Planning a wedding at home, a place where you feel most comfortable, is a wonderful experience for you and your guests. It is the perfect place to tell your story and make even more memories.
It does however have its challenges. I’m going to explain the Pros and Cons (or really the Pros and things to consider) of planning a wedding at home.
The plan for the day
Decide how much is to take place at home, is it the entire day or will you have your ceremony elsewhere (or on another day) and then have the reception and party at home?
If you’re hoping to have the whole celebration at home then try to dedicate different areas to the different parts of the day, this will help with supplier set up. Of course, if you don’t have a sufficient number of different spaces then suppliers can turn around a marquee from a ceremony set up to a dinner set up, but guests will need to be accommodated elsewhere for a drinks reception while the suppliers make the changes.
Quick Tip - Please note that a venue needs a marriage license for you to have a legal ceremony at it, you can apply for a temporary license (but this will need to be done well in advance and may not be given) or you can have a non-legal blessing or humanist ceremony (and do the legal bit another time).
When you are having a wedding at home you need to be realistic about the space available and therefore how many guests you can invite. Having it at home can give you more flexibility than hiring a venue with a strict capacity, however you need to consider the spaces required and whether you can accommodate the number of guests that you want in these spaces.
For example - you may have space for a marquee in the garden but if you are going to need to accommodate different parts of the day (as mentioned above) then you will need more than one entertaining space. You can’t always rely on British weather so you should allow for two structures (if you don’t have space in the house itself for guests to enjoy while the marquee is turned around).
Quick Tip – consider the weather carefully for your wedding at home. If it is in the height of summer look into getting fans and if it is an autumn/winter wedding, you should consider additional heating and perhaps a firepit with blankets for guests.
Aside from physical space for guests you will also need to consider other elements effected by guest numbers. More guests will likely mean more catering equipment and will likely mean more parking spaces required (unless you are providing transport to and from another location).
Quick tip – if you are transporting guests from another location, make sure the coach or bus can actually get to your house.
When you communicate with your wedding guests (either in your invite or wedding website) make sure you clarify for them whether they can park, whether they can leave their car overnight, whether there is convenient public transport or whether you are providing transport (from local hotels for example).
Space inside the house
When you are planning a wedding at home you will think about the exterior of the house for entertaining guest, but you might not consider the importance of spaces inside the house. The main one being areas for the bridal party to get ready. If you book hair and make-up professionals for your bridal party, they will need sufficient space and clear surfaces to work. It is also likely they will need good natural lighting and access to power (for hairdryers/straighteners etc). If you want a photographer to capture these brilliant ‘getting ready’ moments, then you should consider what these areas look like and make any tweaks needed in advance.
When it comes to your other professional shots, you will know the areas that you want to include (ones that may mean a lot to you and/or ones that work aesthetically), so make a list and discuss the options with your photographer. You may even want to recreate (wearing your wedding dress) a favourite childhood position/hobby in a meaningful location.
Planning a wedding at home can give you so much flexibility when it comes to décor and theming. Having a wedding outside does not mean you have to go for a boho chic/rustic style (although this does look amazing). You can also create a more traditional or luxurious look, thanks to fantastic marquee, production, décor, and floristry suppliers that are now available. This flexibility means that you can create something truly unique and representative of you both.
Wedding food and drink
Unless you are looking to organise a small, intimate wedding you will need to hire a caterer to provide food and drink for guests. You should discuss your requirements with your caterer so they can advise you on what they can offer, whether it be a 3-course meal, sharing platters, a buffet, street food etc. If you want any drinks or canapes to be served to guests, then you should expect the caterer to charge you for front of house staff as well. They will also require space near to the guest marquee for catering prep/cooking so you should discuss this with them, so you know what power, space etc is required.
Planning a wedding at home does mean that you have the flexibility to provide your own drink, but as mentioned before, if you are wanting anyone to serve the drinks/operate a bar then you will need staff from the caterer. They will also be able to provide you with ice, glassware etc.
Quick Tip – don’t forget to include some nice soft drinks!
One other key part of planning a wedding at home is to provide sufficient toilets. There are a variety of portable toilets available now, so you can be as luxurious as you would like to be with your choice!
As you will appreciate from the above there is a lot to consider when planning a wedding at home (and these are just the main considerations). So understandably many couples require assistance to make it happen. You can ask for help on the day from bridal party members but as they will have other responsibilities you cannot guarantee that they will always be available when needed. A Planner is there to set up the wedding, manage suppliers, troubleshoot as needed and coordinate the day itself. But bringing them on board in the planning stages will give you the benefit of their experience. They will advise on space, power requirements, catering areas, toilets, parking etc, as well as offer creative ideas that they have seen or used before that worked well.
Let the neighbours know your plans (especially if having loud entertainment), you could give them something as a gesture for their understanding, or even invite them to the evening part to enjoy the celebration. Either way you should leave them a phone number (maybe of your Planner), so if there are any issues at any point, they have someone to help them (without impacting on your day).
If you would like to plan your wedding at home and you need some help in turning your dreams into reality, then please do get in touch and we can discuss how I can help you have the best day ever.