As many engaged couples are discovering, even a pandemic need not delay their wedding plans, and for many, that means looking no further than the backyard.
Smaller weddings are perfect for being hosted at the homes of brides, grooms, family members or friends, said Danielle Rothweiler, owner and lead wedding planner, Rothweiler Event Design, based in Verona, NJ.
“Couples are renting out other folks’ houses, too,” she said. “Realtors are contacting me, telling me that their client’s home is on the market, and that it’s a great place to do weddings. They’ll even agree not to go into escrow until a wedding we’ve booked is done.”
For Amanda Chalhoub and Corey Levy of Wayne, NJ, a backyard wedding turned out to be especially significant because the couple met when Levy, a realtor, sold Chalhoub her house. “It was the perfect location,” said Rothweiler.
With 10 inquiries a day currently coming in, Rothweiler says hiring a wedding planner is still worth the outlay (roughly $4,500 to $8,000).
“There are an incredible amount of moving parts and logistics,” she said. “It’s my job to know to call the chief of police to find out parking restrictions, and to comply with any noise ordinance dictating when music must end and permissible decibel levels. I find out from vendors how many amps, extension cords and additional electricity sources are needed. It’s worth the investment.”
Here’s Rothweiler’s advice for a successful day.
Plan site visits
“Once you’ve figured out your guest count, invite your table, tent, chair-rental and lighting-design vendors to your location. Will you need restroom trailers, water and electric sources, a generator? Develop a floor plan or you’re going to have a problem,” said Rothweiler. “If your event will be inside, your vendors will need dedicated spaces to operate, such as a driveway or garage.” For cooler weather weddings, she also suggested investing in heat lamps, or gifting pashminas as wedding favors.
Keep everyone safe
“Enforce social distancing and face coverings in advance through wording in your invites,” said Rothweiler, who said some couples have hired nurse practitioners to take guests’ temperatures upon arrival. “Custom masks can be taken to the next level,” she said. “I’ve worn LED ones — or you match the material to your linens and print your name on them.”
Have hands-free fare
All main food should be plated — no buffets, says Rothweiler, “You can still do passed hors d’oeuvres. Get creative with menus and display. ”