Planning Tips | 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. Having frequently worked with Brides and Grooms to plan nuptials in their own grounds, or within their childhood home, 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, but 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 should be able to help you with these, but there are also lots of alternative hire companies available should you like something with a different style.
BLUEPRINT YOUR SPACE
Really consider how much space you have to use within your home and grounds, and plan carefully how you will use those spaces throughout the day. Ideally the Ceremony, Reception and Dinner will each take place in a different setting, to alleviate the stress of turning it around after each part of the day. It’s also really lovely to keep a flow to the celebrations; leading guests through an experience of a different backdrops throughout the wedding. If you’re having a tented dinner, consider where the best location for the marquee would be, for the flow of the day, but also for the best views, and think about how you could incorporate your garden features into the marquee too. Do you have any beautiful trees, a wisteria, water features or seating areas which could feature as focal points inside the tent? Think about time of year too, and what will be in full bloom at the time of your wedding? One of my weddings at home had the most beautiful wisteria, which we built the marquee around, and the wedding took place whilst it was in full bloom, which looked incredible and created a dramatic backdrop. Do you have any existing structures which could be used for a part of the day? In the image below from a wedding in Kent earlier this year, this gorgeous Geodome structure was part of the existing garden design, which lent itself perfectly to the Ceremony, and we even had time to have it licensed by the local Council for a Civil Ceremony!
Whilst thinking about your layout, also consider access points for suppliers, and particularly for the marquee build. Is your gate access wide enough, and 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, and for all of the infrastructure to be put into place.
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, so 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 - 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, as well as lighting to highlight any particularly beautiful trees, or uplighting your house after dark. Think about adding lighting to enhance your floral designs, as well as some movement in the lighting for dancing 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’s 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 colour palette of the rest of your wedding! Consider asking the marquee company to install pathways between the different areas; this will create a nice link between the various spaces as well as being practical to prevent your guests from slipping over if it’s a little wet (and it 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!
If you have neighbours close by, 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 the wedding in the image below, we built a beautiful Bell Tent Village for guests to stay overnight, complete with wood fired hot tubs and fire pits for them to enjoy over the weekend.
If your neighbours are particularly friendly, they may also have additional space which you could use for guest or supplier parking if they’re willing.
Of course there are many more elements to consider when planning your wedding at home, but hopefully these help to get you off to a good start with your plans, and allow you to have a good understanding of the logistics and costs to consider. Some of my favourite weddings that I have planned over the last few years have been at clients or childhood homes, so 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, and as long as you have a brilliant team of vendors to support you, it will be the best decision you made!
Of course all of this is made much easier with a professional Wedding Planner by your side! I have a wealth of experience in planning weddings on private estates and at home. If you are thinking of planning your wedding at home, and would like some professional guidance to to help you through the process and bring your plans to life, discover more about my services here or get in touch to arrange an initial complimentary discovery call to see how I’m able to help.