Choosing to have a home wedding has a lot of perks. For starters, you have tons of flexibility and you are able to say “I Do” at a place close to your heart! While there are a lot of positives to an “at home” wedding there are some unique challenges as well. Below are some tips to make this process as smooth as possible.
Hire a logistics expert: Before you get too far with the wedding planning, hire a coordinator. Getting married at home comes with a lot of curve balls and you need an event logistic expert by your side helping you navigate them. A coordinator will be worth their weight in gold as they help you design a layout that functions and flows. They can also identify any logistical challenges ahead of time, so things are smooth day-of. Lastly, set-up for an “at-home” wedding is quite extensive. Hire a team who can take care of those details, so you and your family can enjoy the day. Your Perfect Bridesmaid is our go-to choice for day-of coordination.
Budget for rentals: Many folks initially choose to get married at home to save money. This often ends up not the case, as everything has to be rented and brought in. One expense often over-looked is the cost of rentals. Before you get too far down the road, get a quote for tents (you need a plan B), dance floor, tables, chairs, linens, catering rentals etc. You want to avoid surprise expenses and make sure you can afford getting married at home. We love the team over at Party Place.
Devise a plan for parking or shuttle transportation: You are going to need space for an organized parking lot of sorts. Make sure the cars are able to stay organized for easy entry and exit. We recommend mapping off the parking stalls and having a parking attendant to help guests. When planning the location be sure it is a place that is well lit and be sure the cars wont be in pictures. If such a space doesn’t exist, plan on a central meeting location and shuttle guests in. We have found that the most affordable shuttle bus option is First Student. Yes – the school buses. They are a great company to use, and while not fancy, they are an affordable way to haul a bunch of people.
Check out power capabilities and limitations: Having your wedding at home is going to require a lot of power. You will need power for catering, your dj, tent lighting, catering staff, toilet trailers etc. You do not want your tent lighting or your dance music suddenly turning off. Check out how much power each breaker can provide and devise a plan to split the power demands across multiple circuits.
Be sure to plan space for a catering “back of house”. Your catering crew will need a place to prep and bus from. Usually a 20×20 space is sufficient. Once you hire a caterer, have them out to see the property and devise a plan.
Speaking of catering, choose your caterer wisely! When you are getting married at home, the property is much more spread out then a normal wedding venue. You need a top notch catering crew who can successfully handle the logistics. When interviewing caterers, ask them how experienced they are at cooking onsite and working at private residences. You do not know your wedding to be their training ground. Some awesome, very experienced caterers are: Premiere Catering, Pearl Catering, and Reedville Catering
Increase your insurance! You are going to have a lot of folks on your property for the wedding, and there is an increased chance something can go wrong. I advise talking with your home owners and getting a one day event rider to your home-owners insurance policy. Additionally, I recommend getting event insurance to cover the added liability if you are going to be serving alcohol at the event. You want to make sure you CYA every step of the way.
Book the nice potties: Unless you are having a very small wedding, you are going to want to bring in extra toilets. I recommend splurging on the nice wedding toilet trailers. They are air conditioned, have a hand washing sink in them, and are generally nicer than most of the restrooms we have in our homes. Two great companies here in the Portland area are: Privy Chambers and Royal Throne.
While we absolutely love at-home weddings, they are much more involved. We hope this article helps guide you in the right direction towards a wonderful day!
Featured Image Photography Credit: Katy Weaver Photography