My cousin is getting married Labor Day weekend. She is planning to have her reception in her parents back yard. Since I have been helping them I thought you too would like to know the ins and outs of having an 'At Home' Wedding.
So here are some things you should think about and plan for:
-Do you want your ceremony and the reception at home? think of logistics and space before deciding.
-What does your backyard space look like? Do you have a large enough flat area for tables and a tent? do you need to use a side yard or inside space as well?
-Do you have adequate kitchen space or a garage the caterer can use to prepare the food?
-Think about the caterer you will hire - make sure they are experts and have worked home weddings before.
-Always rent a tent, you might need it to shield the rain or the bright sun - think of getting a clear tent so your guests can enjoy the stars as they dance the night away.
-Talk your rental company about tent placement and space layout - don't forget to tell them about underground sprinkler systems or other pipes and cables they should be worried about.
-What will you do about guests cars and parking? Think about offering valet service or offering a shuttle bus from the church or hotels.
-Do you want a band or a DJ? Check your areas noise ordinances and make sure to invite the neighbors!
-Are there easily accessible bathrooms? Make sure you have an attendant taking care of keeping them neat and stocked with guests towels and toilet paper.
-Consider having 'bathroom' signs made to hang from the doors and 'private' signs on the bedroom doors.
-Do have enough inside space in case of rain? What is your contingency plan? Make sure you have rented the sides for the tent and or have an alternative location on hold if you should need it. If you plan to have this sort of Plan B think about having a phone # guests can call day of to find out final location.
-Consider hiring a landscape consultant - you could plant flowers months in advance and this could save you money on cut flowers. Use potted plants. Take advantage of your homes environment.
-Definitely have a professional cleaning service come and clean before and after the wedding.
-Pack away nick nacks and other valuables(especially jewelry) but keep family photos out for more sentimental decor.
-Do use special family items for the wedding -special serving platters, vases and/or pitchers.
-Depending on the time of day you need to consider lighting. Definitely uplight the tent and use lots of candles.
-Bugs - Spray your yard with a bug deterrent weeks in advance (contact a landscaper) and put Off or Skin so soft sprays in the bathrooms for your guests to use.
-Consider your liability; contact your home insurance for a rider on your policy or www.wedsafe.com for some extra insurance.
-Hire plenty of help; you are going to need it.
And lastly even though this is your home don't forget a grand entrance and a send off. Some people forget this because its their home but guests need to know where to enter the home, like to see you introduced into the party and a grand send off announces the weddings end and they should go home.