Are you thinking about hosting an at-home wedding? Do you feel that a private home offers the idyllic setting for your big day? Maybe you are looking for the flexibility that hosting your wedding at-home will provide. Or you are excited to continue to make amazing memories at this home. If so, Janice is your gal. Or, more accurately, this blog series by Janice of Bellwether Events is your ticket to a successful at-home wedding!
On the second Tuesday of each month Janice is going to be here on United With Love sharing the experience and knowledge that she has learned while planning at-home weddings in the DC area for the past 15 years. We hope you will stop by and take advantage of the tips and tricks she has lined up to share with you. Now, onto the wedding planning! Take it away, Janice!
The first steps of planning a wedding, whether at-home or not, is to set your wedding budget and get a good grip on your wedding guest list. These two very important details will help determine whether an at-home wedding is right for you. You must establish if your home or property is large enough, and if your budget meets demands of an at-home wedding.
Do you have the space?
A standard 60’x40’ wedding tent can accommodate 120 guests with a dance floor and band or 160 guests with a dance floor and DJ. Tents need at least a 10’ perimeter around them for the stakes or weights and guy lines. How do you figure out if your yard is big enough? You could use a 125’ tape measure (I own 2, if you want to borrow one) or you can request that a wedding tent rental company come do a survey for you. Don’t overlook paved or hardscaped areas of the home – this is a great spot to place a tent if you want to avoid the expense of installing a floor (more on that in the coming weeks).
There is even more to consider when it comes to assessing the home and backyard. Do you have the space for the caterer to prep and serve your meal? Will the bathroom trailer also fit? Where will your wedding vendors store their gear and eat a meal? And a big one: where will everyone park? Even if you bus all your guests to your wedding, your vendors will still need to park on site, and this could be dozens of vehicles.
Do you have the budget?
At-home weddings are likely the most expensive type of weddings to host. Amenities such as a roof over your head, bathrooms, electricity, and climate control are taken for granted when you rent a hotel ballroom or special event venue. You will have to arrange for, and thus pay for, all of these items for your at-home wedding.
And if you end up having to enact your weather contingencies (i.e. go with Plan B due to less than perfect weather), the costs will rise even further, and likely at the last minute, which is not fun at all.
Certainly, you can have an economical at-home wedding. But you can also have an economical wedding at a suburban hotel, your favorite restaurant, a local park or a small art gallery – and avoid the extensive amount of additional time you will spend overseeing the seemingly endless details that come with planning at at-home wedding.
In the coming months, I’m going to delve into a variety of topics, such as wedding tents, lighting inside and outside the tent, bathrooms and generators, floor plans, weather contingencies, and guest hospitality. I hope you will come back and check it out. For those of you in more of a wedding planning time crunch, and want to skip to the end of the story, you can visit my website to download my free ebook, The Elegant At Home Wedding. Please feel free to leave a comment here if you have any questions about your at-home wedding!
For more tips and tricks while you wait for Janice’s next installment, check out our wedding planning tips and advice section. Also, don’t forget to gain inspiration and ideas from our DC area real weddings!