Top 8 Most-Forgotten Items for your Backyard Wedding

by Danielle Pasternak on 02-21-2015 in Q and A

Top 8 Most-Forgotten Items for your Backyard Wedding

Submitted By our Good Friend Danielle Pasternak from DPnak Weddings

With each wedding we’re a part of, we always learn something new and make a mental note (or actual note) so we don’t forget for next time. It’s usually minor things – like unwrap the tin of Altoids from the plastic before placing it in the groomsmen pews at church – but when we first started out, they were sometimes slightly more important things. We always found a quick solution, but it never hurts to have it taken care of in advance.

Last year, we compiled a Rental Checklist of just about everything you could possibly need for your tented or backyard wedding. But here are the top eight items that are usually forgotten – in one way or another.


1 Garbage Cans and Liners

If you’re wedding is taking place in a tent, backyard, etc. chances are very high that you’re bringing in your own caterer. While some may provide garbage cans and liners for you, many do not. We recommend at least 1-2 cans for out in the area where guests are (more if you’re using disposable cups, plates or cutlery) and another 1-2 for where the caterers are cooking and prepping food. It should go without saying that it’s also best to have a whole box of large liners available too. We like to place 4-5 in the bottom of each can before applying the first liner so it’s easy access as the day goes on.

2 Water

If you’re supplying drinks for your bar, you’ll want to make sure you don’t forget bottled drinking water for guests. Not everyone drinks soda and having some ice cold water (especially on a hot day outside) will be very important in keeping everyone hydrated and having a good time. If you’re also having iced water served in a goblet with dinner, be sure to provide your caterers or bartenders (whomever is responsible for dinner drinks) with gallons of drinking water for service, which are more economical than bottles.

3 Ice

Ice is a tricky item because you can’t exactly buy it months in advance. This is best tasked to your caterer or bartender (usually for a fee) but can also be taken care of by a helpful friend or family member. Just make sure they purchase enough ice for any cocktails, buckets for chilling drinks, water, soda, dinner service, etc.

A good and safe “rule of thumb” for how much ice to buy is 1.5lbs per guest. Up that to 2.5lbs+ per guest if you’re using it to also chill bottles in buckets. Also figure a crazy-hot day will cause the ice to melt faster, but in most cases the above rule should apply.

4 Napkins

Chances are you’re not going to forget napkins. But when you’re determining how many to order, make sure to order 10-15% more in case of any spills. Caterers and bartenders will often use a few, too (especially for bread baskets). It’s safe to say that it’s best to order extra of most linens, table clothes included.

5 Dessertware

When it comes to cutlery, same as napkins, you’ll want to order a few extra forks, spoons, and knives. They are often dropped or misplaced by a guest and they’ll naturally request a new one. BUT, the part that is most often forgotten is ordering enough forks and spoons to get you through all of your courses including dessert. In a traditional meal, you’ll need a salad fork, dinner fork, and another salad fork for dessert (No, people won’t use the same fork. Some may but most won’t think about letting the server clean it up with their dinner plate). If you’re serving coffee or ice cream, don’t forget to order additional spoons. You’ll also need plates for dessert (cake or otherwise) and cups/saucers for coffee.

6 Lighting

Most rental companies will ask you about this but don’t forget to figure lighting for areas that aren’t necessarily under the main tent. This includes the caterers tent, bathroom area, parking area, smoking area, ceremony spot, and any pathways that guests may need to take. Also, if you’re renting a portable restroom, make sure to find out if there is a light INSIDE the bathroom. No one likes to do their business in the dark. Especially the person who has to go after them.

7 Power

Whether your property has sufficient power or if you need to rent a generator, be sure to provide enough power and extension cords for your caterer, band or DJ, lighting, heating, cooling, etc.

8 Heating/Cooling

Depending on the time of year, chances are you’ll want to have either a heater (for colder months) or fans and A/C unit (for warmer months). You can also rent removable walls for your tent to help maintain the temperature inside the tent. Just make sure you have power and enough extension cords for whatever you’ve got going on!

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