Luxury Custom Invitation Design

Part II – The Logistics Of An “At Home” Wedding


Your heart is set on an At Home Wedding – and it can be the most beautiful memory of your life. But you need to be clear minded about what’s really involved. Even before you begin the wedding invitation design, your first decision has to be whether your ceremony and celebration will take place indoors, outdoors or a combination of the two. This is a key issue because most professionals advise that you not let guests into your home if you don’t have to. Why? Aside from the potential for accidents/damage and challenging traffic flow bottlenecks, too often the homeowner – as well as the bride – become guides for house tours rather than being free to host and enjoy the party.

If, however, you insist on opening your home there are a few things you should be prepared to do: arrange for moving and storage of your existing furniture (unless you have a large open garage); confirm that all of the rentals for the event can be installed into your home; consult with a lighting professional to confirm that your existing lighting can properly illuminate the rooms where guests will congregate; determine how you’ll advise guests which rooms are off limits; consult with a plumber to confirm that your restrooms are readied for heavy use (residential facilities are not built for hundreds of flushes a night); provide instructions on restroom use; and decide who will be in charge of checking that the restrooms are clean, stocked and working properly throughout the party.

Following are some of the major logistical issues that you will need to consider as you continue your evaluation of whether an at home wedding is right for you:

Settings and Situations – single or multiple locations about the property

Where will your ceremony take place? Considerations include using a stage or marquee for the ceremony and where guests will congregate – standing or sitting plus indoor and outdoor option in case of bad weather

Will you have a cocktail hour? Considerations include location of bars and congregation area to allow transition time for photography, dining set up or to provide hors d’oeuvres-only hospitality

Where will food be served? Considerations include arrangements for single or multiple buffet stations or plate service

Will your guests stand or sit while dining? Considerations include tall tables for standing and/or seated service, including assigned seating, plus the food selections appropriate for either situation

Where will the wedding party be photographed? Considerations include creating a special backdrop or using available situations at the home, as well as selecting indoor and outdoor options in case of bad weather

Advance Planning and Back of House

Tents: Plan to reserve your tents at least three months in advance. Considerations include types, locations, access and sizes – as well as canopy-only or enclosed

Scheduling Deliveries: Considerations include days before for set up, day of deliveries and trash removal afterwards, including tents, table & chair rentals, linens, floral arrangements, decorations, entertainment and portable restrooms

Parking: Considerations include availability of street parking, valet service and shuttle service for self-parking

Caterer Work Space: Considerations include dedicated space for food prep, cooking, serving staging that is private and yet has easy access to the guests

Dressing Room(s)/Green Room: Considerations include dedicated dressing space the bride and groom plus their attendants, as well as a green room/rest area for your planner, celebrant, photographer/videographer and entertainers

Coat Check and Storage: Considerations include secure garment check for both guests and support personnel, including storage of valuables and equipment

Flooring: Considerations include runners for the bridal march, tent flooring and a dance floor

Bathrooms and Lighting: Considerations include having one bathroom per thirty guests. Plan to rent a portable restroom or trailer if you don’t have enough restrooms inside the house or you don’t want guests to use them. Plan to use a lighting consultant if your event will be outside – once the sun goes down your guests will need to navigate in the dark, including the arrival/departure area and all the spaces in between

The Law: Considerations include checking into your local ordinances for permit requirements – tents, fire, parking, noise and occupancy

Insurance: Considerations include speaking with your insurance broker to be sure you have the proper coverage for your property, liability and a special event

Cleaning and Landscape: Considerations include bringing house cleaners in to do a deep clean before and after the event. You may also want to plan for new landscaping as well to repair lawn areas before and after the wedding

No doubt an at home wedding will be a delightfully memorable experience. And while the logistics for hosting an at home wedding may be more challenging than hosting your celebration at a commercial location, the sentimental value for your groom, you and your guests will be hard to match. Check around and I think you’ll find that brides who have decided to marry from home have found the extra work to be well worth the time and effort. And don’t forget, when you work with an experienced wedding planner they’ll make sure that the day of your dreams comes true.