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How To Plan An Intimate, Al Fresco Backyard Wedding

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Photography by Chantelle Edwards. Styling by Katie Gregg.

Intimate weddings are the new normal and here to stay. Couples are quickly shifting gears to create meaningful celebrations within government restrictions. It’s no wonder that intimate al fresco inspired weddings are more desirable and picturesque than ever. Imagine this: the one’s closest to your heart all seated at one long communal table making your celebration not only warm and inviting but giving guests an interactive experience, ultimately making your closest loved ones feel like one big family. It truly doesn’t get more special than this.

When it comes to planning your party, here’s a few things I advise keeping top of mind.

Choosing a meaningful location and keep things cozy.
Keeping your celebration intimate in size means you can seek out locations that are unique to you and one’s that may have not been an option when a larger sized wedding was in mind. Backyards are the perfect choice for al fresco style weddings and many love to entertain from the comfort of their own home or the property of a loved one. Having all of your guests at one table allows them to interact not only with the ones they are sitting next to but also across the table making it feel like one big fabulous dinner party, but elevated!

Get creative when creating the tablescape of your dreams.
Scaling back on your guest list does not mean you have to scale back on your wedding vision. Instead, your dream wedding just got that much more attainable. Still consider enlisting a group of wedding industry professionals such as a planner, florist, decorator and caterer to help create the ultimate experience allowing you to be present and enjoy the moment. While many love complimenting the beautiful outdoors to set the tone for the aesthetic do not be afraid to dream big and think outside of the box to create a unique concept and fresh spin on the traditional outdoor dining experience. Al fresco dining does not always have to lead with a rustic approach but instead can highlight so many different wedding styles including ones with a modern approach. There are no faux pas to quite literally bringing your elevated banquet hall wedding decor outdoors.

Plan the perfect al fresco-style meal.
A fabulous shared feast is the way to go and brings such an experience factor to communal dining. That farm to table experience is enjoyed by all starting from the moment they sit down to their personalized menu’s. Consider a modern take on family-style dining transforming your favourite foods and elevating them into big batched dishes to be enjoyed by all while still having many courses. Consider pairing your meal with signature drinks. Here is your chance to get creative and compliment your guest’s palettes to the season and local area while wowing their taste buds. It is a relaxed approach to traditional plated dining but will leave your guests with a memorable experience.

Elevate your reception details.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to your décor when you opt for a more intimate guest list. This allows you to focus heavily on your wedding day details and dream big down to every individual place setting. Now is the time to splurge on those patterned or textured linens, napkins and runners to elevate your tablescape. Consider renting specialty dishes, chargers, stemware or flatware to perfectly pull together your vision without having to spread your budget thin with a large guest list. Personalized menus, place cards or a unique favour at each setting is also a great way to welcome your guests. You can do more with florals including installations creating a focal point and adding your ideal palette through a unique selection of flowers. A great way to add the perfect amount of ambiance to your table can be achieved with a mixture of candles or overhead specialty lighting. Consider enhancing the beautiful setting by including musical experiences like a quartet or pianist completely setting the tone for your guest. Cozy, quaint and intimate is sure to leave a lasting impression, and everyone will be swooning over your gorgeous al fresco-inspired reception.

Katie Gregg is the lead planner and founder of Katie Gregg Events & Co. Her wedding planning journey began two years ago, not long after saying ‘I do’ with her husband Chris; she discovered her passion for wedding planning and wedding media. Katie believes wedding planning is more than just staging and organizing an aesthetically beautiful event. It requires taking cues from a couple’s personal styles, incorporating details from their love story, and creating a thoughtful experience for them and their guests alike.

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