How to: Host your wedding at home
There’s something undeniably charming about hosting a wedding at home. Often, brides use the backyard of a friend or family member to cut down costs while creating an event that is elegant and intimate. While hosting a wedding at a private property is tempting, there are plenty of extra aspects that go into planning a backyard wedding.
If you are thinking about hosting a wedding at home, here are 12 important things to consider.
In a perfect world, brides and grooms would only have to deal with the “fun” parts of wedding planning. But if you’re planning to host a wedding at a personal residence, you have to anticipate a lot of logistical issues you may not have had to otherwise. To ensure the safety and happiness of your guests (and yourselves), be sure to carefully consider every single scenario beforehand.
- Consider Parking (and Other Transportation Issues)
Although easily overlooked, this is perhaps one of the most important components when it comes to planning a backyard wedding. Professional venues often have large parking lots where plenty of guests can gather - personal residences, however, typically do not. There are plenty of homes with sprawling backyards that are unfortunately devoid of excess parking in the area.
Before committing to a backyard venue, consider whether or not there is realistically enough space for your friends and family to park their cars near the property. Even if there is, are taxis or public transportation able to easily access your property should guests find themselves too drunk to drive? If not, check out if there are any hotels or shuttle services in the area that can help you out with this aspect of planning.
- Provide Plenty of Bathrooms
Bathrooms are a key component when it comes to throwing any type of wedding - but this is especially true when it comes to hosting a wedding. While this will typically be determined by the number of guests you plan on inviting, you want to be sure to have facilities (and toiletries on-hand) that can accommodate a large influx of people.
While you may plan on relying on the bathrooms located inside of the property’s personal residence, ask yourself (or the homeowners) how many bathrooms you are really willing to give guests complete access to throughout the entirety of the event. To keep people from using your master bathroom in a pinch, consider renting portable toilets instead.
- Anticipate Accessibility Issues
Public venues are required to always be able to accommodate disabled or differently abled guests. When a wedding is held at a private property, however, this is an aspect that can easily be overlooked. Uneven terrain and un-paved walkways can pose an accessibility issue for older guests or guests who are confined to wheelchairs. Be sure to ask yourself - how easily will they be able to get to and from their car to the ceremony site.
Even if you aren’t planning on any elderly or disabled guests attending your wedding, accidents can easily happen on hazardous terrain. While it may not be fun to think about, consider what would happen if there was an accident on the property during your wedding day. Be sure to ask the property owners if they have an insurance policy in place just in case something unexpected takes place on their property.
- Be Respectful to Neighbors
Hosting a wedding at a private residence is an effortless idea in theory. After all, there’s something charming about dancing the night away at a big party with your friends - all in the comfort of your own backyard. With that said, if you have nearby neighbors you’ll have to consider how they’ll feel about the wedding as well.
Playing amplified music or hosting a loud social gathering that goes well into the night might not be ok with your neighbors. Depending on your neighborhood rules, it might not even be legal. Talk to your neighbors ahead of time to anticipate any issues they may have. Also, be sure to check your neighborhood guidelines. The last thing you want is the cops breaking up your reception when it is just getting started.
- Be Sure To Have a Plan B
Everyone dreams of a picturesque backyard wedding taking place in perfect weather. But everyone knows that Mother Nature tends to have a mind of her own. As with any outdoor wedding, be sure to have a backup plan in place in case of rain, sleet, or other less-than-ideal weather conditions.
Is moving your ceremony and reception indoors actually something that could happen should inclement weather occur? If the property or personal residence isn’t able to accommodate that number of guests, tents are a great way to ensure that people can remain covered during a light sprinkle of rain.
- Hire A Clean-Up Crew
Even small gatherings can lead to a huge amount of garbage and litter. Depending on your plans, you may want to hire a clean-up crew to ensure that the property looks pristine and all the rentals get returned to their vendors in one piece. After all, the last thing you want to do is spend the hours following your wedding playing clean-up.
Styling a wedding is one of the trickiest parts. There are so many options and color palettes to choose from - and whose to know which one is “better” than another? If you are planning on hosting an elegant wedding in your backyard, use these tips and tricks when it comes to creating the day you’ve always dreamed of having.
- Get Inspired Your Yard’s Unique Features
If your backyard is grand and charming enough to play host to a wedding, chances are there are uniquely beautiful design elements that set it apart. Maybe there is a barn on site, or maybe it backs up to a forest or a glittering lake. Perhaps it’s on the grounds of a home that has been in your family for generations.
No matter what it looks like, allow the property’s unique features to inspire your wedding day style. A pastoral setting will make a vintage-inspired or rustic-chic wedding even more elegant. Using subtle and sophisticated nautical elements will feel perfectly appropriate at a lake or beach house. Looking around and getting inspired by the scenery is an excellent first step when it comes to styling.
- Don’t Limit Yourself
When some people hear “backyard wedding,” they assume that they need to stick to a certain style of wedding. While backyard weddings are typically casual, low-key affairs, there’s no reason to limit the potential of your wedding day just because it’s taking place on someone’s personal property.
If you have always dreamed of a glamorous, over-the-top event, consider renting white tents that come complete with wooden dance floors and chandeliers. If you fall in love with a ballgown-style dress that makes you feel like a princess, don’t select something else that you think might better fit your venue. Your wedding certainly doesn’t have to be “simple” just because it’s in a backyard.
- Use the Grounds To Your Advantage
Use the natural elements of your venue to enhance the romance of your big day. An ordinary fire pit becomes a fun design element when surrounded by vintage furniture. Dreamy fairy lighting can turn ordinary trees into a towering woodland wonderland. Blooming flowers on the property are an elegant - and affordable way - to source your bridal bouquet. Using the elements that naturally occur on the grounds will make your backyard wedding even more unforgettable.
The Ceremony & Reception
Once all the planning is done and the styling is in place, it’s time to host a wedding and reception! Most people know exactly what to expect when attending a backyard wedding. With that said, it’s also important to keep everything running smoothly throughout the entire day. Here are a few easy ways to make sure everything goes perfectly on the day of your wedding.
- Make Sure Guests Know Where To Gather
The element of surprise is never a good thing when it comes to a wedding. Guests want to know exactly where they are (or aren’t) allowed to go when they attend a backyard wedding. Don’t be afraid to put up signage instructing guests where to gather. Designating certain areas for merriment is just as appropriate as roping off areas where the landowners would prefer guests not go.
- Don’t Let Anyone Go Hungry
If you aren’t a professional caterer, it can be difficult to know exactly how much food to have on-hand for a big wedding. When it comes to feeding your guests, it’s always best to err on the side of having too much food than too little. Be sure the on-site kitchen can accommodate the number of guests you are having. Or - if you’re planning on hiring a professional caterer - be sure there is plenty of room for them to set up.
Checking with your guests beforehand about dietary issues or allergies will also ensure that everyone can eat, drink, and be merry at your wedding. Don’t forget - drinking and dancing also makes people hungry. Consider serving a second “meal” or snacks during the late night hours of the reception to keep everyone happy and counteract the effects of endless alcohol.
- Plan A Picture-Perfect Exit
When the night is over and it’s time to go home, don’t leave without staging a picture-perfect exit. Talk to your photographer ahead of time or look online to see if there are any photo-ops that make you fall in love. Having friends and family gathered in one place means that a confetti or sparkler exit is totally do-able. It may take a bit of extra planning, but planning an excellent grand finale that will make your wedding day even more spectacular.