Creating a Budget for Your Backyard Wedding (or Airbnb Wedding!)

March 4, 2024

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Welcome back, lovely loverves, to Part FIVE of our wedding budget breakdown series! If you've been following along, you know we've been peeling back the layers of wedding budgets, and today, we're focusing on a TYPE of wedding instead of a line in your wedding budget. If you’ve been imagining a simple wedding in a sentimental location, or you’re hoping to save money by choosing an untraditional wedding venue like an airbnb, you're going to love today's episode. For more from our wedding budget series, you can catch up on part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4 here), but now it’s time to shine a spotlight on creating a budget for your backyard wedding (or airbnb wedding!).

We're also super excited to announce this episode was inspired by a listener's question! Alissa wrote, “I am very fortunate to have a generous family member that offered their backyard for my wedding. I thought we’d be saving money originally but am learning very quickly that’s not the case because of all the additional vendors I will need. You begin to mention this in your Part I Venue episode but was wondering if you could do an episode specific to backyard wedding considerations?” We always love providing content that you all are actively searching for so today we are going to talk about both budgeting for a backyard wedding and/or airbnb wedding AND give you some extra considerations to walk through as well. 








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EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS: Creating a Budget for Your Backyard Wedding (or Airbnb Wedding!)

To fast-forward to a specific part of the podcast episode, check out the timestamps below:


  • Talking to the property owner [4:10]
  • What to include when setting a budget for your backyard wedding or Airbnb wedding [7:25]
  • Additional considerations when planning a wedding at an untraditional wedding venue [17:00]
  • Extra wedding tips for your backyard wedding or Airbnb wedding [22:08]



Links Mentioned in the Episode




And if you prefer to read, here's the summary of the podcast episode!

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the episode though, have you had a chance to download our complete wedding budget checklist before we start breaking down backyard wedding costs? You'll find it contains a few surprises that you likely haven't thought of, even with a small home wedding in mind. Those hidden expenses have a knack for creeping up unexpectedly, and that's exactly what we're here to help you prepare for today! Grab your free wedding budget checklist here.


Talking to the Owner Before You Book Your Backyard Wedding or Airbnb

Tying the knot at an Airbnb can add a cozy and personal touch to your big day, but it’s important to remember that not every Airbnb is set up for celebrations, even the small, heartfelt ones. It's super important to have a heart-to-heart with the property owner to see if your wedding visions align. You'd be surprised how many owners are all in once you share your love story and wedding dreams with them!

However, I also want to caution you against assuming you can have your wedding at an Airbnb, VRBO, or other rental property. Airbnb is cracking down on renters hosting events and some even specify in their rental contracts that events are not allowed. There have been news stories about parties getting broken up because the owner had cameras installed and saw that an unapproved event was being hosted at their property and called the police. I would hate for that to happen to you! 

Moving on to home weddings.

Someone may offer up their backyard without realizing that you’re going to need to put a dance floor over their manicured lawn or bring in port-a-potties for your guests to use. My husband HATES when we get a bounce house for our kid's birthday parties because it kills the grass and it’s only there for 6 hours! A dance floor or tent floor is another story. And don’t get me started on concrete slabs or a tent or stakes in the ground. We are going to talk more about this in today’s episode but having an honest conversation about what you expect from the venue, even if you’re at an untraditional venue like an Airbnb or house, is so important. 

Most homeowners, when they realize they’re about to host a big event, take on lots of landscaping projects to ensure the property is looking its best. Whether you’re the owner or it's your parents’ home, or someone else, make sure you think about the landscaping at the home. It all looks fine until you realize you have 150 people coming and those hedges need to be trimmed back, the gardens need to be mulched, and the list goes on. You don’t want the event to become a burden to the homeowner, so make sure you discuss this and you’re both on the same page as far as the conditions of the property when the wedding takes place.



Building Your Venue from Scratch

Like our lovely listener suggested, a lot of times people think that having a backyard wedding will be cheaper because you save on the wedding venue fee, which as you heard in episode one, can be significant (in New York it ranges from $5,000 to $50,000 at very high end venues). So how much does it all cost? Here are some must-haves you'll likely need to rent:

  • A tent, at the very least for a backup plan. 
  • Tables and chairs
  • Lounge furniture
  • Lighting
  • Generators
  • Bathrooms!
  • A Dance Floor


Now, let’s talk about additional considerations when having an Airbnb or backyard wedding.


Catering and Bar

We touched on a lot of these things in our previous budget series, but let’s talk about it specifically when it comes to these untraditional venues.

Starting with catering and bar, without an in-house catering service, you have the freedom to choose your vendors. This could be a great way to personalize your wedding but remember to include not just the cost of food and drink but also any rentals your caterer doesn't provide, like linens and dinnerware. Also, you’ll most likely need to rent equipment to create an off-site kitchen for them to have the best-tasting food. How your caterer will prepare the food and keep it ready to serve if they aren’t preparing it on-site? They’ll need refrigeration, ice, possibly grills and ovens, tables, hot boxes, pans, etc. 


Decor and Florals

Next, we have decor, and fortunately, this category is similar whether you choose a backyard wedding or a traditional wedding venue. From floral arches to centerpieces and beyond, the sky's the limit, but so can be the cost. Be clear about your budget and work with your vendors to prioritize elements that create the biggest impact. I would also say you may have an advantage here with a backyard or Airbnb wedding, since they are likely to accommodate longer load-in and take-down times, compared to a venue that might need everything setup and taken down within one day.



Most private homes don’t have built-in parking lots or circular driveways to account for a large number of cars. Think about where everyone is going to park if it’s going to disturb neighbors, or you’ll need to have people park elsewhere and hire a shuttle company to transport them or a valet company to take care of the cars. 


Budgeting and Planning for Insurance

Lastly, as we wrap up today’s episode on budgeting and planning an Airbnb or backyard wedding, let’s not forget about the boring (but oh-so-important) stuff like insurance. Make sure you know what's covered and if you need to add any extra policies. Get the thumbs up on your decor plans to ensure you and the property are both looking your best, and chat about the damage deposit and cleaning fees to avoid any surprises.


Backyard and Airbnb Wedding Planning Tips

1. Understand Local Regulations and Restrictions

Before sending out your invites, it's important to get familiar with local noise ordinances and any restrictions that might affect your celebration. No one wants their special dance interrupted by a noise complaint. Check with your city or county about any permits you might need for noise, parking, or large gatherings. Being in the know can help you avoid any unwelcome surprises.

2. Consider the Logistics of Space

When looking at a backyard or Airbnb as a potential venue option, evaluate your space with a critical eye. Will it accommodate your guest list, ceremony, and reception comfortably? Think about the flow of the event from arrival to departure. Areas for dining, dancing, lounging, and the ceremony should be defined yet cohesive. You likely need more space than you think AND it’s not as easy to “flip” a space between your ceremony and reception as you might think. Plus, who are you going to get to do that?

3. Add Personal Touches

The beauty of a backyard wedding is in the personal touches you can incorporate. Whether it's photos hung from trees, handwritten signs, or a family-style meal, these details make your wedding uniquely yours. Consider including a memory table or a special tribute to loved ones who can't be there to celebrate with you. 

Don’t be afraid to add some fun elements like a fire pit and s'mores stations, or lawn games like croquet or bocce ball to play during cocktail hour if space allows.

4. Have a Clear Timeline

Lastly, work with your vendors to create a timeline for the day. This helps everything run smoothly, from setup to tear-down. Share this timeline with your vendors, wedding party, and any helpers to ensure everyone is on the same page. If you have a wedding planner, they will help with this! If you are DIY-ing it, make SURE you grab the master organizer from our shop because it will guide you through all the wedding day details you need. 




Alright! That wraps up today’s episode of Ask the Planner Podcast, and wow, did we cover a lot! Thanks for tuning in as we dove into part FIVE of our series, where we went DEEP into planning and budgeting for an airbnb or backyard wedding. Don’t forget to join us next week as we wrap up our wedding budget series, offering up more tips, tricks, and need-to-knows to help you plan the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank. See you then!



Please review the podcast on Apple Podcasts and write your questions in the review and I’ll incorporate them into a future episode.  If there are specific guests you want me to interview or topics you want me to cover in a future episode, let me know who that is in your review, too!

If you want even more help with your wedding planning, I’m only a phone call away, and you can schedule a 90-minute clarity call with me where we’ll talk through a specific issue or question you have.

For those of you who are excited to plan your wedding on your own, check out my Ultimate Wedding Planning checklist in the Wedding Planning Templates Shop. It’s one of my most popular items and for a good reason!

If there’s something that you’re looking for that’s not in the shop. Please let me know. I want to create resources that you want and that will help you!