If you have the space (and cooperative weather conditions), consider holding your wedding ceremony and reception in your backyard.

There are several benefits to this kind of arrangement. The most obvious, of course, is that you put the money you spend back into your home. Notice that we didn't necessarily say that you will be cutting down on costs, since you'll still have to spend on rentals of tables and sound equipment and beautification efforts like landscaping and extra décor. Realistically, there won't be much difference in throwing the party in your home or in a simple church or local hall, but the couples who did opt for backyard weddings say that they felt their money was spent on something that they could "keep". For example, the flower beds and pebble path for your "grand entrance" down your lawn will be there for years. Others felt that a backyard wedding was more personal and meaningful.

However, wanting to throw a backyard wedding and deciding whether or not it's a feasible option are two very different things. Look at the space you have and the number of guests you plan to invite. Compute the number of tables and chairs you would need, where you could put the stage or the gazebo, and if there's an area where everyone can park. (Some couples solve parking issues by organizing a shuttle service from a designated parking area.) Another thing to think about: focal points. This is a place in your yard where you'll place the stage, and where everyone can watch the ceremony. You may need to make a rough reception layout, bearing in mind that you should leave space between tables for people to comfortably mingle.

You should also factor in the seasons: will it be too rainy, too cold, too hot or too humid to hold your wedding outdoors? You'll need to rent tents or umbrellas in case of a sudden shower, and perhaps a few industrial fans just to make sure there's proper air circulation.

Another important thing to think about is toilet facilities. Do you have enough bathrooms, and if not, are you willing to rent them? Kitchens are another factor.

Your serving staff will also need space in the kitchen for their tools, and an unimpeded path to be able to take care of your guests without getting in their way.

You will need to rent some things: tables and chairs, of course, but don't forget the lights, dishes and utensils, sound and video equipment, carpeting (for your walk down the "aisle"), umbrellas and tents. Call suppliers to get an estimate of your total costs so you won't be surprised later on.

Don't forget to check if you'll be allowed to hold a party in your backyard. Will your neighbours mind the noise? Will you need to get permits from your local county to serve alcohol? Along with this, see if there are any issues that would irritate your guests. For example, are there rude neighbours that would make the experience unpleasant for them? Are there are a lot of insects or bugs?

Weigh all of these factors as you decide whether or not to have the wedding in your backyard.