Planning a Wedding at Home
Home really is where the heart is, and it’s quickly becoming a popular choice for couples to get married at home. Exchanging lifelong vows in a setting that evokes so many childhood memories and has such a sentimental value is a dream for many couples. I have worked with many couples to plan their nuptials in their own grounds, or within their childhood home. So I’d love to share a few of my tips with you in how to host your wedding at home.
Using your home as the venue for your wedding can provide you with a whole host of benefits in comparison to booking an existing wedding venue. However, there are many additional logistical topics to consider before making that final decision.
Be realistic with your budget
Hosting your wedding at home will invariably cost more than hiring an established wedding venue. You are essentially creating an entire venue, which hasn’t been designed to host 100+ guests, so there are lots of elements to consider. Keep this in mind throughout your wedding planning journey, and be realistic with your budget planning from the offset. You’ll need to hire in the majority of items for your wedding, unless you’re lucky enough to have a store of useful items! This includes things such as dining tables, chairs, lounge furniture, crockery, cutlery, glassware, linens, lighting, and a bar. Your marquee and catering companies will more than likely be able to help you with these. Some may only hold basic furniture options though, so it’s worth considering alternative hire companies should you prefer a different style.
Blueprint your space
Really consider how much space you have available to you within your home and grounds. Is it all useable space, and practical for what you need it for? Plan carefully how you will use each setting throughout the day or weekend, if you’re planning a longer celebration. And why not? One of the benefits of hosting a wedding at home is that you can elongate your plans to allow for additional smaller celebrations in the lead up to your wedding, and afterwards too!
Ideally the Ceremony, Reception and Dinner will each take place in a different setting, to alleviate the stress of having to turn it around after each part of the day. It’s also really lovely to keep a continuous flow to the celebrations; leading guests through a journey. Offering different locations, views and experiences throughout the wedding is a great way to keep your guests entertained and excited.
Consider your locations
If you’re having a tented dinner, consider where the best location for the marquee would be. Think about where it is in relation to your Ceremony location for practicality. But also think where would be the best site for the tent based on your garden style and views. Could you design the marquee around some beautiful features in your garden? Perhaps you have some incredibly elegant trees, a rose garden, or a water feature that would work really well inside the tent. your garden features into the marquee too. These work as a perfect focal point in a marquee, and makes them much more interesting than having just a blank canvas. This really pairs with my love of bringing the outside in, and establishes that real connection with getting married at home.
Consider the time of year, and what will be in full bloom at the time of your wedding. One of my clients weddings at home had the most beautiful wisteria set below the Terrace, which we built the marquee around. The wedding was timed to take place in the Spring whilst it was in full bloom, which looked just incredible and created the most dramatic backdrop.
This gorgeous Geodome structure was part of the existing garden design for a clients wedding, which lent itself perfectly to the Ceremony. We even had time to have it licensed by the local Council for a Civil Ceremony.
Photography: White Stag Photography
Whilst thinking about your layout, also consider access points for suppliers, and particularly for the marquee build. Is your gate access wide enough? Is the land stable enough to carry the weight of a marquee lorry? Can catering vehicles park easily close to where they’ll be cooking? One huge benefit of hosting your wedding at home is that you’ll have plenty of time available in the lead up for the marquee build. The infrastructure for a marquee can be a long process, depending on the design and logistics. Having that flexible timeframe can allow for more complex marquee builds.
Consider power, lighting and water supply
There’s no party without power! This is a major consideration, particularly if you’re planning a larger scale wedding. Remember you’ll need sufficient electricity to power the catering equipment, lighting, and sound equipment for the band and DJ. The last thing you want is for the power to cut out when the band are in full swing! Make sure you hire a generator with enough power to cater for everybody, and think about where the best place for it to be situated is. It should be hidden from view but near enough to run the cables to.
The caterers and florist will also need a water supply nearby, so ensure that’s readily available for them. A good marquee company will offer a site visit to come and assess the site, as well as identify any potential issues with power or water supply.
Lighting is another vital element to consider with your design. You’ll need essential lighting for the catering tent, car parking areas, and to lead guests back to their cars or to taxis at the end of the night. You should also consider lighting to highlight any particularly beautiful trees, or to uplight your house after dark. You’ll almost certainly require lighting to enhance your floral designs inside the marquee, as well as some movement in the lighting for dancing well into the night!
Have a wet weather plan
I know it’s not something you want to think about for your wedding day, but it is important to have a rain plan for the day. If guests will need to walk between areas that aren’t covered, it’s a good idea to have some umbrellas available for them to use. They make for great photos too if you tie them in with the style of the rest of your wedding! Consider asking the marquee company to install pathways between the different areas. Having these in place will create a good link between the various spaces. It will also be practical to prevent your guests from slipping over if it’s a little wet. And saves your lawn from being aerated by stilettos! Remember to add lighting to these pathways if they aren’t lit areas already.
Think of your neighbours
Do you have neighbours in close proximity to your land or property? It’s polite to inform them that you’re planning to host your wedding celebrations. If they’re not invited, give them an idea of timings for the day, and when they can expect for the event to end. It’s always better to overestimate on the time, and then finish a little earlier to avoid any complaints or upsetting anybody. A bottle or two of wine might help too!
For a clients wedding at home, we built a beautiful Bell Tent Village for guests to stay overnight. It was a mini village, with wood fired hot tubs and fire pits for them to enjoy over the weekend.
If your neighbours are particularly friendly, they may have additional space which you could use for parking if they’re willing.
Photography: Michelle Wiggett Photography
Of course there are many more elements to consider when planning your wedding at home. Hopefully these help to get you off to a good start with your plans. They should allow you to have a good understanding of the logistics and costs to consider. Some of my favourite weddings I have planned over the last few years have been at clients or childhood homes. I would highly recommend considering it if it’s an option for you. The benefits that it brings are hugely worth the extra research and work required. As long as you have a brilliant team of suppliers to support you, it will be the best decision you made!
Planning a wedding at home?
Would you love to host your wedding at home, but feel completely overwhelmed with the prospect of going through the planning on your own? I have a wealth of experience in planning weddings within private residences. They really have been some of my absolute favourites! If you are thinking of planning your wedding at home, it would be wise to work with an expert Wedding Planner to guide you through the process and bring your plans to life.
Let’s chat about your home, your wedding plans, and how I can turn your English Garden wedding dreamy into reality.