Wedding Planning

Holding your wedding at your home or your parents’ home can be an amazing experience. You’re starting a new life in a place you’ve experienced other milestones and incredible times. Backyard weddings are especially great for brides looking for an intimate gathering. Without proper planning, though, it can cause even more anxiety on top of the normal stress of wedding planning. Here are some tips for how to host an at-home wedding:

  • Start grooming your lawn now. The earlier you can get weeds pulled, flowers planted, and sod down, the better.
  • Check for any permits needed. Most cities require at least one permit to host a gathering taking up tons of parking that will have music and laughter going until the wee hours.
  • Have a backup plan for the ceremony. If it starts to rain or the wind is too gusty, have an area inside the house that’s ready to hold your guests.
  • You’ll have to rent more items than you would at other venues. Tables, chairs, plates, bowls, silverware, glassware, linens, an altar, a sound system, lighting, a dance floor, and a generator are all necessary rentals for a backyard wedding.
  • Have a tent set up for the reception. If it’s a hot day, your guests may need some reprieve from the sun. If it’s raining, a tent will keep you dry. You never know what the weather has in store until the day of the wedding, so you have to be prepared.
  • Don’t rid yourself of all vendors. An at-home wedding is a great way to save money, but if you’re trying to DIY most things, you must still hire a caterer and photographer. Do not entrust these huge responsibilities to amateurs. Trust me, it’s money well spent.
  • Vendors should visit your home in advance. Each vendor requires different amenities (for example, caterers need fridge and kitchen space), so invite them to check out the ceremony location so they’ll know in advance if they have to bring anything extra.
  • You’ll have to rent port-o-potties. Unless your event is going to be held at a mansion with multiple bathrooms, you have to account for the number of guests that will be flushing the toilet, and one can only handle so much. Have one toilet available for every 25 guests. Gussy them up with amenity baskets of hand towels, mints, air fresheners, combs, and body spray.
  • Rearrange your furniture. Right now, your home is probably not set up to accommodate a party, so move indoor and outdoor furniture out of the way and make large open spaces where people can gather and your vendors have room to maneuver.
  • Hire a housekeeper the last couple of weeks before the wedding. Don’t try to clean the house yourself! You’ll have so much going on that cleaning will be an added area of stress that you really won’t have time for. The cost of a housekeeper for this is worth every penny.
  • Don’t forget about your pets. If your dog or cat gets anxious around a big group, you may want to consider boarding them at a daycare for the night. If you’re keeping your dog around to be a part of the day, make sure you have someone in charge of picking up after them!
  • Rent a block of rooms at a nearby hotel. Don’t forego this just because you’re getting married at home…otherwise, drunk guests may try to stay the night! Block some rooms as you would for any other venue and create a sign urging your guests to take an Uber when they leave so they don’t drink and drive.
  • Let your neighbors know. You don’t have to invite them if you aren’t close with them, but you should let them know in advance to expect some noise. A small gift such as a bottle of wine isn’t necessary but will likely make them more easygoing about it.
  • Enlist help. Backyard weddings tend to have a lot of DIY elements. DO NOT try to do everything yourself. You’ll tear your hair out. Your bridesmaids and parents are there to help you, so let them!
  • Don’t assume an at-home wedding has to be any less glamorous than any other wedding. Your decor should still be cohesive and can be just as nice as any other wedding. The details are what will set your wedding apart: string lights inside the tent, elegant beverage containers holding your signature drink, personalized favors and decor, food labels for each dish, and a food truck that stops by for a late night snack are small ways to show that a backyard wedding can be the chicest and most personal of them all.

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