How to Plan a Wedding: At home!

Wedding receptions held at home can make for a truly personalised and sweet day filled with unique homely touches. However there is a lot of wedding planning and seamless organisation involved before you can achieve wedded bliss (much more planning than celebrations held at typical wedding reception venues!). So if your heart is set on hosting your big day at home or the house of a close friend or relative we recommend you read our advice for everything you need to consider before you begin planning!

marquee setup for wedding at home

Think Practically About Your Space

Think carefully about the size of your guest list and whether that corresponds with the amount of space you have available. Nobody likes to be put in an overcrowded situation so you may have to consider shortening your guest list in order to account for room for guests to move comfortably! If your intentions are to utilise both indoor and outdoor spaces bear in mind that if the weather turns sour all of your guests will be shuffling inside for cover. Pre-empt this by having enough dedicated space indoors or hiring quality closed off marquees that can block out any less than perfect weather conditions at garden weddings. Consider having a nearby hall or church booked for your ceremony just in case of rain. Consider where your guests will park. If there is not enough parking in your area, seek out a local car park perhaps at a nearby school for your guests to park at and then arrange for a shuttle bus type service to shuffle guests back and forth.

marquee tent for outdoor wedding reception

What You Actually Need to Set Up an Outdoor Wedding Reception

While you will save costs on your venue you are going to need to hire everything. Aside from the obvious marquees, tables and chairs you will also need dinnerware, glasses, napkins and linens. Unless your house is equipped with multiple, easy to access bathrooms hiring portable toilets are a must. You may also need to hire lighting and equipment for your entertainment such as speakers and microphones. On top of all this a generator may also be needed to ensure you don’t experience any power outages and have enough power to cover your caterers, lighting and musical needs. Speaking of caterers, another consideration will be the need for cooking equipment. Your kitchen may not be fully equipped or large enough for your caterers which will result in the need to hire the essentials for your caterers to successfully fulfil your wedding menu. Hiring a cleaning company to come in and clean your house the day after the reception is a great idea. Scrubbing your house clean the day after your wedding doesn’t sound like the ideal romantic start to married life.

wedding table setting for outdoor wedding reception

Wedding Budget

Keep your wedding budget in mind. If you are opting for a wedding at home in order to cut costs you might be surprised to find that this isn’t necessarily the case. As mentioned above you will need to hire absolutely everything you can think of and hiring items for a wedding does not come cheap. We recommend hunting around for bargains and bartering with companies to ensure you get the very best deals. It might just mean hiring chairs from one company and tables from another. If you are working to a tight budget borrowing as opposed to hiring might be the way to go. Try approaching local schools, halls and sporting or social clubs to see if you can borrow chairs or tables. Offer to pay a bond for the items as a safe guard just in case of damage. Mismatched chairs and tables can add an eclectic feel to your wedding reception decorations.

Organising Wedding Vendors

Ensure your wedding vendors visit your home before the big day. This can help avoid any potential dramas arising on the day of your wedding such as their not being enough space or the right equipment available for them to set up or uneven ground wreaking havoc on your tables. If you are having a wedding coordinator or stylist they will also need to visit your house to know exactly what kind of space they are working with. They will also be able to help you to determine what is possible for your outdoor wedding reception.

marquee venue backyard wedding ideas

Garden Wedding Ideas

While extravagance is always an option, having a wedding at home is the perfect way to save on decorations. Perhaps you implement some DIY wedding ideas and make some of your own decorations or you simply play off the beautiful features your home already has. If you have lovely gardens consider using lanterns and lighting to highlight its beauty and make it a focal point. Another way to transform your home is to use personalised signs. Other fabulous backyard wedding ideas include scattering petals to form footpaths or creating lounge areas for guests to relax and take a break from the dance floor.

lighting ideas for outdoor wedding reception

The Morning of Your Wedding

You might be surprised to find how early guests will arrive at your house on the big day. This is because your home is a familiar location where they feel comfortable so they may just arrive well before the designated time specified on the invite. In order to prevent any awkward encounters make sure you get everything ready and decorated for the ceremony and reception well in advance or have a designated area for them away from your reception space. Also have someone – a member of your family such as your parents taking upon the role of welcoming your guests. This way you can continue getting ready without having to greet and entertain any early arriving guests.

Knowing the specifics of how to plan a wedding at home, which is vastly different to planning a wedding held at a reception venue, can ensure you have a stress free day. Always remember that only you know the schedule for the wedding so if something does go wrong, let it go! Your guests will be none the wiser.




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