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backyard-wedding-driveway    backyard-wedding-post-card    backyard-wedding-table

There's nothing quite as personal or intimate as having your wedding literally in your own backyard. It's the perfect venue for smaller gatherings of up to 100 of your closest friends and family members. In fact, more couples than ever are choosing the great outdoors for their nuptials—it is reported that 43 percent of ceremonies are held outdoors. To join the happy fray with your own beautiful backyard wedding, make sure you include these five must-have details:

A Level Playing Field

No matter how gorgeous your backyard is, you need an even, level aisle to walk down and a level surface for serving, eating and entertaining. Not only is this a safety issue (can you imagine tripping on your way to the altar or one of your guests twisting an ankle during the reception?), it's also an issue of aesthetics. You don't want cockeyed tables and chairs listing like drunken wedding crashers. So unless you plan on having guests sign liability wavers on their way in, make sure your walkways and entertaining areas are smooth and safe.

A Fabulous Focal Point

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The most important visual element in your backyard is the spot where you'll be exchanging vows. It will serve as the frame and backdrop for your ceremony, and as such will be a recurring component in your wedding photos. A gazebo, arch or arbor covered in greenery and flowers in your wedding colors is a timeless choice. If you're going for a more rustic look, consider using indoor elements outdoors, such as a pair of wooden door frames with simple lace curtains or a freestanding hearth.

A Pretty Pool

a-pretty-pool

If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, incorporate it as a major design element. A liner for inground swimming pools is an easy and effective way to give your pool a classy upgrade. You can use the water's surface as a canvas for colorful floating candles and floral arrangements. Even something simple such as rose petals scattered across the water can add an elegant touch.

A Terrific Table

a-terrific-table

Whether it's long rows of banquet tables or several small circular tables, your tablescape is an ideal way to showcase your wedding's theme and style. For a vintage look, consider using lace-covered Mason jars as centerpieces. If your wedding calls for something modern yet simple, try Martha Stewart's suggestion of single peonies. Whatever your theme may be, you can't go wrong with classic white plates with napkins in your wedding colors. Just be sure to avoid plastic, unless you're going with a backyard barbecue.

Felicitous Flowers

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The flowers you choose are the element that ties everything together, from your cake and decorations to the bouquet and boutonniere. For an outdoor wedding, it's important to work with flowers that are suitable to the region and climate. If you already have flowers that will be in bloom at the time of your wedding, that's a perfect place to start building a floral theme. However, if you're looking for something trendy, succulents are huge right now, especially on the West Coast, according to Garden Chic.

Photos (from top to bottom): younghouselove.com; elisaself via Flickr; r1aviator via Flickr; tommy.chheng via Flickr; Our Labor of Love

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