So you’re hosting an event in your very own backyard! You’ve got your tents, canopies, Port-A-Johns, seating, and lighting rented from your events company, the date marked on the calendar, and your invitations sent out. Now what?

Chances are, depending on the scale of your event, you’ll need permits. I know, I know. Permits sound pretty intimidating. But we’re here to give you the scoop on the kinds of permits you may need, and how to go about getting them for your event!

Typically permits vary from region to region, so it’s important to check your local ordinances. If you are in a residential area, you’ll typically have a more challenging time than if you’re in the country. Depending on your location, you may need a tent permit, be made aware of noise ordinances, have to obtain a permit so guests can park on your street, talk to the health department about your bathroom location plans, and if you’re selling alcohol, you likely need a Special Occasion Permit which can be submitted at an LCBO Special Occasion Permit Service Store.

Tent Permits

In order to obtain a tent permit, you may first be required to submit floor plans for your wedding or other special event. Locations of exits, fire extinguishers, as well as the tent’s fire resistance certificate may be required. Before your event begins, a fire marshal may want to inspect your location before issuing a permit. Ensuring someone from your tent rental company is on site for the inspection is a good way to make sure all questions are answered and any issues are addressed.

Noise Ordinances

If you’re debating between having a DJ or band on site for your festivities, it’s important to look into your local noise ordinances, as there is generally a time frame during which loud music should not be played at all. Though you may not technically be breaking any laws, you should at least inform your neighbours prior to the event as a courtesy. After all, if your neighbours file a noise complaint with the police, it’s your wedding or other highly-anticipated event that’s going to be crashed.

Parking Permits

If parking isn’t something that’s typically allowed on your street, or if you must be a resident in order to take advantage of street parking, be sure to look into parking permits so you aren’t leaving guests with the risk of hefty parking tickets, or nowhere to park.

Health Department

If you’re planning on having portable toilets on site at your event, it’s important to check with the health department to ensure they approve of the location for hygienic purposes. Putting restrooms close to where for serving dinner, for example, may not be the most sanitary choice.


There’s a difference between serving and selling alcohol at your event. If you’re serving pre-purchased alcohol, your only responsibility is to ensure guests get home safely and that they aren’t drinking and driving. If you’re selling alcohol at your wedding reception, you’ll need to acquire a Special Occasion Permit from an LCBO Special Occasion Permit Services Store. You can find a list of them, here.

We hope this helps make dealing with permits for your backyard event slightly less intimidating!