Outdoor home wedding ceremonies are often favored by brides and grooms as a less-stressful alternative to church weddings. They offer a comfortable, familiar backdrop as well as saving time, money and reception hall expense.

Size an Issue?

Planning a wedding at home isn’t as easy as one might first assume. As with more elaborate ceremonies and receptions, a certain amount of detail work is involved. The couple must decide first on a space suitable for a larger crowd. Determine how many people can fit comfortably in the area and what kind of seating will be needed, as well as what local companies provide banquet and party rental equipment. Generally, these suppliers will carry linen, tables, chairs, outdoor overhead covering/tenting and any chafing dishes or banquet supplies.

Celebrating at home offers many more creative alternatives for a reception. When planning the big day, couples need to determine what kind of reception they want. It can be as elaborate as a sit-down dinner or as simple as a picnic. In subsequent articles, we’ll examine some of these choices. Whatever you choose will dictate what provisions you’ll need on hand.

Regardless of reception type, guests will need to have an adequate space for vehicle parking, also. Some locales have very specific parking restrictions; it’s important to check with your municipality for details.

Think Legal

Also of concern are local laws on noise restriction. No reception is complete without music and dancing, and sometimes that music can disturb neighbors. Be sure to notify people in your general vicinity that a wedding will be taking place and to allow for extra noise and activity. Many neighbors are willing to lend their property for parking space; if this is an issue, it never hurts to ask.

A dance platform will likely need to be rented, along with lighting and a sound system. Check with local disc jockeys and audio rental equipment locations for availability of these items. Decorating the dance area can be a success with simple, whimsical lighting around a canopy; many craft and home centers offer string lighting in a variety of sizes and styles. String lighting along with votive candles in bags around the perimeter of a dance space can create a twinkling, magical look.

Whether married by civil servant or religious officiant, it’s crucial to see if they are available to perform the ceremony at your home and if special costs exist for this service.

Once number of guests and seating arrangements are set, it’s a good idea to sketch the layout on paper and provide it to your florist. They can work around your set-up to decorate with fresh flowers. Local garden centers are great sources for shrubs and boxed floral sets to offset the ceremony and reception area; keeping the foliage in their original containers draped with fabric in the bride’s chosen colors allows them to be used for decoration and then planted elsewhere at a later date. Often the couple can keep one or some of these shrubs or small trees and plant them at their new home as a living reminder of the wedding day. They also make nice gifts for attendants or honored guests, thereby giving a piece of the special day that will grow and flourish.

Intimate Advantages

Home weddings allow for some really nice touches that might not be possible or easily handled at a reception hall. Baby photos, memories and keepsakes can be placed on display, lending an intimate touch for a wedding with a more personalized feel. Family can be recruited for decorating or creating special memory pieces that celebrate the bride and groom.

Creating a beautiful home wedding can be challenging but allows for much more creativity and personal expression than ceremonies held at larger, more formal sites. Couples are only limited by their imagination and budget concerns.