What makes a great backyard wedding venue?

If you are considering renting out your home, or if you are searching for the perfect venue for your wedding, there are many things that separate an okay venue from a great one.


1. Outdoor Capacity

An good venue will have enough room to accommodate at least 50 guests seated.  A great venue will be able to host between 100 – 150.  On average, most kiwi weddings have between 120-150 guests.

Most of these wedding will take place outdoors as very few homes are able to accommodate all guests inside the house.  Often the only indoor event space which could seat all your guests would be a converted garage.  Unless it is a loft or a penthouse, chances are your guests will be dining outdoors so if you aren’t keen on being outdoors, your venue search may eventually lead you back to considering hotel options.


2. Indoor Access

If you have access to the inside of the house, that is a huge plus.  Some owners do not allow you to use the interior of the home at all, so make sure you ask if the interior is available.  A good venue will have the house open for your guests to walk through and use the restrooms, and a great one will include a “bridal suite” for the bride to get ready in on site (usually the master bedroom).

Some other perks to interior access are possibly the use of the kitchen for your catering team, an indoor cocktail reception, or a place to stay overnight surrounding your event.

Patio_Wedding_AC8W65633. Covered Area or Room for a Tent

If the property has a covered deck or veranda, this is great news.  If you aren’t allowed inside the home, but the weather is looking iffy, you will want a backup plan.  If your guests can fit under the area, that is a huge plus.  It means you won’t have to worry about constructing a full tent to shelter your guests if it rains.


4. Power

This is perhaps one of the most overlooked issues that people often forget about, but one of the most important!  If you are having any sort of lighting at the property (up-lighting, fairy lights, etc.) make sure that there is enough power from the home to supply it.  If you are having a stage with a live band, or a DJ with a lot of bells and whistles, a photo booth, and much much more, you might need to rent a generator.


5.  The Ideal Property Layout

You might want to have your ceremony, a cocktail hour and your reception all in the same place.  A private home can pose a lot of difficulty if the flow of the property isn’t just right.

A good location will have two areas which would be great for a combination of these events.  So in event area #1 you can host the ceremony, in area #2 you can have the cocktail hour, and during cocktail hour event area #1 would be transitioned into your reception area.

A great location will have at least three areas for events: a separate ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception location.  If you have more than one option for each, you are in really great shape!

Look for a venue with a few great options for each.  Don’t forget that if the house has a tennis court, this is also usable event space!

6. Catering Area

If you’re hiring a caterer to cook onsite, you will need an outdoor area or open garage large enough for a field kitchen.  This should be in an area separate from all other event spaces.

What exactly is a field kitchen?  It is a temporary on-site kitchen.  This includes everything from prep tables to stoves/ovens.  Depending on what catering services you need and how many guests you are serving, you will need a large open space to serve as a kitchen.

Most homes do not have a commercial kitchen so an on-site temporary kitchen is a must.


7.  Luxury Amenities

Why are you booking this venue?  There is probably a key feature that initially attracted you, right?  Prime selling points include an ocean or mountain view, pool, etc.

Other amenities that make a great venue are overnight accommodations if you’d like to make your one day event into a weekend event.

If your venue already has permanent outdoor lighting installed, lounge seating, tables, that can also be a huge perk!

Don’t forget about restrooms.  The venue you are considering should have at least 2 or 3 restrooms for 100 guests.  If you want to avoid having guests lined up at the restrooms, you’ll want to have room to accommodate a luxury restroom rental trailer too.

Phoenix Valley Retreat | Backyard Weddings | Unique NZ Wedding Venues

8. Location

Just because the house is amazing doesn’t make it a perfect event location.  The perfect venue will be in a prominent and desirable location central to hotels, or even a local airport.  Of course some people are looking for a more remote location, but most are looking for a place that is convenient for their guests to travel to, especially if most are coming from out of town.

A great location will also be secluded enough from their neighbors as not to disturb the event.  It will also have ample street or lot parking.


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