A home wedding is a perfect budget-saver. At the same time, you get to exchange vows in a place that is meaningful for both of you.
If you or your parents live by the lakeside, the beach or in a cottage by the mountains, you can turn your home into a breathtaking destination wedding without going on a trip.
Yet, even a backyard wedding can be beautiful and magical as long as all preparations have been made for the big day. In order to be a success, here are some things to consider:
The space. Face it! Your home isn’t really the place to hold a big wedding unless you live in a mansion. A home wedding is meant to be a celebration shared by the couple's most intimate relatives and friends.
The ideal number of guests would depend on the size of your lawn or backyard. It’s best to allow enough space in between tables and chairs so your guests can freely move around.
Don’t include your indoor space as part of your “available space” for more guests unless you’re 100% sure of the weather. Remember, if the weather turns bad, you should have enough room inside the house to accommodate everyone outside and get on with the celebration.
Yes, you may put up a tent on a very hot weather or just in case it drizzles. However, if it’s a rainy season and heavy rains can pour at any time, a tent may not be enough to keep everyone dry.
Coordinate with your wedding officiant. Some wedding officiants do not perform wedding ceremonies outside a place of worship, so you want to make sure that you can find a licensed officiant who is willing to officiate an outdoor wedding or a home wedding.
Designate tasks. Since it’s going to be a wedding at home, everyone in the family should get involved with the tasks. You want to make sure that there would be people assigned for cleaning up the place, decorating the place, serving food, organizing the ceremony and the reception, etc.
Remember, cleaning up the whole place the day before the wedding is an enormous task and you will need all the help you can get. You may want to consider hiring a clean-up service for this particular job after the wedding when everyone would be too tired to lend a hand.
Who will do the catering? For a home wedding with only a small number of guests, doing your own cooking may be a practical, budget-saving, and sumptuous option. If your mom is a wonderful cook, this is her time to shine.
However, you need to make sure that there will be enough helping hand in the kitchen. Consider serving dishes and desserts that can be prepared a day or even a week in advance, refrigerated and then re-heated on the day of the wedding.
For us, we were lucky enough that my husband’s brother-in-law is an excellent and wonderful cook so we were able to serve our guests with delicious home-cooked dishes. Everyone in our wedding was talking about how they love the food so much even after our wedding day. With a Filipino wedding, the food served on the banquet can really make the occasion even more special than it already is!
If you want to invite more guests, you may want to hire a catering service. Call up different caterers as early as possible so you can compare costs. Never forget the importance of “tasting” to make sure that you’ll get a really good value for your money.
Buffet-style reception. A buffet-style reception is best because you don’t need to designate servers. Make sure that there are at least 2 or 3 buffet tables so guests need not wait in line for food. Set-up 2 or 3 tables for beverages so guests can freely help themselves whenever they need a drink.
Breakfast wedding, brunch or an afternoon snack. You can save a great deal on food budget if it will be an early morning or early afternoon wedding. Don’t forget to add bowls of fruits and vegetables! They’re ideal hunger-busters that would make any buffet table look inviting!
Beautify your lawn a few months before the wedding. It’s easier to turn a home wedding into a beautiful garden wedding if you start planting your seeds early. Ask a horticulturist or florist for the best types of flowers and plants to grow just in time for your wedding month.
For instance, if you are preparing for a summer wedding, you can plant Gerbera daisies, African daisies, geraniums, or sunflowers. Thus, your garden will be in its full bloom on your wedding day. If you want, consider hiring a landscape artist to give your open space the perfect garden wedding look.
Don’t let your home be a transient place for your guests. You may be tempted to offer your home for relatives who just arrived to attend your wedding. But it’s best that they stay in a hotel or at your relative's' (if they’re willing). On the morning of the wedding, your home would be a very busy place and you want to give everyone who lives there the freedom to comfortably get dressed without hassle.
To rent or not to rent. In most cases, renting tables and chairs is really necessary. If you have a large collection of dinnerware, it may be enough to serve your guests or perhaps you can borrow additional pieces from a friend or relative.
If you have to borrow, perhaps it’s still more convenient to just rent everything, including the table linens, chaffing dishes, bar ware, napkins, seat covers etc. Don’t forget to rent a generator in case there’s a power outage in the area.
Legalities and insurance. Check with your local government if you need to secure a permit or license so that the necessary safety inspections can be executed before the event. You’ll also want to apply for a wedding insurance coverage for guests in case of an emergency.
Use inexpensive decorations. Save big by checking out flea markets and garage sales for possible good buys – garden lamps, decorative bottles, jars, clear glasses, fish bowls, vases, etc.
If you have a tree in your lawn, hanging lamps, bottles, or jars with lighted candles will surely make an afternoon wedding glow. Clear glasses and bowls are very cheap and can be used as elegant wedding centerpieces.
Balloons are a cheaper way to make a place more exciting! Try garlands of balloons tied up together where it won’t occupy needed space. If flowers are expensive, keep them minimal and use other decorative pieces like candles, fruits and vegetables.
Buy tulle by the yard. You can add swags of tulle in white or the color of your motif along the buffet table, seats, doorways, aisle, etc.
Is parking space enough? Would there be enough space for your guests' cars? If not, consider asking your neighbors if you can borrow their vacant street-side space on that day. Most often than not, your neighbors would gladly approve.
Do your own nails and make-up! Ask a friend if she can do your hair and make-up for you. You can look for ideas online or from magazines and try out different styles months before your wedding.
Hold practice sessions until your friend can do your hair and make-up perfectly! See if the make-up would also look good in the pictures. Ask your friend to take some shots to see which look is best for you.
Make your own wedding bouquets. Bouquets for you, your maid-of-honor, bridesmaids and flowers girls need not be complicated. Tie up a bunch of flowers or a stalk of flower with a sash and you’re done!
Don’t forget the music. Download your favorite songs and music way in advance and designate a friend to play music for you and your guests on that day.
Are there pets at home? If you have dogs or cats, would you want them included in the reception? If yes, make sure that someone would keep them in close supervision all day. If not, make sure they are safely kept in a room or have them stay over at a friend’s house.
Think theme-wedding! It would be easier to decorate if you have a specific theme in mind. You may use the places you’ve been together as a couple or your honeymoon destination as your inspiration. For example, you can make it a Hawaiian wedding with lei, Gumamela sprigs and tiki punches, or a beach wedding theme complete with shells, sand, sea foods, sarong, and wicker hats!
Allow plenty of time for preparations. The best way to prepare for a home wedding is to make plans ahead of time and start the preparations as early as possible. Ideally, you want to give it at least 6 months to put together your plans.
Do you have other home wedding tips?
You're welcome to share it by leaving a comment, thanks!
You're welcome to share it by leaving a comment, thanks!