Being forced to use your dream wedding venue's favourite florist or DJ isn't the end of the world. But then add in corkage fees, curfews and several other increasingly standard restrictions, it isn't surprising that many engaged couples are returning home. Literally. Whether it hosting their nuptials in their own cramped garden or at a generous family member's home, the flexibility and affordability really is quite tempting. Plus, nothing is more sentimental than getting married in your family abode, a place that has played host to so many other memorable celebrations.
But there are definitely some aspects that need careful consideration before committing to such a big decision. While getting hitched at home can be the more affordable option, don't be fooled, done incorrectly it can most certainly add up. So to assist you in making the decision on whether an at home wedding is for you, here are the things you must nail:
Rigorous space assessment
Depending on the size of your home, you could potentially host the entire wedding in the garden or you might need to split it between your house and garden. Think about what will realistically work with the number of guests and whether there are specific areas you want to zone off for different elements of the day, such as the band or the buffet.
If you can't fit 100 people, please don't invite 100 folk and just hope for the best. You need to meticulously check what is possible and crucially, what isn't.
Whilst this might be a bit of a given, it's important your house is cleaned to a high standard prior to the event. Consider arranging a professional deep clean before and after the wedding to remove any additional stress this unglamorous task may create. Plus, if you are having guests in your home, you need to ensure it is not only sparkling but neat and tidy too. Put away any clutter or breakable items and think about moving unnecessary things upstairs so you have a blank canvas to paint your dream wedding upon.
Don't skimp on the practicals
Three very important elements you're going to need to sort: parking, toilet facilities and electricity. Luckily portaloos have come a long way from the stinking long drops at Glasto and you'll be surprised at how posh some of them can be.
Regarding electricity, you're going to need to hire a serious generator as a large amount of energy will be used throughout the day. Both of these elements need to be well researched money-wise too as this may turn your affordable at home wedding into something entirely beyond your budget. Finally, make sure you have an estimate of how many cars will need parking spaces and then organise accordingly. If your guests are going to be parking all the way along your road, you will also need to alert your neighbours of this. Plus it might be worth asking them if they don't mind you using their drive for the day, in exchange for some wedding cake of course.
Ah. The neighbours
Without a doubt your wedding will disrupt your neighbours' peace, so you'll need to do as much damage control as possible. Most neighbours will be understanding but drop round letters prior to the wedding day so they're aware, as they may decide they want to be away that weekend. Otherwise consider inviting them to the reception so they can be part of the fun. Some couples have even paid for a night's hotel stay for their neighbours just to ensure any drama was avoided on the big day.
Keep food and drink simple
Embrace the home vibe and go family style on your food offerings. Pop on a killer BBQ, get family members to contribute to an epic spread and try and make as much in advance as possible. With it being in your own home, you'll be able to save lots of money by bulk-buying your booze - an absolute winner for both you and your guests.
Set your ground rules
With the wedding taking place in your house, it's likely people will assume that they can pop round whenever and also potentially stay the night. So politely make it known when exactly people can start to arrive from and ensure you keep the number of people staying to a minimum. The last thing you want to be doing is waiting in a shower queue on the morning of your wedding!
Have suppliers do house visits
If you're hiring something that needs a large lorry to deliver or a specific amount of space, you really need to have your suppliers visit your home. This will flag up any issues such as access early doors, so you can ensure there are no mishaps on the day.
If you've already hosted a wedding at home, I'd love to know how it went and any advice you'd give to brides planning on doing the same. Tweet me at @robin_weil
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