Backyard wedding ideas: 13 ways to decorate the garden for your special day

Impress your guests and celebrate love with these backyard wedding ideas – from table settings to budget-friendly decorations and more

table setting beneath pergola for backyard wedding ideas
(Image credit: Mark Bolton/Future)

Planning your big day? Our backyard wedding ideas may be just the inspiration you need. There are tons of benefits to hosting your wedding in your very own garden. First of all, having a wedding at home adds a wonderfully personal touch. It's your own familiar space, but with a gloriously decorative spin. And what could be better than making the happiest of memories right on your very own doorstep? Second, backyard wedding ideas are much more affordable than hiring out an elaborate venue – so it's an easy way to make a saving on what can otherwise be an eye-wateringly expensive day. 

Okay, so more budget-friendly and more personal – all seems good so far. But if you're worried that a DIY wedding sounds a little lacklustre, don't be. Sure, it might not be in that beachside castle from your childhood dreams. But, with the right decorations, lighting, food, and entertainment, celebrating your big day in your own garden can be just as, or even more so, magical.

So, to help you plan an unforgettable event (for all the right reasons), we've rounded up some of our favorite backyard wedding ideas. From festival-style looks to elegant table settings – just keep scrolling to get inspired.

1. Use reclaimed materials for enchanting vignettes

drinks station at backyard wedding with rustic crate log and flowers

Apple crates and cut glassware make a pleasing combo. This set-up is from Paper + Design

(Image credit: Paper + Design)

Mix and match natural textures and reclaimed materials with vintage-style glassware. The result will be an eclectic yet elegant scene. 

Old crates and wine boxes can be stacked to add height to your displays, whilst galvanized troughs and large planters make great ice buckets for bottles of bubbly. Cut-off pieces of log evoke a romantic, woodland charm and make great supports for glasses, jugs of punch, or floral displays.

Add a pop of block color with a stack of napkins, and use seasonal blooms picked fresh from the garden. Hydrangeas are always an impressive choice with their showy heads of petals.

Our garden decor ideas feature is full of further inspiration.

2. Add a festival vibe with a wooden sign

wooden signpost at backyard wedding

Show your guests the way with a laid-back sign

(Image credit: Hanneke Vollbehr/Moment/Getty Images)

Festival themes are always a popular choice for those who want their wedding to feel laid-back, carefree, and joyous.

So, encourage all the good vibes with your backyard wedding ideas by opting for cute Coachella-inspired decor. A wooden sign like this is a great (and inexpensive way) to show your guests around your plot. Plus, it would be simple to build at home. 

Want to go one step further? For larger plots, try drawing up a simple map – festival-style – and handing it to guests as they arrive. This will make it easy for everyone to find their way between the chill-out zone, the buffet table, the dance floor, and the toilets, whilst adding a sense of discovery and adventure.

If you like the sound of this theme, you'll find lots more designs in our bohemian garden ideas feature.

3. Add statement seating for the bride and groom

outdoor decorative seating at backyard wedding by Ginger Ray

Embellish your seating as part of your backyard wedding ideas

(Image credit: Ginger Ray)

These rattan numbers with the surrounding floral displays are picture-perfect with their pale peachy hues. The copper-colored frame behind draws the eye and completes the scene. 

Not only is a set-up like this a gorgeous backdrop for photos, but it's also guaranteed to make you feel extra special on your big day. You won't want to take it down once the party's over!

Looking for more outdoor seating ideas? Take a look at our feature.

4. Host your guests beneath a leafy canopy

table setting beneath pergola at backyard wedding

Pergolas make a gorgeous addition to backyard wedding ideas

(Image credit: Mark Bolton/Future)

Pergola ideas are full of creative opportunity when it comes to making your space feel special. You can adorn them with festoon lights or bunting, or hang delicate paper ornaments from the beams, for example.

However, if your pergola is covered in the best climbing plants, then why not use it as a gorgeous shelter over your seating area? Guests will love the magical ambience of dining beneath a canopy of leaves (or fragranced flowers). Plus it will offer a cool dose of shade, which is ideal for summer celebrations.

Embellish the table with extra flowers from your surroundings to complete the theme. It's the perfect set-up for an intimate and elegant atmosphere.

5. Style your table settings

table setting with LED candles from Lights4fun at backyard wedding

These table settings are full of sophistication, featuring LED candles from Lights4Fun

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

One of the best bits of a wedding is when everyone can sit down and enjoy a good meal together. So, for your backyard wedding ideas, don't forget to give the table settings careful thought and consideration.

It's the details that matter for transforming an every-day-lunch set-up into an enchanting scene to remember. 'Turn simple foldable tables into elegant tablescapes with draped pieces of neutral material,' says Anna Davison, CEO at the Tiny Wedding Company. 'Add foliage, flowers, candles and whatever color palette you decide to go with.'

We adore the addition of velvet ribbons and sprigs of faux foliage against the dark dinnerware in this display above. LED candles are also a great choice for backyard wedding ideas – they won't blow out if the wind picks up, plus there's no fire risk if they're left unattended.

Take a look at our outdoor dining ideas feature for more inspiration.

6. Tempt sugar lovers with a donut display

donut stand at backyard wedding by Ginger Ray

Up the fun factor for your backyard wedding ideas by bringing in a donut stand – this one is by Ginger Ray

(Image credit: Ginger Ray)

Weddings are a time to treat yourself and your guests. It's the perfect excuse to make dessert a fun focal point. 

Sure, the cake is traditionally the star of the sweet-treat show. But there's plenty of opportunity to get creative with other delicious delights. Adults and children alike will love a donut display like this, for example.

Jess Martin, wedding decoration expert at Ginger Ray, also suggests candy stations as a brilliant alternative to a more formal cake, which add another element of fun to a garden wedding. Other options include pretzel stands and ice-cream stations, she says.

7. Combine plenty of candles with seasonal blooms

candles and flowers on table in dark at wedding in garden

We adore this enchanting scene

(Image credit: Westend61/Getty Images)

For romance when the sun goes down, you can't beat the flicker of candlelight.

For an extra dose of va-va-voom, opt for candelabras. Vintage brass designs are reminiscent of a bygone era and will add to the drama of the scene. Take a look in thrift stores or on online marketplaces to find them, or alternatively, events companies often have them as props to hire.

Pair with inky-hued table linens and glass bottles full of meadow-style blooms – grasses, cornflowers, and the yellow globes of craspedia make an eye-catching display.

8. Decorate an arch for a chic focal point

backyard wedding ideas arch decorated with flowers

Update a simple archway with elegant details

(Image credit: Hanneke Vollbehr/Moment/Getty Images)

'Adding foliage and flowers (even if they are artificial) in as many places as possible is another easy way to achieve a relaxed setting,' says Jess Martin, wedding decoration expert at Ginger Ray. 'If you're adding in the traditional archway for the bride and groom, try wrapping foliage around the frame, or buying a ready-made one if you’re not the crafty type.'

It's the perfect way to style up your garden arbor ideas and create a romantic setting to say your vows. Drape soft, flowing fabric around the structure to complete the look. 

9. Add a tipi to your backyard wedding ideas

marquee filled with decorations for backyard wedding

Give the interior of your tipi a summery feel with bold brights

(Image credit: redheadpictures/Cultura/Getty Images)

For bigger spaces (and budgets), you might consider a larger structure as part of your backyard wedding ideas. A tipi makes a lovely choice for hosting family and friends, is more relaxed than a traditional marquee, and comes in a wide range of sizes to hire. Some companies can also supply furniture such as bars, dance floors, and even fire pits, to boost the environment further.

Decorated in brightly-colored blooms, trailing foliage, and twinkling lights, it will totally transform your plot ready for the party of the year. Plus, you'll be pleased for the extra shelter if the weather takes a turn.

10. String up lanterns and festoons

paper lanterns and festoon lights at backyard wedding

Mix up your lighting options for a pretty scene

(Image credit: Hanneke Vollbehr/Moment/Getty Images)

Lots of low, glowy lights is an easy way to create a warm and cozy atmosphere. Opt for paper-lantern-style solar lights for a low-maintenance option and hang from trees or your pergola. All-white styles are a traditional choice that will always look stylish, but opt for ditzy floral patterns for a country-chic theme, or bold, bright hues for a more modern look.

Festoon lights are another option for backyard wedding ideas and add a chilled-out, rooftop-bar vibe. String along a fence or above your dining area for an instant ambience boost. Take a look at our festoon light ideas for more styling tips.

11. Elevate your flowerbeds with chic banners

backyard wedding ideas signs from Smith & The Magpie

These wedding cotton banners are from Smith & The Magpie

(Image credit: Smith & The Magpie)

Give your flowerbeds a fresh new look with stunning signage like this. It's simple, yet makes a striking statement.

Made from lightweight fabric, it will offer a softness to the scene as it gently sways in the breeze. Offset by a stylish metal frame, it's a brilliant way to greet guests in style and set the tone for the day. 

You could try the approach for your table plan, too.

12. Opt for vintage-style features

vintage table setting by Ella James for wedding

This Tuscany Crochet Lace Vinyl Tablecloth from Ella James is a lovely addition to vintage-style backyard wedding ideas

(Image credit: Ella James)

Does your garden have a blossom tree or two? If so, they make a gorgeous backdrop in spring when they're in full flower. It's well worth incorporating them into your alfresco dining scene by positioning your tables beneath their canopies.

But, whether you have blossom overhead or not, you can still create a super pretty set-up by opting for vintage-style features. We adore this cut-out-detail tablecloth, for instance. It benefits from being wipe-clean, so you can reuse it again and again once the party's over. Wooden boards are also great for adding a rustic charm, as are mason jars filled with tea lights or small hand-tied posies.

Take a look at our rustic garden ideas for more styling inspiration.

13. Create a space for the kids

colorful tent by boutique camping at wedding

The Harlequin Bell Tent by Boutique Camping is the perfect setting for a kid's zone

(Image credit: Boutique Camping)

Keep the little ones entertained on your big day by creating a special garden hideaway just for them. This colorful tent is a brilliant choice, but for smaller plots, try using outdoor bean bags, a smaller tipi, or a shade sail to define the zone.

Tuck it at the bottom of your garden and fill with games, crayons, books, and snacks. Then, surround with hanging paper ornaments, bunting, or festoon lights to make it even more enticing. They'll be happily occupied all day long.

Need more ideas? Take a look at our garden activities for kids feature.

How do you do a cheap backyard wedding?

cut flowers on table in small vase at garden wedding

Freshly cut flowers from the garden gives a personal touch to your table settings

(Image credit: Shaw Photography Co./Moment/Getty Images)

You don't have to splurge all your savings for your backyard wedding ideas. Anna Davison, CEO at the Tiny Wedding Company, and Jess Martin, wedding decoration expert at Ginger Ray, share their advice:

  1. Upcycle pieces from Facebook marketplace, use flowers from the garden, cook the food yourself, and borrow tables and chairs from friends or neighbors, says Anna. Take a look at our guides on the best cutting garden flowers and how to grow dahlias for advice.
  2. Jess suggests getting crafty with a spot of DIY for your wedding decorations. Gather family and friends, she says, and host a fun pre-wedding flower arranging evening with snacks and fizz. You could also paint signs or create photo banners together.
  3. 'If you have the time, start collecting glass bottles to make your own cute lanterns to place around the garden, by adding in LED lights and tying in raffia string,' Jess adds. 'Making your own decorations is not only eco-friendly, but is also a great way to cut down on costs, and add a personal touch to your wedding.'
  4. 'Music is another key element to any wedding day,' says Anna. 'Having a band tends to take up a lot of space in smaller gardens; you might want to look for acoustic musicians that are still able to create a great atmosphere but require a lot less equipment and can comfortably set up anywhere in a garden.' They will be cheaper to hire, too.
  5. Jess adds: 'To add an extra personal touch, set up your own Spotify playlist and invite your guests to add to it before the big day. That way, nobody has an excuse not to get up onto the dancefloor!'

What lighting should I use for my backyard wedding ideas?

festoon light ideas: night time lighting from lights4un on outdoor table

This inviting scene is curated by Lights4fun

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Good garden lighting ideas are crucial for keeping your wedding party going once night falls. Luckily, there are tons of stunning options you can try.

'Dot tea lights around your garden on as many surfaces as you can to really create that serene, warming feel – the more the better,' says Jess Martin of Ginger Ray. If you're worried about the potential fire hazard, try LED versions instead, and weave them into foliage you've used to decorate your garden.

'Festoon lights are also bang on trend this summer, and are a great option if you're going for a festival look and feel,' Jess adds.

Jess also has a suggestion for adding a little more pizzazz to your party: 'Buy some sparklers and add them to a party bag for each of your guests. Light them when it gets dark; spelling out letters with them also makes a gorgeous photo opportunity!'

Holly Crossley
Acting Deputy Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.