Are you thinking about getting married at home? Does one of your family members or close friends have the most gorgeous garden that would be perfect for a wedding ceremony? Planning a wedding celebration at a private property can be incredibly special and personal, and may seem even more appealing given the times we are currently living in! We’ve planned several events at private properties throughout the last few years, and there are definitely lots of moving parts to organize and many things to consider no matter what size your guest list may be! Here are some of the most important items to think about up front when planning a gathering at home…
1: Venue Essentials // First & foremost, remember that you are essentially creating a fully functioning “venue” where one does not currently exist. This means that you will need to have a plan in place for amenities that a normal venue would naturally have such as:
— Ample restrooms & sinks for guests to use
— Power that can support use by multiple vendors (ie bands, DJ’s, lighting, etc)
— Access to water (for catering and beverage service to use)
2: Tents // A tent is always an absolute must! We love outdoor weddings so much, but having a tent available is crucial for many reasons. If it’s a perfect summer day, a tent will provide some much needed shade, and if the weather is not cooperating, a tent can totally save the day. Tents can also be really beautiful showpieces to set the tone for the entire wedding (sailcloth anyone?)! Keep in mind that installing a tent takes a lot of manpower and equipment- your yard will get a little beat up during the process (not to mention all of the foot traffic from guests)! Be prepared for this, and know that your grass will (hopefully) bounce back quickly!
3: Lighting // Before the event day, take a look around the property after the sun sets and note areas that may be especially dark. You can’t put a price on good lighting to illuminate areas that could be a potential hazard for guests, such as staircases, fences or slopes in the landscape. Pay extra attention to the path to and from the restrooms and entrance/exit areas, these spots will need to be well lit too!
4: Parking // Whether you live far out in the country or in a more residential area, make sure you have a solid plan for guest parking in place. In more remote areas, parking may be easier, but guests may need to make a farther walk to the event site. In this case, perhaps consider some sort of golf cart shuttle for guests who may need assistance! *A golf cart or ATV is also VERY much appreciated by vendors who may need to haul equipment over a large area*
In more residential areas, you will definitely want to reach out to your neighbors to alert them that there will be more traffic than normal. If street parking is not an option, you may want to consider shuttling guests to and from the event or hiring a valet service that can rent a parking lot near by.
5: Guest Control // Define areas on the property that you do and do not want guests to be. For example, is it ok for guests to go into the house? If you have a pool on your property, do you mind if guests take a dip in the water? Setting boundaries in advance of guest arrival will help avoid awkward situations throughout the evening!
6: Timing // Have a set end time. When events are taking place on a private property, it’s easy to let the party keep going late into the night (or morning?!). However, vendors will need a defined end time in order to properly plan their services, and guests also like to have a schedule in mind so they know if/when they are overstaying their welcome. You’ll also want to check with your city regarding noise ordinances. Often, amplified music needs to be turned off by a specific time!
7: Budget // While in theory hosting a “backyard” wedding sounds like you can save some serious cash with the cost of many wedding venues these days. However, there are many additional items that can add up quickly. Keep in mind you will have to budget out a large portion to rentals, outdoor maintenance prep at the property, mosquito spraying (hello Minnesota summers), city permits etc. Try to think through all of these items before making a final decision, so there are no “surprises” along the way!
Getting married at home can be one of the most special moments of your life if planned out meticulously in advance. Creating and celebrating your marriage in your own backyard (or family members backyard) will create some of your most treasured memories every time you step back into it. We hope these tips gave you some items to think about when planning a wedding at home!
Photos by: GENEOH