When you’re planning your wedding, one of the biggest hurdles is finding the perfect location for the ceremony and reception. Many couples decide there’s no place like home for their ideal wedding and reception. What could be more personal and special than your own home backyard, right? If you are considering this as an option for your big day, we have a few tips to consider.
What to Consider with a Home Wedding
How large will your guest list be? Take a look around and think about how many people your home wedding can reasonably accommodate. Do you have a spot for both the ceremony and the reception? Many yards are not large enough to host 50-100 (or more!) people at once. Think about creative seating arrangements and how you will define each space. Make sure your guests will have room to move and enjoy the day. Just as important, ask any wedding vendors you hire everything you need to know to ensure your day goes perfectly.
Prep Your Yard
The great thing about holding a wedding in your backyard? You can use your own landscaping to create the perfect backdrop. When you are planning your date, think about where you will want the ceremony to be held and add plants that will be flowering and full during your wedding. Consider adding wildflowers in a variety of colors – you can use the same flowers in your bouquet. If you don’t have a great garden already, consider working on it 8-10 weeks before the big day.
Bug-Proof Your Yard
While you think about your landscaping plan, consider adding plants that deter bugs, like rosemary and lavender. If you’re afraid of bugs ruining your day, have an exterminator spray down your property 48 hours or so before people will arrive.
Make sure your home is photo ready! Take the opportunity before your big day to make the home updates you have been dreaming of. Paint the walls, upgrade the flooring, and fix the faucet in the sink. Consider power washing the siding and patio and touch up any outdoor paint that looks a little faded or worn.
You can definitely save big on the venue expenses and related wedding costs by hosting your wedding at home, but don’t forget to include rentals in your budget. You will likely need to rent things like a large-capacity tent, tables, chairs, linens, tableware, and a dance floor so you can dance the night away!
As the afternoon turns to evening, consider how you will add soft lighting for the space. You may choose strands of light, Chinese lanterns, or candles around the reception area. Make sure that you consider all the safety factors (especially if you want to luminate with candles).
Depending on the size of your guest list, consider catering the event. Decide if you will be serving finger foods or a full meal, have a food station or a buffet line. The caterer will want to know about your desired set up, as well as kitchen prep space. Be realistic about your home’s capacity for preparing a meal for everyone that attends.
Hire Your Officiant
When choosing who will perform the ceremony, discuss your location with your officiant ahead of time. Many religious officials aren’t able to perform ceremonies outside of their place of worship, which could factor into who you choose for the at-home wedding ceremonial duties.
A wedding at your home may feel less formal than if it were held at another venue. Think of ways to personalize, like asking guests to take informal pics and share them with you instead of hiring a photographer; or incorporate your pet into the ceremony. Turning your home or backyard space can really add something special to your whole wedding ceremony. Without venue restrictions, you have a bit more freedom to make the day personal to you.
Get Help Ahead of Time
You have enough to do to prepare for the wedding; don’t add cleaning to the list. Hire a professional to give your home a thorough clean about a week before the event. If you plan to have people in your house, consider getting a cleaning crew to come back in the next week to help with clean up.
When you have microphones, music and lighting planned, your outdoor power supply may need a boost. Talk to an electrician and consider renting a power generator to keep up with electrical needs. (It’s always better to be safe than sorry!)
Add a Restroom
If your guest list is larger than 35 people, consider adding an additional restroom. Your plumbing (and septic system) are designed for family use, not set up for a large event. Portable restrooms should be clean and out of the way. You can add luxury amenity baskets near the doors to make your guests feel special.
Permits and Parking
If you plan to party into the night, be sure you have filed for a noise permit with the city and have a solid plan for parking. Rather than relying on street parking, you may want to contract with a local lot and hire a valet to assist. Talk to your neighbors and let them know that they will experience higher traffic and may hear your guests during the reception.
To be on the safe side, check your liability insurance coverage, and have a plan in place in case something unexpected happens. Consider special event insurance for your wedding day.
Your wedding should be as unique as you are, and holding the ceremony in your home may be the perfect way to celebrate the big day. As you prepare for your happy-ever-after, talk to your Farm Bureau agent for tips on updating your coverage for your expanding family.