There’s no place like home. At least that’s what many couples believe when planning their wedding. While having a home wedding can be intimate, charming, and a wonderful way to incorporate childhood memories, there are many things to consider before pitching a tent in the backyard. Many couples think having a wedding at home will save money, but that is not always the case unless you invest your time into planning. Add in the many other details to take into consideration that aren’t a factor when having a wedding at a facility such as a hotel or restaurant and things get complicated. Does your home have enough space to accommodate all your guests? If planning an outdoor wedding, is there adequate space if weather becomes an issue? Can your neighborhood handle the parking needs? Are there enough bathrooms? That said, all hurdles can be overcome with the right plan of attack. Before you commit, here are some things to consider, along with local resources to provide assistance.
Consideration No. 1: Size of the guest list
A home wedding is a wonderful option if you have a small guest list. It is important to consider your setup and determine if you have an adequate amount of space, so you don’t go from cozy to cramped. A good rule of thumb is six to 10 square feet of space per guest for row seating. If space is an issue, you may need to trim the guest list. Determining the size of your ceremony and/or reception will also help with knowing the type and number of tables, chairs, and other basics such as tents, dance floor, and bathrooms. If your home does not have enough bathrooms (one bathroom for every 35 guests), you may need to rent portable toilets.
Hours: Mon to Sat – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Consideration No. 2: Type of reception
A growing trend in weddings are alternatives to the traditional ceremony and reception. More and more couples are foregoing a formal sit down or buffet meal, opting instead for champagne and hors d’oevres, cake and punch, or even a barbecue. Even if you decide to feed your guests a full lunch or dinner, most likely you will need help. When considering a caterer, take into account kitchen space, servers, clean-up, and equipment needs. Plan your budget carefully, as your food and alcohol bill could total up to 50 percent of your entire wedding budget.
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Consideration No. 3: Decorations
Having your wedding in your home means you can play up what makes it unique and beautiful and you can generally spend less on decorations. Showcasing artwork, family photos, and other collectibles can add style and versatility to your wedding. Adding accents such as fresh flowers, lights, and lanterns adds romance. Keep in mind that you will have to rent all the tableware, linens, and other décor, so be sure to plan your budget accordingly. Also, be sure your home is in top shape for big event. You’ll want to factor in any remodeling, paint touch-ups, and thorough cleaning.
Hours: Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sat – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., closed Sun
Consideration No. 4: The yard
Whether you have an intimate gathering inside or a dazzling outdoor reception, you’ll want to make sure your yard is ready to be on display. Give the landscape a manicured look and add extra plants for added décor. Plan properly for the season and make sure you allow plenty of growing time. Trim hedges and trees to accommodate tents, tables, and chairs. Rope off or block any areas you don’t want to be trampled. Whether you do it yourself or hire a landscaper, you’ll want to plan–and budget(!)–accordingly.
Hours: Mon to Sat – 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sun- 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
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Consideration No. 5: Parking
We all remember that scene in “Father of the Bride” when Steve Martin has to scramble to repark all those cars in his front yard. When considering an at home wedding, do not overlook parking needs. If you have a large guest list, does your street have enough parking to accommodate your guests? What are the city ordinances? Do you need a permit? You’ll also want to consider who is responsible for parking the cars. Will your guests self park or should you hire a professional? Hiring a professional to offer valet service may be worth the time, effort, and money. Also consider an offsite lot or garage and have a shuttle service bring guests back and forth.
Hours: Mon to Sat – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If you are looking to make your wedding more intimate and personal, having it at home is a great option. Although it takes more work, with proper planning and preparation, the end result is worth the extra effort.
Karen Boruff is a freelance writer living in Sacramento. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.