If you’re having a backyard wedding with neighbors who will be affected, either by noise, traffic, or guests taking up street parking, it’s good manners to give them advanced notice as soon as possible.
There are a few ways that you can politely inform your neighbors about your backyard wedding plans. The best way would be to pay a visit in person to let them know about the event. Other acceptable ways you can do it include making a phone call, writing a letter or sending an email.
Details for how to go about each of these methods are below.
PRO-TIP: When letting your neighbors know about your wedding in person or by letter, bring them a small gift or baked goods as a gesture of goodwill. And perhaps even a box of ear plugs for a laugh. If you’re interested checking out the best options for earplugs, you can find them on Amazon by clicking here.
Why inform the neighbors and how NOT to do it
Don’t just have a backyard wedding without informing your neighbors. They’re bound to be inconvenienced in some way, and at best you will have planted a seed of resentment. At worst, they’ll call the police on you as soon as the music goes one minute past the allowed “quiet” time.
Either way, you don’t want that on your wedding day. So make sure you put “tell your neighbors” on your wedding planning checklist – and it’s better to do it early on.
Now, the key is HOW to let them know. It is possible to do this wrong. Because you’re basically asking them for a favor (to be cool while you have a big loud party), it’s important to make a somewhat formal or “deep” ish gesture when you tell them.
That means don’t let them know via text, or social media, or community message board/forum.
Don’t let them find out through another person either. The information should come from you (the couple) and should be a personalized message delivered in person, by phone call, or in a thoughtful letter or email (email is a last resort).
I’m not being old school or traditional just for the sake of it here. In this case, it has a purpose. By doing this, we’re showing respect to our neighbors, the people we live with, and so in this instance the traditional face-to-face communication or letter is necessary and impactful if we want good results and a stress-free wedding.
How to inform your neighbors about your backyard wedding IN PERSON
As mentioned, the best way to inform your neighbors is walking up to their door and telling them in person. Of course, if you already have a good relationship with your neighbors, this should be easily enough.
If you don’t know your neighbors or don’t know them well, this could feel a bit awkward. But it’s important! And who knows? Maybe you’ll end up being better neighbors and even friends.
When you make this house call, it’s important to do the following:
1. Make the visit at least few months in advance. The sooner the better. This gives them time to plan to be elsewhere if they wish.
2. Bring a small gift with you, such as a bottle of wine or baked goods (cookies go a long way!).
3. Explain that you’re getting married and planning to have a ceremony at X time on X date and describe the inconveniences that this may cause to your neighbors (noise until X time; cars parked along the street; etc.).
4. Apologize sincerely for the inconvenience and promise to ask your guests to behave themselves.
5. Invite them to your reception, if this is a possibility for you. It’s a really nice gesture that will help maintain your neighborly relationship.
NOTE: Things to consider in terms of neighbors for your backyard wedding are the noise, where guest cars will be parked, and drunken or wandering guests in the neighborhood. If you think any of these will be a problem for your neighbors, see what you can do BEFORE the event.
For noise, check to see if there are “quiet hours” or noise ordinances where you live. Have a plan for parking and make sure guests don’t take spots that belong to your neighbors or block their driveways. Ask your guests (perhaps in a quick announcement?) to be respectful of the neighbors and to please stay on your property.
How to inform your neighbors about your backyard wedding IN WRITING
As soon as possible, let your neighbors know about your backyard wedding plans. It’s best to visit them in person, but if this isn’t possible, you can give them a letter. Or you may want to tell them in person AND hand them a letter so that they have the date and time on paper.
Here is a sample letter for informing your neighbors:
We will be joyfully celebrating our wedding ceremony and reception in the backyard of our home at [ADDRESS] on [DATE].
Our ceremony will start at [TIME]. We would love to invite you to celebrate with us at the reception which will be held directly afterward at [TIME].
We apologize for any noise or inconvenience during the evening and can assure you that this is a one-time event. If you are disturbed by the noise, please come over for cake and wine and let us know.
We greatly appreciate your kindness and understanding.
All the best,
If you want, you can also include a line about RSVP-ing, such as “Please let us know if you can join in the fun by contacting [EMAIL] or [PHONE NUMBER] at your earliest convenience.”
If they turn down your invitation, depending on how generous you’re feeling, an option could be to buy them movie passes. This is a nice gesture because they can go do something fun and not be inconvenienced with the noise of your reception (and won’t be around to complain!). You could send the movie passes over with a note such as:
We understand you won’t be able to join us for our backyard wedding reception on [DATE]. Please accept our offer of movie tickets and enjoy an evening out on us.
We hope that our event is not an inconvenience to you, and that you’ll let us know if there is anything we can do.
All the best,
NOTE: You may also want to appoint a “contact person” for your neighbors to call if there are any disturbances that occur and they want to speak to someone during the ceremony or reception. If you don’t want to deal with these issues yourself on your big day, you could ask a trusted friend or family member to be in charge of fielding any complaints and include their phone number in the letter.
You may also enjoy my 10 TIPS FOR A BACKYARD WEDDING, a video I made on my wedding YouTube channel. These are 10 tips I hope you keep in mind when planning your own backyard wedding. I’ll drop it down below!