A wedding is an occasion that we often love to indulge in. It’s a time where friends and family can come together and enjoy watching two people who love each other say their wedding vows and become a family. It’s a traditional event and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that can’t enjoy a great wedding ceremony.
There’s often a lot to think about when organising a wedding. The obvious things - like hair and makeup, the dress and the location - all come to mind. The location might be overseas, or perhaps it’s in a local town or suburb close to home. But what if you want to be really close to home and have the wedding in your backyard?
Many people turn their nose up at the idea for many reasons. Sometimes, there’s the idea that a backyard wedding is cheap or in bad taste, but the truth is, a wedding at home might just be the ideal wedding venue you’re looking for. Obviously, being at home can actually help your family and guests feel a little more comfortable as opposed to a public location such as a bar, club or park. If you’re thinking about having your wedding at home, there are a few things to consider to ensure the wedding goes off well and you can make the most out of your garden wedding.
Should I have a home wedding?
Because of the negative connotations associated with “backyard wedding”, usually the concept is named a “home wedding”, instead. If you’re trying to find an ideal location and your home has been considered, there are a few good reasons why a wedding at home might be the perfect option.
The first reason is the savings on venue costs. When looking for a venue, the cost of hiring one can sometimes be downright shocking. With that, a lot of venues will not allow you to bring your own food and drink and you’re limited in those choices because you must select from the options provided by the venue. As well as a lack of choice, you may find the cost of a venue’s food and drink is a little on the pricey side. With a home wedding, you’ll save on venue costs as well as food and drink. You can choose whatever food and drink you like and can even find deals on bulk purchases of drinks and alcohol, saving you a pretty penny.
Many people often feel more relaxed in a home setting. Whether it’s the family and guests, or the couple getting married, being at home can make people feel more comfortable and able to enjoy the day a lot more easily. It’s also a great way of having an intimate ceremony without offending people who don’t receive an invitation. Due to the limited space at home, you can choose the people you really want to attend and people won’t be upset if you explain you’re only having an intimate ceremony at home.
Who should be invited?
Because the backyard is often a small venue with limited space, the people you invite are often those who are more important to you. People such as immediate family and very close friends make the list and second cousins who you haven’t seen in 20 years are usually left out.
Of course, the amount of people you can invite largely depends on your own home and how much room you have. If you have a large room with various outdoor areas for people to relax, you may find that you have a little more room on your guest list to invite people. As a rough guide, 100 people can normally fit in an area of 40 square metres. Consider measuring the areas you have available for people to sit and relax, then work out how many people you should be able to cater for.
What food should I supply?
A caterer is the best option for feeding your friends and family on the day. Depending on the number of guests you end up inviting, your food and drink bill will vary greatly. As a general rule, home weddings usually have more casual food service, meaning you can choose casual food options and no-one will be upset about the choice in food.
Opting for finger food, platters or even a buffet dinner service can ultimately halve your food costs. Understanding what your budget is, and sticking with it, will help you choose what kind of food service you will have for your wedding. Choosing high-quality finger food, instead of a cheaper version of a plated meal, is always the best option and your guests will appreciate this option. A plated meal is often a difficult choice with a home wedding unless you have plenty of tables and seating for everyone to be seated at once. And if you’re looking to save more money on your food costs, a smaller guest list will help you achieve that.
What about the bathroom?
Most houses, depending of course on the size, will have one or two bathrooms. If you have up to 100 guests in the home (or more, depending on your guest list size), you will find people may be getting uncomfortable with full bladders thanks to the long wait to get into the toilet. As well as the size of the home, food and drink, you need to consider your amenities and consider hiring a port-a-loo if you might require it.
Depending on how many guests you have, it might not be necessary, but if you’re not really sure if your bathrooms are sufficient, it might be better to be safe than sorry and hire a portable toilet for the day.
Don’t forget to clean up
It’s amazing how many people forget to clean their home for the wedding. However, it’s also to be expected considering there’s so much to think about during the day. Make sure your home is neat and tidy with any valuables or precious items stored away to avoid damage.
If possible, consider hiring a cleaner for the morning, or the day before, as well as for after the party has finished. Trust us when we say that you definitely won’t feel like cleaning up after the wedding, no matter how much you think you’re going to save on cleaning costs. Instead, hire a cleaner for both before and after the wedding.
What about your pets?
Although it may seem like a nice idea to have family pets present at your wedding, the number of guests may make some of them feel a little anxious or scared. There’s also the potential for pets to misbehave.
Although your pets may be pretty well adapted to guests in the home, guests may be anxiety-producing. Instead of locking them up in a crate or a room, you might want to consider having them stay at a boarding kennel for a day or two while the celebrations are underway. They will be able to have a nice holiday and you won’t have to worry about your pets getting stepped, on or them eating anything they shouldn’t be.
Give the garden a make-over
If you’re going to be spending a decent amount of the day outside, you might want to consider giving your garden a make-over. You don’t need to spend a whole lot of money on a landscaper and getting a brand new-layout in place. Rather, you can work on your garden yourself to make it look neat and tidy for the big day.
Consider when you’re having the wedding and what season it will be. There may be some plants and flowers that will look spectacular for your photos, but only if they’re cared for and looked after leading up to the wedding day. However, your plants and flowers aren’t the only aspects of the garden to consider - don’t forget your lawns. You’ll be surprised how different your grass can look with a bit of feed and extra special care.
Simple things such as trimming back trees and shrubs, mowing the lawn and getting rid of weeds in the garden beds will make your garden look great. Using a variety of high-quality pots, jars and troughs to create statement pieces in your yard and add a touch of sophistication to the setting.
Don’t forget about clearing the yard of objects like tools and hoses. Keep the garden clear and if you have items like a compost bin, consider screening it off for the day to keep the garden and backyard looking neat and tidy (you probably don’t want any pictures of your compost bin).
If this is all a bit too much work, hiring a gardener to take care of a simple clean-up in the lead up to the wedding is another good option.
Think about photography
Just in the same way you’d be choosing a photographer for your wedding at a venue, the same principles apply when choosing a photographer for a home wedding. Ask any potential photographers for a portfolio or a website where you can see their previous work. It’s also ideal to ask them if they have any experience photographing home weddings, as the limited space and locations for a photo shoot can be daunting for some photographers.
Another option is to have a professional photo shoot for just you and your partner at another time before the wedding day. You can test out your photographer as well as get some great shots of you and your partner.
Some people also give their friends and guests their own disposable cameras and polaroids to take photos throughout the day. The cameras and photos are then handed back to the couple at the end of the day to be developed. This idea makes the whole day a little more relaxed and helps the married couple to see some photos from the perspective of their guests.
Tips for the weather
Even though the wedding is at home, it’s still important to consider what will happen in the event of bad weather. You may have a stunning and large back yard, but what if it storms? Unless you have a covered outdoor area that is safe from wet weather, you may want to consider the space you have if everyone must be inside. This may also affect how you select your guest list. If there is bad weather on the day and you haven’t considered indoor arrangements, you might find that you have a totally cramped day with everyone inside, which is going to be very uncomfortable.
Consider hiring marquees for your outside area in the event of rain or bad weather if you don’t have room inside the home. However, this option will depend on how much yard space you have and your budget.
You may also want to talk to your caterer about bad weather. If your caterer is going to be set up outside, you may need to prepare food in your kitchen and dining areas instead.
Give the neighbours a heads-up
Just like any other party, it’s always polite to let your neighbours know that you will be having a wedding at home. Let them know the date of the wedding and what time you’re expecting guests to be arriving and leaving. You may also want to discuss plans for parking if there’s limited street parking for your guests, ensuring all of your neighbours are satisfied with your plans. The last thing you want are neighbours banging on your front door to demand you turn music down or complaints to the local police station about your noise or street congestion.
If you have a particularly troublesome neighbour, try to work out an agreement where you’re both happy. Most neighbours should be pretty agreeable, especially for a wedding (and considering it is usually only one day), but have a chat with neighbours and go over any concerns they may have ahead of time.
Consider arrival times
Because the wedding is held at your home, some of your guests might think there’s no problem in arriving earlier than the time stated on the invitation (after all, they’re just visiting you at home). Depending on the guests, this may be problematic or embarrassing, especially if you’re still setting up the home or getting dressed.
Bear in mind that some guests are going to ignore the time you state on your invitation, no matter what you tell them. Think about ways you can entertain early arrivals - a place in the home such as the back yard, the dining area or lounge might be ideal. You may have some snacks for them to eat whilst they wait or if you want, you can always get them to do some work and help you with your last minute planning and decorating!
How can I make my home wedding a success?
You don’t need thousands of dollars to make your home wedding a success. You also don’t need fancy wines and expensive meals and a brand new landscaped yard. The success of your wedding lies upon you and your attitude. If you’re enjoying yourself and feeling happy and casual about the whole day, your guests are likely to feel the same way. By making things casual and simple, you’ll be able to have a happier day that all of your guests can enjoy.
If there happens to be bad weather or other unplanned circumstances, if you have a plan to deal with it, you’ll find that the day will be a wonderful experience, for you, your partner and all of your guests.
A home wedding can be more casual, but it doesn’t have to be lacking in anything that might be available at a venue wedding. It’s a great way to save costs and is a perfect idea for those who hold sentimental value at their home. It’s also a great way to make guests feel more comfortable. With a little bit of careful planning and knowing what to do if unplanned circumstances arise, you’ll be able to have the perfect home wedding you’ve always dreamed of.