- Have a maid service come to clean the house and yard the next day. Don't leave your hosts cleaning up. In fact-
- Make sure your hosts don’t have to do ANYTHING. All of the details should be arranged by you. Don’t have the home owners doing any tasks around the house or even looking for little items like the wine opener. If you forgot it, send someone out to buy one or assign someone to be in charge of getting things from the house. The idea here is that the hosts are doing you a huge favour and saving you the giant cost of renting a venue. Don’t put them out more than you already have.
- Tents - you need one. The guests and band/DJ need to be covered in case of rain (Murphy’s law- it won’t rain if you have a tent but it will rain if you don’t). Tent rentals are very expensive. When calculating what size tent you need, tell the rental company how many guests/tables you have, how large a head table you want, and how much space you want for the band/dancing.
- Food - Find a catering company that suits your taste. Some cities have food trucks that can do the job, and drive right to you! Remember to account for guests that have food allergies or vegetarian/vegan options.
- Chairs, tables, tablecloths, cutlery - Hopefully you can find one company to do it all. Check with your catering company.
- Lighting - Back yards are dark at night. Consider large bulb string lights and some flood lights. All parts of the tent and pathways to washrooms should be illuminated.
- Music - Create playlists on Spotify of your favourite songs. One mellow set for cocktail hour and dinner, and one rockin' dance set for later and between band sets. Check out Cakewalk's all-night wedding dance set here - SETLIST
- Washrooms - Your hosts may not want all of your guests traipsing through the house to find a washroom. Hopefully there is a basement washroom you can create a safe path to. Otherwise consider renting a porta-potty or two for the yard (eeewwww).
- Rent a dance floor. It’ll save the lawn from turning into a mud pit.
- Access to the house - consider locking doors you think guests might wander into including the front door. If the host prefers the guests to not be inside, post signs on doors stating off-limits.
- Power - It takes a lot of power to run lights, sound system, and everything else. Overloading the circuits and blowing a breaker could put an end to the night or at least the music. Make sure the house can handle the load and has enough outdoor outlets or extension cords for everything, otherwise you’ll need to rent a generator. We played a beautiful wedding that had enough power, but the signal wasn’t clean (possibly inadequate circuit grounding or a bad light dimmer). It created a loud buzzing noise that ruined the sound quality. We ended up running a long extension cord to the shed.
- Staff - You need food servers (ask the catering company about including staff), bartenders, photographer, videographer
- Liquor - You’re saving a lot of money here by being able to buy from the liquor store instead of paying the venue fee, so make sure you stock up. Check with your liquor store if they will offer refunds on whatever you don’t use (unopened), and if so buy extra.
- *Liability* - Get an insurance policy for the event. If you’re serving alcohol, you’re responsible for everyone drinking and their safe ride home. Your bartenders must have Serving It Right (or whatever liquor serving licence is required in your area).
Also, if someone slips on the grass and gets injured you want to be covered.
- Noise - Tell all the neighbours about the wedding weeks in advance. Thank them for their understanding. It would not be fun to shut down the wedding at 10:30 if the police arrive.
-Hiring friends - Sure, you have lots of friends who can bartend/serve/clean up/do the photography, and maybe they’re great. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Professionals can fix potentially disastrous situations so that they go unnoticed. You also want your friends to have fun, not work. Tread the friend helpers line carefully.
- Get a landscaping company to come fix the garden and grass after the wedding. Your guests were dancing, walking, and yes, probably peeing in the yard.
- Consider holding a brunch the following day. You already have the tents and venue, might as well throw another party. This is actually my favourite part of the weekend. You get to see all the people from the night before, share photos and stories, and say goodbye properly (sober). Noon sounds like good time to start.
- Buy your hosts a generous thank you gift. Please.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING -
- Hire a great live band. It makes the whole night more memorable and magical. Send us an email to see how we can make your special night even more amazing.
CakewalkVancouver@gmail.com or PHONE 778-882-5645
Wow that’s a lot to plan for! Is it worth the headache? Maybe. We’ve seen some amazing back yard weddings. They don’t have to be big and complicated, you just want to try to think of everything. Are you even saving money? Better crunch the numbers to make sure.
Sky ~ Singer - Cakewalk Wedding band Vancouver