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Newbie July 2022 Ontario

Backyard Wedding Advice

Michaela, on March 23, 2021 at 00:01 Posted in Wedding reception 0 7
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Anyone planning or looking to organize a backyard wedding? As of now, the wedding is tentatively set for July 2022 depending on what the situation is with Covid. I want family and friends from other countries to be included.

It's been a dream for me to get married on my childhood property so it would be a backyard wedding event on a very large open property.

Wondering how everyone managed their budgets and the main points they struggled with? So far I'm noticing cost wise it's going to be a lot more expensive than I expected.

I'm about an hour outside of Toronto as well so anyone who has positive or negative experiences with certain venues could definitely help!

Thanks in advance!

7 Comments

Latest activity by Samantha, on March 25, 2021 at 09:33
  • Samantha
    Super June 2021 Ontario
    Samantha ·
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    The tent we are using is under the size required for a permit as we are only having 25 guests which is the maximum allowance for a backyard wedding.
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  • Hank
    Featured September 2021 Ontario
    Hank ·
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    You absolutely need a permit to build a tent or air-supported structure. Here's the info for Mississauga tent permits: https://www.mississauga.ca/file/COM/Tentaswebpage.pdf

    Most cities require a permit for any structure being built to make sure it's to code. You can try and bet on bylaw and the fire marshall to not come by and see what's going on, but why take that chance? Just to save $125?

    Same goes with a Special Occasion Permit and having licensed servers. Just have professionals serve you so you don't have to worry about guests having one too many. In your case, Tracey, your caterer is probably licensed since it's full service.


    The value of not doing it at a venue is less people interpreting the COVID restrictions and you can probably have closer to the dream wedding you were looking for.

    I'm highly disagree with this statement here. A staffed venue gets direction from their local public heath unit. They're also inspected regularly to ensure compliance. To suggest that people can achieve their dream wedding by interpreting their own rules is irresponsible and can get you in trouble.

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  • Hank
    Featured September 2021 Ontario
    Hank ·
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    FYI Oakville requires a building permit if you're erecting a tent. https://www.oakville.ca/business/non-residential-building-permits.html

    And what Genevieve says about alcohol permit.

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  • Samantha
    Super June 2021 Ontario
    Samantha ·
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    We're having a backyard wedding in June this year. It's everything that FH and I had dreamed of, but it's by far not the cheapest solution either as we find out really quick haha. But having it in a backyard made it so that we know exactly what things will look like on the day with no surprises (other than not knowing the weather) and whatever additions we do want we will be allowed to do.
    I saw permits being mentioned and the only permits that we are in need of is parking permits for guests to park on the road without getting tickets. Because it's in a private residence there's no need for an alcohol permit, or whatever permit you might need for a tent setup. As for noise, we have to inform all other homes within a 150 foot radius of the house that we will be having a wedding.
    But we're so excited to be getting married at FH's childhood home and it's just going to be perfect with 25 of our closest friend and family.
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  • Geneviève
    VIP September 2020 Ontario
    Geneviève ·
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    You actually do need a permit for events with alcohol in Ontario. Backyard weddings, because they're outdoors, require a Special Occasions Permit through the AGCO and are registered as a private event. The good news is there are two costs for private events: sale (aka cash bar) for $150 and no sale (aka open bar) for $45. The only time you're exempt is when you fall under the "private" section (aka indoor house parties where alcohol isn't sold) or if your caterer has an endorsement that covers your event. The permit also goes towards protecting any servers or bartenders you have for the evening, on top of their SmartServe or mixology certificates. It’s always a good idea to get the permits and insurances you need in case something happens, because as the hosts providing the alcohol, you would be liable.

    As for the tent permit or any other restrictions, you would have to check with your local municipal office on what is allowed and what isn't. Your local by-laws might mention this but if they're not easy to find, a quick call to city hall will fix that. It always helps to know ahead of time in case your municipality has quirky bylaws that would impede your day.

    Honestly, part of the reason we went with a venue was because it took care of all of these details, including staffing and majority of the set-up/tear-down. It would depend on where and the size of your guest list but gathering pricing for both might be worth the time.

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  • Tracey
    Beginner September 2021 Ontario
    Tracey ·
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    I disagree that you need a bunch of permits. We are doing a tent and do not need a permit in our friends back yard but would have had we used our sailing club. Also you do not need a permit for alcohol unless you plan to have a cash bar which we won’t be. We are using a full service caterer so they will worry about set up and clean up and to be honest the prices have been very reasonable. The cost for a trailer with 4 bathrooms is about $1400. The value of not doing it at a venue is less people interpreting the COVID restrictions and you can probably have closer to the dream wedding you were looking for.

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  • Hank
    Featured September 2021 Ontario
    Hank ·
    • Dispute

    A lot of people think a backyard wedding saves them money but they don't factor in all the perks that come with a venue and these things will add up once you have to outsource them.

    The biggest one is staffing/labour. Who's setting up the furniture, cooking/serving the food, pouring the drinks, clearing the dirty dishes and glasses, and cleaning the place up overall?

    What about power for lights and a DJ setup? You can get a noisy generator or run a bunch of power cords into the house hoping you don't trip a circuit.

    Are you putting up a tent? You'll need a permit and insurance.

    Are you serving alcohol? You'll also need a permit and pay for licensed servers.

    Bathrooms? Depending on how many people you're hosting, it can be cumbersome for everyone to use the one bathroom in the house (especially if it's the main bathroom for the family living there), which means renting portable bathrooms and handwashing stations (even then, taking #2 in a porta-potty can be pretty gross).

    Does the property have enough parking for the number of guests you're bringing? It would suck for guests to get a parking ticket for coming to your wedding.

    Also, if you're partying past 9pm, what are the noise restriction bylaws since you're in a residential area?

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