When you have a gorgeous and spacious property at your disposal, the sound of having your wedding at home can be incredibly tempting – you can pretty much do whatever you want. What could be better?
But here’s the thing – private property weddings present a unique set of challenges and expenses that are important to keep in mind if you’re considering an at-home wedding, because you’re essentially building a temporary wedding venue from scratch. As your Hudson Valley wedding planner, here are my top 10 things to consider when you’re hosting a wedding at home:
If you’re planning to light your tent with bistro lights, have a band or DJ, power a restroom trailer and have a caterer onsite to serve food and bus the tables, you’ll need to make sure that you have adequate power, outlets and water sources for all of those needs. Chances are you will need a large generator (or two) to power up all of the vendor’s equipment.
How are guests arriving onsite? Can they park there? If you have a parking area, will you hire someone to make sure no one gets blocked in or that they park in the right spots? If you need to shuttle guests to the property, where are the shuttles picking up? Can a bus enter your driveway and then turn around if necessary?
Some cities and towns have strict cut off times for amplified music, so you’ll need to make sure you abide by those. Plus, if your property is surrounded by other residential homes, you may need to consider letting those people know your plans in advance so you don’t have unhappy neighbors calling the police on the wedding day over noise complaints.
You may think you have the PERFECT spot for a ceremony or a dinner tent, but you need to consider how the day will flow and how guests will transition from place to place during the wedding. Think through the wedding day from start to finish from the guest’s perspective before deciding where specific parts of the day will take place.
Also, tenting is ideal over large, flat surfaces, so if your dream spot for the tent is hilly or uneven, you may want to consider alternate locations. Also, consider the levelness of the ground anywhere you plan to put tables, chairs or other structural items for the wedding.
How much outdoor lighting does your property have, and what lighting will you need to ensure that your guests and vendors can get around safely? Do you need lighted paths to the restrooms, to light signage, to mark a path to the parking lots or shuttle pick up spots? Consider every place a guest may need to go after dark and make sure that path is lit adequately.
What is your plan in case of rain? Where will the ceremony be? Where will cocktail hour be? Do you need to place an additional tent on hold just in case of inclement weather?
If you’re looking into a wedding at home for budget reasons, do an honest inventory of what you will need to bring in to make your event work. Do you need just one tent? Or two? How about a tent for the caterer? Do you need extra power from a generator? Separate sets of chairs for the ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner? Chances are you’ll also need cooking equipment for the caterer, plenty of coolers for ice storage, not to mention, china, flatware, glassware and so much more.
Large groups of people will definitely need access to restrooms, and if you want to avoid guests using the bathrooms in the home, then you’ll need to rent portable restroom trailers that can be placed centrally on the property for guests to use. These also need a good amount of a power and steady, reliable water source, so keep that in mind when you’re thinking of where to place these.
If you are hosting your wedding at your home (or the home of a loved one), think about how to protect that home. The reality is that you’ll likely have a wide variety of people (guests and their dates, vendors and their crews, etc.) on the property at various times, so it’s important to consider having a place to secure valuables, and perhaps even hiring security personal to ensure the home is being utilized (or not utilized) according to your wishes.
Weddings can create an extraordinary amount of waste and recyclables, and most residential homes are not equipped to handle that amount of waste without bringing in extra dumpsters, trash cans and more. Especially if you are trying to be waste-conscious, it will be even more important to have designated areas for separating food waste, actual garbage and recyclable materials. This being the case you’ll likely need to rent multiple containers for disposal and pickup of the waste products.
Are you planning a Hudson Valley wedding on a private property? Get in touch! We’d love to help you make it a smooth and seamless process.