Recently, I have been thinking a lot about backyard wedding receptions. The concept can be casual and unique, trendy and romantic, as well as intimate and budget-friendly. From Barbecues to Western themes and luminaries to country favors, the quaint delight of a backyard wedding reception can be beautifully memorable, but only if your memories are fond.
If you live in a small neighborhood (and especially on a cul-de-sac), your backyard wedding reception planning should — to some degree — include your neighbors. I know what you’re thinking: “But, I can’t invite everyone,” or “This is my day and my neighbors are not close to us.” This may very well be true and certainly, it is not worth WWIII on your wedding day to be forced into inviting people to your reception that you may or may not be close enough to invite. In weighing the pros and cons of backyard receptions, however, it is etiquette friendly to at least inform your neighbors about the increased traffic and risk for noise to ensure you will not find yourself fighting a citation over a neighborly misunderstanding.
Many brides and grooms have been where you are in planning for a backyard, economical reception and several ideas have been devised to help you in this situation. If you are not comfortable approaching your neighbors, you may write a letter to inform them (preferably a week in advance or longer) that you will be hosting a party in your backyard on your reception date (the decision to tell them it’s a wedding reception is entirely up to you and your privacy). Some brides and grooms have chosen to write specific instructions in their letters, letting the neighbors know that the couple would like to spend from say, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with close family and friends, but after 9:30 p.m., the neighbors may join the couple’s celebration. How you handle the heads up is strictly up to how close you are with your neighbors, but the heads up will definitely lead to a decreased risk for hurt feelings or drama later.
However you choose to handle the conditions in your neighborhood and, more specifically, how you wish to handle your neighbors as you prepare for your backyard wedding reception, we hope your party is stress-free and enjoyable. With a little pre-planning and respect for your neighbors, you will likely ensure a congestion and misunderstanding free celebration of memories to last for years to come.