Wedding Reception: Dinner and Dancing

When planning your backyard wedding, most important location to consider is the dinner and dancing site, because this is where you and your guests will spend the majority of time – probably three to four hours — during the celebration. A large portion of your budget should be devoted to making you and your guests comfortable in this area. If you need a refresher on ceremony and cocktail hour ideas, I wrote about those parts of the wedding day earlier, or you can download the ebook.

You will likely want to install a tent, or at least have a back up plan to install one. The dinner and dancing area needs to be in the flattest part of the yard, as installing a leveled floor is quite expensive. You will also need to consider the size and shape of the space available for the reception. Unless you are willing to spring for a custom tent, you will have to work within the existing tent inventory of your preferred tent supplier, which may impact your guest list or the style of your dinner menu. If the backyard space is limited, or the ground is not level, you will want to get those tent proposals right away, so that you can see if the guest list needs to be shortened or if you need to switch from a seated dinner to a stations style dinner with partial seating. Here are some sample floor plans to review. Tents and flooring can be quite costly, and you may need to adjust your budget or guest list after getting a good idea of how much these large yet necessary items will cost.

Photo by Katie Stoops.