Why there’s nothing quite like a wedding in your own backyard

‘Tis the season for arranging festive parties with family and friends, catching up over eggnog and Christmas cake, and … planning a wedding!?!

It may seem like an odd time to think about a distinctly summertime event, but as any wedding planner would attest, booking a wedding venue typically takes at least a year’s worth of legwork—potentially more, depending on the popularity of the venue—and, even then, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to secure your dream location. The one way to alleviate that concern is to plan your big day in yours or a family member’s backyard.

Backyard wedding

At Kiss the Cook Catering, we’ve been catering backyard weddings for years, but we’ve noticed a definite uptick in interest recently as tastes have changed and couples are coming to appreciate the gorgeous simplicity of a home-based wedding. Now, you may be wondering: Isn’t the whole point of getting married to do it somewhere special and unforgettable? The answer is a huge, ‘Yes!’ And that’s exactly why backyard weddings work so well.

First off, they can be as formal or a casual as you’d like, and can even allow for greater personalization than events staged at a traditional wedding venue. When we catered the Hicks wedding (seen below), our bride and groom wanted an event that reflected their personal tastes.

Backyard wedding

They visualized an intimate backyard barbecue with family and friends, so we designed a custom menu featuring everything from beef sliders and sweet potato fries to marinated veggie skewers, salads and a selection of perfectly-grilled meats.

Beef sliders


We also prepared a variety of mason jar salads, as well as some amazing desserts such as homemade buttermilk waffles topped with fresh summer berries, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and icing sugar. As we do for all of our wedding clients, we designed a custom menu that reflected the taste of our guests of honour, enhanced by the comforting ambiance of serving it all at home.

That’s why nothing tops a backyard wedding. You set the pace, serve the food when you choose, put the dance floor where you want and party until local noise by-laws allow. Most importantly, backyard weddings send a message to guests that this will not be a typical wedding. It’s special, its yours and it’s truly unique.

And it can be more cost-effective than booking a wedding venue, which can ranget anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the space, booking conditions, site fees and other related costs. Those are savings you can spend in other (decidedly more fun and exciting) areas such as interactive food stations, upgraded catering or bar selections, or entertainment.

That said, backyard weddings aren’t always less expensive. The advantage of planning a wedding at an established venue is that they tend to be equipped to address important details ranging from audio-visual and technical needs, to seating. Do your wedding at home and you’ll need to rent a great deal of equipment including seating, tables, cutlery, tents, lighting, sound and video systems, potentially rent (luxury) portable toilets to accommodate guests depending on the size of the wedding, acquire necessary event permits and address other considerations such as guest parking. And managing logistics for an outdoor event comes with plenty of challenges. You’ll likely need (at least) one generator, the expertise of professionals who can rig a sound and other technical systems, as well as the expertise of a caterer experienced in serving beautiful meals in the great outdoors.

“When planning a backyard wedding, you really need to be selective and choose a caterer who stages outdoor events on a regular basis,” advises Kiss the Cook Catering founder Fia Pagnello. “You need a firm that can operate in settings with little or no catering infrastructure, or else it could be disastrous.”

Backyard wedding

Indeed, over the years we’ve expanded our backyard wedding capabilities to include a fully-equipped, on-site satellite kitchen that can be assembled in a matter of hours, as well as fun features such as food trucks that can serve a bride and groom’s favourite foods. And we can’t forget about our famous barbecue food stations, where our Kiss the Cook grill master creates a custom experience sure to please even the most discerning grilled-food aficionado. And we’re not just talking about finger food. We’ve prepared some exquisitely elegant barbecue dinners with flame-broiled flare, all prepared fresh before our guests’ eyes.

We’ve worked in spaces ranging from tiny suburban gardens to sprawling farm fields around the Greater Toronto Area and as far north as the Muskokas. Because we have partnerships with some of the city’s top rental and entertainment companies, we can bring all the necessary equipment and services together with one source of responsibility (us!), and take all of your vendors under our management to coordinate, collaborate and care for every possible detail to limit the chance of errors on your big day.

Backyard wedding

Here’s the best part about backyard weddings: you can plan everything from a budget-friendly DIY event on your property, to a custom-designed event at a farm or another pristine outdoor space that’s special to you. The options are virtually limitless.

That brings us to the last benefit: the flexibility that comes with getting married on your own turf. As we noted earlier, booking a wedding venue can be a painstaking process that involves multiple site visits, quizzing event managers, narrowing down a venue short list and then determining if the space is available on your preferred date. When done in your own backyard, you can eliminate those headaches and virtually all of that time-consuming legwork.

At a time when more couples are insisting on memorable, distinctive weddings, a backyard wedding lasts forever. Imagine being able to look out onto your backyard (or that of a family member, if your wedding is staged at their house) and be instantly transported back to the most important day of your life. You can relive that first dance, get teary-eyed thinking about those sentimental speeches and remember what happened when Uncle Bob indulged in a few too many martinis. The only drawback: with so many memories, you may never be able to sell your place and move elsewhere!

While backyard weddings aren’t for every couple, in our experience those who do take the backyard plunge never regret their decision.

Dreaming of a backyard wedding? Contact us now!