Not every couple desires a fancy venue when they decide to get married. Sometimes, the perfect place for a wedding is right at home. How exactly do you go about hosting a ceremony and reception in your living room and backyard, though? You may hope to use your house to save money, but there are some additional logistics you’ll have to consider before you begin. Here are a few tips for making sure your event goes smoothly.
Prep the venue beforehand
Your home is technically your venue, so because it’s yours, it’s also yours to clean and ensure everything is in working order. Mow your lawn, scrub your surfaces, and consider polishing your floors. You’ll also be more involved with setup and takedown because there is no on-site staff to do it for you. Remember to plant your flowers well in advance so that they bloom in time for the event—though one of the benefits of having a home wedding is that many of your flowers can still be in the ground instead of vases.
Assess your budget
Keep in mind that some couples manage to reduce their wedding bill to less than $3,000, but others don’t see the savings they expect. One bride that fell into the latter category is Katherine Swenson, who notes: “When we began the planning process, we assumed throwing out wedding at home would save us lots of money. In the end, I don’t think we spent less overall, but we were better able to allocate funds to suit our needs and preferences than if we’d gone with a more traditional venue.”
Even if you opt for an elaborate event that still racks up a hefty price tag, having your wedding at home gives you more control over where your money goes. What a traditional venue would charge you for rent could instead go towards the decorations you want or borrowing a portable dance floor (so your guests don’t have to party in the grass).
So, before you begin planning, assess how much money you are willing to spend. Renting a tent with electricity can still cost thousands of dollars. Will your home be able to generate enough power, or will you need a generator? Have you visited the best online wedding dress websites? Will you need to rent Port-A-Potties if you do not have enough bathrooms inside? If you want to save money, be sure not to overextend yourself.
Keep your neighbors in the loop
If you live in an area where neighbors can easily see and hear you, remember to inform them beforehand that you are going to be hosting what could be a loud affair. Doing so is not just to prevent noise complaints—it’s so that they know not to mow their lawns or make a ruckus during your vows. It may also be polite to invite your neighbors, especially if they are allowing you to use their driveways for parking.
Have a parking plan
On a related note, it is essential to have a parking plan in place. Not everyone can leave their cars outside of your house, and you don’t want to overcrowd the street, so see if you can have guests park at a nearby religious institution or school. Do not make your guests walk back to your house, of course: ask a few friends or relatives to operate a shuttle service. They can use their personal vehicles, or you can rent golf carts for ferrying arrivals back and forth.
Double check legalities
Be aware of any legal regulations that you need to account for. If you and your partner are religious, make sure your officiant is able to marry you outside of their institution’s building (and if you have a family member or friend overseeing the ceremony, double check that whatever website they ordained themselves through is legitimate). You may also need to obtain a city permit to host a party of a certain size—you do not want the police or fire department arriving unexpectedly.
Have lots of help
Ask a few of your close friends and family members to volunteer with getting everything ready and seeing the wedding through. You might need someone to greet other arrivals and direct traffic, someone to be your vendors’ point of contact, a few people to set up chairs (you may have to rent quite a few), and someone to bring drinks if your caterer or bartender does not provide their own.
Throwing a home and backyard wedding may or may not save you money, but it is an opportunity to make it deeply personal. What aspects will you consider when you begin planning?