There’s no place like home! Everyone knows that, however, a wedding at your home is not necessarily a “do-it-yourself” (DIY) project and it is not always cheaper. Having a home wedding will present you with a whole new set of surprises; surprises because of the numerous details that are usually handled by a wedding coordinator at most wedding venues. At-home weddings are intimate, beautiful, but seldom ever easy.
HOT TIP: So, the first thing you need to do is to hire a wedding consultant to visit your home and help you make a list of all of the details and develop a timeline. Short of hiring a wedding consultant, if you have friends or family members “familiar” with the wedding process you may want to solicit their assistance, however, I don’t recommend it. If you do, delegate. I cannot stress this enough when planning a wedding.
If you have never planned an entire wedding, you need to know that if your are starting from scratch, it’s more involved than you can imagine. There are so many extra details involved with planning a backyard wedding at home that it can be overwhelming for anyone – but especially those who have a penchant for perfection. You can easily be overwhelmed with everything there is to do and sometimes brides don’t have a lot of time.
The words wedding and home don’t always go together, especially if you have a large guest list. Most home weddings in Arizona are outdoors. If you have an indoor wedding at your home you may need to drastically reduce your guest list. An intimate gathering of close friends and family will have less problems, but a larger guest list requires careful consideration so that your guests can be comfortable without invading your privacy. For indoor weddings, you need to consider:
• Bathroom facilities – Check Portable bathroom regulations
• Protection for valuables
• Available seating
• Floor space
• Furniture arrangement – You may need to move the furniture around to make room
• Protection for carpet
• Sections of the home that are off-limits
Many brides take on too much and end up depressed and even a little nutty once their wedding day has come around. You have to find ways to stay sane during wedding preparation or there is no way you can totally enjoy your big day as you should. Your top priority must be to keep the stress levels down and your relationship strong. The entire process can head to directly to “Stressville;” the solution? Hire a wedding consultant.
“At home weddings are not only sentimental, but can be logistically friendly when it comes to such things as choosing any wedding date the couple wants without worrying about their space being “hooked,” avoiding decor or photography restrictions, and potentially eliminating large food and beverage minimums found at most venues and resorts,” says Amina Michele of Some Like It Classic Wedding & Event Design.
What a home wedding most likely will do is this; you can pick your own date without having to worry about competing with any other event on a date the wedding venue already has booked. That is probably the biggest advantage. Most couples think that having a home wedding will save them lots of money. That may or may not be true. Although you will save whatever the wedding venue charges, the saving could soon disappear because of all of the other things you need to do that the venues usually include in their fee. Here are a few things you need to consider:
• Venue: FREE (backyard)
• Music: Disc Jockey, Musicians
• Wedding Officiant/Minister: Once you decide on a date, the first person to hire is the Wedding Officiant. Remember the good ones often book 6 months to 1 1/2 years in advance.
• Food, Catering, Champagne and d’oeuvres, etc. – Invite your caterer over before the big day so they can scope out your kitchen.
• Wine & Drinks
• Cake, Cupcakes & S’mores
• Table, Chair & Tent or Canopy rentals (make sure the price includes delivery, set-up and tear-down) for outside to transform the yard into the reception site area
• Centerpieces & Wedding Decorations
• Save The Dates/Invitations/Thank Yous (With Postage)
• Guest book
• Fabric For Tablecloths & Runners
• Lighting & Candles
• Flip Flops/Photo Clothesline/Welcome Sign
• Mosquito Sticks/Candles/Spray
• Bouquets for Bride and Bridesmaids
• Photo Booth – An extra, and worth it.
• Send animals to a friend or board for the day
• Cleaning crew to make the place spotless before the wedding
• Hire a cleaning service to come a day or two after the wedding to clean up
• Rent a Portable Outdoor Bathroom
• Check Noise Ordinances
• Parking Valet
• Wedding Insurance
• Check with the Police department about parking restrictions
• Check with your insurance carrier regarding your responsibility if you serve alcohol
• It is a courtesy to let your neighbors know that you’re hosting a big reception – better yet, invite them!
Use the above partial list to set your wedding day budget. With such a long to-do list for an at home wedding, you will need plenty of help. A wedding consultant can foresee many issues that you may not be aware of and help you prepare for them so there are no major surprises.
You may want to display several memory makers:
• Baby photos and old photos of the engaged couple
• Baby Memory Books
• Photos of the parents when younger
• Courtship keepsakes in a shadow box or set out
• Engagement Photographs
Can you take the wedding inside your home? Depending on the size of your house, you may have different options for a “rain date” (not necessarily an issue in Arizona). If it should rain, is your home large enough to accommodate all your guests, or would a back up tent be the better solution? A tent should be considered not only as an in-the-rain option, but also because it provides shade on a sunny day (especially necessary in Arizona). 😉 Make sure you have accommodations available, such as a tent or indoor facility, for possible inclement weather. Always have a “plan B.” With only 7.66 to 8.32 inches of rain per year, our area offers an ideal setting for outdoor weddings. The Greater Phoenix area has more than 325 days of annual sunshine.
To sum up home weddings, if your guest list is around 25 to 30, saving money by having a home wedding may be for you. You need plenty of room to say, “I do.” Depending on how elaborate the wedding is, a home wedding can be more costly and stressful than a wedding elsewhere. Larger home weddings could quickly eat up the savings you might get by avoiding the fee from a wedding venue and resort.
Photo Credit: Cake photo by Photography by K.E.S.
BONUS Article: Getting Married in Arizona? Here’s the Latest Scoop!
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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