The Only Backyard Wedding Checklist You Need for a Chicago Wedding

backyard wedding ideas

Thinking of tying the knot in a beautiful Chicago backyard? This backyard wedding checklist can help couples navigate through all the practical—and fun—details that coordinate into a wonderful outdoor wedding day.

Backyard Wedding Practical Details

  • Permits. Some municipalities require couples to pull permits for events or have ordinances that couples should be aware of when planning their big day. Couples should contact their local towns and cities about permits, fire codes, and other important details that are required for wedding festivities.
  • Electricity/utilities. Many of the details that make a wedding day complete come with power requirements that go beyond the existing system. Nobody wants the lights to go out during an important moment! Beyond ensuring that there is enough power for lights and music, there are also logistical concerns like making sure that extension cords are not tripping hazards. If generators are used, they should be tested to make sure they are not too loud when running.
  • Volume limitations or regulations. In some Chicago neighborhoods and surrounding cities, volume limitations, regulations, and curfews are in effect and times differ. Contact local municipal offices to find out if a permit is needed and for specific information.
  • Staffing and vendors. Quality wedding vendors are the difference between a smooth backyard wedding and a rocky experience. Fortunately, Chicago is full of high-quality wedding vendors that can provide quality music, photography, catering, and rentals. When contacting wedding vendors, have a list of questions that ensure they are reputable and experienced. Once you chosen the right wedding rental company, make sure you have done your homework and have details finalized, such as an estimated guest count and amount of space available for the tent.
  • Weather. Chicago weather is famous for its extreme highs and lows. Even when the temperatures are pleasant, couples should consider ways to keep wedding guests cool and out of the sun (especially during cocktail hour and the reception). If the weather forecast calls for a hot and steamy day, couples should consider renting fans and providing shade that ensure a comfortable experience for guests. If couples are fortunate enough to have an incredibly sunny day, chairs should be positioned so guests are not staring into the sun.

Backyard Wedding Checklist

Pro tip: contact a wedding rental company with as many items needed as possible to check multiple items off the list.

Wedding Ceremony

___ Signs and entrances (for guests)

___ Chairs or benches (or a combination of both)

___ Ceremony stage (if needed)

___ Altar (if desired)

___ Topiaries or flowers (if desired)

___ Microphone & sound system (if needed)

___ Lights (outdoor & in tent, if needed)

___ Tent (for shade or in case of inclement weather)

___ Tent sidewalls (if needed during inclement weather)

___ Climate control for tent (heating, cooling, fans, etc.)

___ Restrooms (for ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception)

___ Tables (if desired)

Cocktail Hour & Reception

___ Tent (additional, for caterer prep or specifically for dinner and reception)

___ Lights (in tent & exterior)

___ Climate Control (heating, cooling, fans)

___ Signs

___ Tables and table skirts (for dinner, guest book, cake, food, sampling stations, etc.)

___ Cocktail table and table linens

___ Bar and bar stools

___ Barware (i.e. glasses, straws, stir sticks, etc.)

___ Centerpieces (for head table, guest tables, coffee table, etc.)

___ Napkins

___ Chairs

___ Tableware

___ Glassware

___ Kegerators (often built into a portable bar)

___ Chill and fill stations or tubs for chilling drinks

___ Screens & microphone

___ Buffet stations or tables (if desired)

___ Food service equipment

___ Stage

___ Stage lighting

___ Sound system

___ Lounge furniture (i.e. couches, chairs, and coffee tables)

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