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Weddings at Home

Tables and trees

When it comes to weddings, there really is no place like home.

Maybe your parents have an amazing house or that perfect country cottage. But odds are your childhood home is not quite prepared for 150 wedding guests, 75 cars, 20 waiters, 15 tables, and 1 happy couple. Although it may be more work (and more expensive) than you anticipated, you won't regret having your wedding in the place that means the most to you. It's all about being prepared for what it takes to have a wedding in your very own home.

You Need Room to Say “I Do”

Does your setup have enough space for all your guests? If not, you'll have to start trimming the list. Don't mistake overcrowded for homely. If you plan to use a combination of indoor and outdoor space, know that if the weather takes a turn for the worst, everyone will need to fit indoors. Will there be enough space to set up folding chairs with a wide enough aisle? The general rule is six to ten square-feet of floor space per guest for row-seating.

You Can't Do It All Yourself

Since you're so accustomed to your home, hiring a wedding coordinator will give you a fresh perspective on the property and what you can and cannot do. You will also need people to cover all the basics: setting up, cooking, serving, parking cars, and cleaning up. Hiring a cleaning crew may be the best decision you'll make. In the days leading up to the wedding, the last thing you (or your parents) want to have to do is a massive house cleaning.

You'll Need to Tend to Your Lawn

Your home will be on display, so give the space a manicured look. Whether that means dragging out the lawnmower or hiring a landscaper, you'll want your lawn to be in peak condition. If you're planning on a spring wedding, start preparing in the Autumn. Talk to your professional landscaper about reseeding and replanting.

Wedding Guests May Try to Stay At Your House

Try to dissuade them from this idea. Unless you're marrying at a 25-room estate, the only people who should be staying at the wedding site are the homeowners and their immediate family (the bride or the groom, other siblings). What you should do is recommend a hotel or a B & B that is as close to your property as possible.

Beautiful table setting in courtyard
Wine, cheese and charcuterie ready to eat

You'll Need to Hire Everything

Your must-have items are tables, chairs, crockery, cutlery, glassware, napkins, table linens, place settings, barware, and portable toilets. If you need more room for the reception, re-move most of the chairs after the meal, keeping just enough around so half the party can sit during the festivities.

You'll Probably Need a Generator Too

Most homes can't accommodate the amount of power necessary to light a marquee or pro-vide power to a catering kitchen. You don't want to risk a power outage, or even worse, blowing out the whole neighbourhood!

Wedding Service Providers Need to Check Out Your Home

In order to determine what extras they'll need to bring, service providers should visit your home in advance. Have your caterer survey your kitchen to make sure it is well-equipped and large enough to prepare the menu. Otherwise he may need to hire in additional cater-ing equipment.

The Ground May Not Be Level

Chairs, tables, the dance floor -- you don't want any of these items to be on uneven ground. Professional marquee companies can ascertain whether or not they need to put down a foundation or if they'll be able to lay a dance floor directly on the ground. Your other service providers (caterers, florist, band) need to determine what is necessary to keep floral ar-rangements and the cake table from tipping over.

Portable Toilets Have Gone Upmarket

You'll want to account for three bathroom trips per guest. Most septic tanks can't handle that many flushes, so portable toilets are a must. A general rule of thumb is to have one toi-let for every 35 guests. Keep in mind that your guests will need a place to wash their hands and do a mirror check, so keep the area well lit. Upscale portable toilets are now available that have lighting, sinks and heated water.

You Can Save on Decorations

What makes your home unique -- an elegant dining room, a massive oak tree in your back-yard, a gorgeous lawn, or a spectacular view? Play up that feature to create a homely feel. Use different centerpieces and mix-and-match vases. Bring in fresh, home-grown-type flow-ers or play with outdoor lighting possibilities. Garden lamps, paper lanterns, and tiny white lights strung on branches will create a stunning atmosphere.

Have a Plan B That's as Good as Plan A

Unexpected weather can bring about unique challenges. Always plan for the worst by mak-ing sure guests will be covered in the event of a sudden downpour. If a marquee is your Plan B, make sure it has sides to keep out a driving rainstorm. Heat can pose just as many prob-lems as rain, so make sure chairs aren't in direct sunlight and that there are plenty of shad-ed areas and cool drinks are available. On wintry days, propane heaters can warm up the place.

You May Have to Include Your Neighbours

Let them know of your wedding plans well in advance. They may be planning to host a party the same night. Ask if they'd offer their driveways for extra parking space. But you can't rely on neighbours' generosity completely. Make sure there's enough space for parking.

Insurance May Cover Home Repair

From guests dancing on your lawn to service providers coming and going, your home may take a bit of a beating. Find out what your homeowner's insurance covers. You may want to consider getting a supplemental policy. Check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers third-party liability, and with your service providers to make sure they have their own insurance policies, as well.

It's All Worth It

We want you to be prepared, not scared. Having a wedding at home -- even at your new home as newlyweds – is an amazing idea, and an event your family will always remember. The best thing about having your wedding at home is how personal it can be.

Colourful drinks on a table

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