Having a home wedding

A home wedding is lovely, but weather becomes an important issue.

This wedding was a brunch wedding at a home in Kingston Ga.

A second option people choose for a wedding venue is a convenient one…their own home or the home of a parent or relative. While this certainly relieves the stress of competition with other couples for a venue, it can produce its own unique challenges.

Most people want to have a home wedding for one of three reasons 1) sentimentality and 2) cost reduction and 3) space.

Sentimental reasons are perfectly understandable. The thing to realize, though, is that feeling doesn’t mean the space will be conducive for events. Some homes are beautiful until you get 200 people in them. Then it becomes a challenge to move, serve food etc. Some questions to ask are: Is it the time of year where you can spread the party outside? What happens if it rains? Are there several bathrooms? Is the kitchen a workable area for caterers or others to set up food trays? Can it be blocked off from guests? Can some furniture be moved out of rooms to allow for more space?

Once you can answer these questions, you can sensibly start planning your wedding at home.

The second reason, cost, really isn’t a valid reason for a home wedding. Typically, home weddings end up costing more than one at a venue. Surprising, but true. The reason is because there are many details associated with a home wedding most brides don’t think of when they make that decision.

I think of the movie “Father of the Bride” when I think about home weddings. When the idea is first mentioned, Steve Martin envisions a picnic barbecue…easy..affordable. It ends up with walls being busted out, swans in the tub and people practically bursting out of the house.

Most home weddings require a tent for added party space or for weather. Tents for a typical wedding of 100 generally run around $6,000 with a lighting package. Adding sides can cost up to $1,000 more.

A home wedding also requires a lot of upkeep maintenance prior to the event. That means updating the electrical to allow for extra lighting, a band, ceremony microphones. You may need more outside lighting, particularly around walkways so people can see to come and go. You will have to smooth out paths, perhaps put in stones or bricks so ladies don’t sink in dirt or grass to get to the ceremony or reception area. Most of those having a home wedding paint their house to freshen it up for guests. You may have to clear out a garage, repaint it, fix any problems to put a reception, or part of a reception in there. Grass upkeep is essential, which may require about six months of a lawn crew maintaining it. The homeowner probably would also want to update garden areas so any flowers blooming at the time of the wedding provide for a beautiful backdrop for pictures.

Many of these things require professionals. Some, as in the case of electricity upgrades, would also require city permits as well as a licensed electrician. Any significant build-ons, like a garage or a poolhouse, would also require city permitting.

Space could be a great reason to have a wedding at home, depending on the space required.

I had a co-worker who had their reception at his father’s farm. The tent was put out in a field. It was lovely. The reason for this move: they figured they would have plenty of parking for their 200-plus guests.

Again, this can present other challenges. In the case of a field, electrical is a huge challenge. Plumbing and bathrooms is another challenge. This couple resolved both, but since I was a guest and it was before we started our business, I didn’t ask how.

One difficulty with any home wedding is parking. Most neighborhoods are not created to accommodate large parties. Sadly, that is one dilemma most people planning a home wedding forget about. However, it can be remedied.

First, you need to talk to neighbors about their feelings of parking in front of their homes. You need to do this in the initial planning stages so you have time to look into other options if some are not open to it.

Second, look for vacant lots or cul-de-sacs without any homes. Could they be used? Perhaps, if you contact the property owner.

Third, you probably would have to get a city permit. Most cities have special event permits for these type of things. Most have a limit on how many times a year a property can be used for these type of events, but for most, that wouldn’t be a problem. Also, cluing the city in will offset any problems in case someone in a nearby area calls in a complaint the day of your wedding. Believe me, that does happen.

Be sure to include parking instructions with your invitations.

One of the best things you can do, in my opinion, depending on the property, is to hire a valet service. This ensures that cars are parked only in designated areas. Even if it’s in a field, hire some professional parking attendants to guide people. Otherwise, some will be blocked in when they want to leave.

Hiring licensed and insured professionals for parking will allow alleviate any insurance problems should a car be dinged or somehow damaged while parking for an event. You don’t want your cousins to be responsible for such things.

Melody Dareing

Event Coordinator, Dareing Events Catering






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