How to Plan a Wedding at Home

Find out everything you need to know about planning a wedding at home with this comprehensive guide.

By Anni Irish

Wedding at Home
Photo by Shutterstock

There are a lot of benefits to having a wedding at home. Aside from the flexibility of doing your wedding ceremony at home, you can also save a lot of money in the process. You won’t have to worry about a security deposit for the venue, per person fees, and the other hidden costs that can sometimes add up.

Another great advantage is that you can choose any date you want. Because your wedding isn't tied to a venue, this frees you up to have your big day whenever your heart desires.

Having your wedding in your backyard isn’t all fun and games though. It takes careful planning to do it just right. Here’s what you need to know:

Things to Consider When Planning an At-Home Wedding

One major thing to keep in mind is that you’ll have to source all of the wedding materials that normally come with a venue—chair rentals, linens, sound equipment, the dance floor, dining utensils, and other items. Depending on the size of the house and the number of bathrooms it has, you may even need to rent portable toilets to accommodate your wedding guests at the reception.

When planning your DIY house wedding, consider your guest list. Unless you have acres and acres of land to spread out on, consider the size of your space as you’re making your guest list. Although you may be tempted to go all out and have a huge party, remember: You still have to consider the logistics of getting everything organized. This is where having a slightly smaller and more relaxed wedding at home can help reduce stress.

Here is a breakdown of some of the other major items you'll need to consider when putting together your at-home wedding:

  • Power
  • Parking
  • Signage
  • Lights and extension cords
  • Sound Equipment
  • Chair, tables, linen rentals, and dining utensil rentals
  • Dance floor rental
  • Generator
  • Portable toilet rentals
  • Food and beverage catering
  • Ceremony and reception setup
  • Getting ready area
  • Decor
  • Insurance
  • Clean-up for before and after the big bash
  • Permits
  • Letting your neighbors know

Power

Electricity is going to be a huge factor to keep in mind. Between powering your lights, sound system, and food prep equipment, you’re going to need more power than most homes can offer. To not blow a fuse or have your whole block go dark, it's important to rent generators, so you have enough electricity to power what you need.

However, before going ahead and renting them, be sure to check in with your vendors to see how much power they’ll need, so you can plan accordingly. From there, contact a generator rental power company and be sure to relay this information to them, so they can advise you on the best one to get.

Wedding at Home Photo Credit // Shutterstock

Outdoor Maintenance and Landscaping

You'll want to have things as beautiful as you can make for your special day, so be sure to plan with the outdoor maintenance. This includes making sure the grass is mowed, the right spaces are cleared, the ground is level, and people can easily walk on it. Also, think about the flowers and plants around the space where your wedding will happen. Calling a professional landscaper to come to take care of any issues can help make the space as beautiful as it can be and will also be one less thing you have to worry about.

Permits

Based on the size of your party and the wedding vendors you're booking, you may need to get permits for noise, fire code purposes, zoning, and even health code regulations. Contact your local city or town officials to find out what’s needed to host a wedding in your backyard.

Neighbors

Letting your neighbors know in advance of your at-home wedding is essential. Give them ample time––think a few months in advance—and try to provide them with as much detail as possible in terms of your timeline for the event. Even giving them a small gift to show your appreciation is something that can help soften the blow when delivering the news.

Wedding Decor

Style is a big part of a home wedding. Remember that details matter, so focus on the things that are most important to you and your partner. Perhaps its small vases of flowers placed throughout the space with hanging lights around to set the scene.

Or, maybe you want a more formal affair with elaborately set tables and servers that bring food to the table versus a buffet. Lighting at your wedding is another thing to keep in mind, as it can add a dramatic flair to your at-home affair. Depending on the time of day and what your style is, consider string lights, Christmas lights, or even candles and lanterns. Because the wedding is happening at home, the color pallet can be whatever you want. Perhaps you’re inspired by flowers from the garden and you want to run with that idea. Or, if you're a bolder person, you can add bright colors to make your bouquet and other accents throughout the space pop. Don't be afraid to let your personality shine through.

Clean-up

Whatever the size of your wedding, you can expect a mess by the end of the night. Renting trash and recycle bins (or even a small dumpster) is a good idea, depending on the size of the party. To help lessen the overall mess, you may also consider asking the caterer if they can help empty bins and help with the cleaning process.

Wedding at HomePhoto Credit // Shutterstock

Have a Plan B

No matter how much you plan, there are always details you can't control––the weather, people running late, or something is out of stock. Whatever situation you may find yourself in when planning your at-home wedding, it's essential to have a plan B.

Consider renting an enclosed tent, so things can go on as planned—even in the event of rain. And if seasonality could affect the temperature, make sure there are fans or heaters to keep your wedding guests comfortable throughout the event.

An at-home wedding is a beautiful idea and can be anything you want it to be—as long as you plan accordingly. While it’s a lot to take on, it will surely be one of the most personal, intimate, and memorable weddings your guests have ever been to.

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