendulum is now swinging the other way.

Whether it’s because more couples are embarking on their second marriages and don’t want to make a big to-do about it, or because millennials just look to do things differently, the backyard wedding (or "microwedding" as it is often called now) is making a comeback. And to that we say “Hallelujah!”  

5 Things You've Just Got To Love About Backyard Weddings

Frequently Asked Questions About At-Home Weddings

Bride at backyard wedding about to toss bouquet.

Is a backyard wedding cheaper?

In most cases, yes. Small-ish weddings/receptions for 30 or fewer guests tend to price out below the cost of renting a venue. Just keep in mind there’s a difference between having a backyard wedding and transforming a yard into a stately wedding venue. If you keep it reasonable, the cost will almost always be lower than renting a fancy venue.

If you’re planning a reception with a lot of guests, though, the cost of a backyard wedding can easily match the cost of renting a venue. Still, if your preference is for a more casual, outdoor reception you won't regret your decision. You will need a large yard, though. Or a field with enough room for a tent and places for guests to park.

With the money you save by having a backyard wedding, you can easily afford a caterer and a really special meal. Or bank the savings for more important things…like a down payment on a house, having a family or paying off loans.

Is a backyard wedding right for me?

It depends on your personality and the size of reception you’re planning. If you and your significant other prefer low-key get-togethers over formal events, and if you feel more comfortable with a small group of friends and families than you do at large parties, a backyard wedding is probably right in your wheelhouse.

Is a backyard wedding tacky? 

Definitely not. Unless you and those in your circle are accustomed to glitz and glamor, there’s no reason to think a backyard wedding is tacky. The intimacy and familiarity of the space creates a relaxed vibe. There aren’t dozens of people you barely know. There’s no limit on how long you can stay. And you literally have all the comforts of home.

Simple decorations and lighting go a long way to creating a special ambiance (a wedding tent helps, too!). One caveat, if there are things in your yard in need of repair, like a rickety fence with peeling paint, you’ll probably want to attend to them before the big day. You don’t have to do a big makeover, just fix the things that really need it. Or figure out a way to cover them up.

How am I supposed to feed the guests?

Whew, there are so many ways to go here! For a casual reception, a grill-out is always a hit. Steak, burgers, lobster--whatever! If your grill is small or has seen better days, it's a good idea to rent a grill. We have both propane and charcoal grills large enough to cook for dozens of guests at a time.

Or how about food truck catering? This is an increasingly popular option around Milwaukee, Madison and Appleton. If there's a food truck you really like, chances are they'll be agreeable to catering your backyard reception--as long as it doesn't coincide with a big festival.

And, of course, you can hire a catering company or a chef to prepare a meal. If you're going fancy and the caterer doesn't provide plates and silverware, we rent china and flatware.

Do you need a permit for a backyard wedding?

You need to check with your local government to get a definitive answer on this. Most municipalities in Wisconsin have regulations concerning noise, parking, lighting and curfew, so you need to find out what they are and work around them. If your property (or the property you’re considering) is governed by a homeowner’s association, you’ll also need to look into their policy on backyard events.

Do you need insurance to host a wedding reception in your backyard?

It may seem ridiculous, but yes, you need insurance for a reception. If someone at your celebration has too much to drink and gets in an accident on the way home, you/the property owner can be held responsible. You may think none of your friends would ever implicate you in a lawsuit, but huge hospital bills have a way of changing things. You can also be sued by whoever was injured by your inebriated friend’s driving (the more likely scenario).

When you rent a venue, their liability insurance is included with the rental. When you host an event, you’re responsible for the insurance. Some homeowner policies may include a small amount of coverage, but in most cases you’ll need to purchase insurance for the day of your event. There are several companies that specialize in event insurance, and it can be easily purchased online. We highly recommend you do so, even if it is a small reception you’re planning.

What about pest control?

Insects, especially flies, can be annoying. Hanging traps with fly or mosquito bait in trees the day of your wedding will divert these pests from your buffet.

Essential Rentals for a Backyard Wedding

If you’re hosting a reception for more than a dozen close friends and family, you’re going to need more than the old card tables in the basement and a couple of picnic benches. Here are the basics, all of which you can rent at any of our three locations.

Wedding Tent Rentals

It would be great if every day were sunny and 72-degrees, but this is Wisconsin. There’s no way to know what the weather will be like on your big day. With a tent, you not only get shelter from rain, you also get protection from the sun. Added plus, they look great when lit up at night with up lighting or white holiday lights.

We have tents to fit virtually any sized yard. For oddly spaced yards, a few 10’ x 10’ or 20’ x 20’ high peak frame tents work perfectly. Browse all our tents for weddings, or choose from our wedding tent rental packages (which include tables and chairs).

Table and Chair Rentals

If you’re having a backyard ceremony, you’ll probably want white chairs. We have four types, ranging from a molded plastic bistro style chair to the classic white folding chair you usually see at outdoor weddings. Learn more about chair rentals for Wisconsin weddings.

Wedding Décor Rentals

Wedding arches, pillars for unity candles, guestbook stands, hurricane lamps…they all add a decorative touch to a wedding.

China, Flatware and Glassware Rentals

If you’re serving food, renting the dishes, utensils and glassware is sooo much easier than using your own, and much more befitting a wedding than paper plates and plastic Solo cups.

Food and Beverage Service Rentals

If you’re not having a caterer bring in food for your event, it’s a good idea to rent a few chafing dishes to keep food hot and maybe a chill table to keep salads and desserts palatable. Check out our food and beverage service rentals.

Staging and Dance Floor Rentals

If there’s going to be music and dancing, a dance floor is always a good idea. Just let us know how big a floor you need.

Tent Accessories

If you’re hosting your celebration in a warm weather month, we highly recommend renting a couple of fans. We have both pedestal fans and fans that mount on the support legs of a wedding tent.

Will your event run into the evening? In addition to hurricane lamps to put a glow on your tables, we also have globe lights for stringing around the support frame of a tent and LED PAR lights that are great for creating dramatic, colored lighting accents on the ceiling of a wedding tent.

Linens & Disposables

If you’re renting tables, you’re going to need linens. Our standard color is white, but we have a few color options, as well. Inventory changes, so contact us for information on color options.

Questions? Comments? Contact our Wisconsin wedding rentals location nearest you:

Madison Party Rental serves the Madison area and surrounding cities, including:  

Cottage Grove, Dane, Deerfield, Dodgeville, Cambridge, Fitchburg, Fort Atkinson, Janesville, Kegonsa, Lake Mills, Middleton, Mt. Horeb, McFarland, New Glarus, Pine Bluff, Spring Green, Stoughton, Sun Prairie, Oregon, Paoli, Verona, Vermont, Waterloo, Waunakee, Whitewater, Wisconsin Dells

Brookfield Party Rental serves the greater Milwaukee area, including:  

Brookfield, Bayview, Brown Deer, Delafield, Elm Grove, Fox Point, Franklin, Germantown, Glendale, Grafton, Greendale, Hales Corners, Lannon, Menomonee Falls, Mequon, New Berlin, Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, Port Washington, River Hills, St. Francis, Shorewood, Sussex, Wauwatosa, Whitefish Bay

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