- by Lisa
Home weddings provide a very unique background to very unique events. Your home weddings is an extension of yourself and your family. Home weddings are wonderful. However, there is many aspects about home weddings that must be considered and addressed. I find that many Brides believe that home weddings are less expensive than a wedding taking place at an outside venue. This is false, and I am going to dedicate this blog to the reasons why.
Backyard weddings are a lot more than inviting 100 people and having a dinner in the backyard. Many situations (that cannot always be controlled for) must be planned for and addressed. Let’s take a practical example. A Bride wants to plan a home wedding for 150 guests in June.
Issue 1 - the weather.
Question: How can you predict the weather? Look at the Farmers Almanac as much as you wish - If the weather is poor, can you practically seat 150 guests inside your home? If not, you need a tent - even if you are hoping for great weather and do not want to put the tent up. You still need the safety of the back up.
You will also need a tent for the caterers (if they cannot work out of the garage or inside the house).
Cost - Tent 150 guests with dance floor $3,500.00
Catering tent $500.00
Don’t forget the canopy covering the bathroom trailer and any canopies’ leading to or from the tent.
Issue 2 - the toilets
Question: Do you have reliable facilities that will accommodate 150 guests? What happens if your plumbing goes sour? Neighbors????
Answer - you need portable restrooms.
Cost - A nice restroom trailer (assuming you can use your own water supply_ $1,500.00
Issue 3 - Flooring
Question: This is the inevitable question for “at home” Brides. What if it rains?
Answer - Either the tent gets put up earlier to help the protect the ground, or you have to install a subfloor.
Cost - Depending upon the flooring you use, it could go as high as $18,000.00
Issue 4 - Parking
Question: Where are guests and vendors going to park their cars?
Answer - there are a number of options. Is your neighborhood one that you can park on the street? Is there enough space for 70 cars? Can you recruit some neighbors to use their driveways and yards? If so, a valet service might need to be hired. If not, is there a park or ride, or some other options for off-site parking (church or school)? If so, shuttles or buses would be necessary. Make sure you make all necessary arrangements ahead of time.
Costs - if shuttles are needed, costs could go as high as $4,000.00 depending upon the vehicles hired and the amount needed. Do you want to get everyone to the site at one time, or can you shuttle guests?
Issue 5 - Permits
Question - What are the noise ordinances and parking restrictions in your area? Can you request an exception? What is the process and costs? Do you have to close down a street or ally?
Answer - Depending upon your event and where it’s taking place, you must do this research early. If you have to attend a town meeting to request an exception, or go to City Hall to pull permits, it may take some time (more than a week prior to the wedding). Contacting the towns local police department may be a good starting place.
Costs - it varies. You can do this for yourself (if you have the time and energy). You can keep it down to less than a few hundred bucks.
Issue 6 - Lights
Question - Is all or part of your event taking place at night (after sunset)? If so, you need lighting.
Answer - You will need basic lighting inside the tent, around the bathroom area, leading to cars (if the cars are on the property, or off the property if street lights are not present and you do not have a valet service). This does not include specialized event lighting.
Costs - varies depending upon what you do. Hire the lighting through the tent company to keep costs down.
Issue 7 - Electricity
Question - Does your house (if the wedding site is near the house) have enough electricity to power the DJ/Band, lighting, toilets, catering equipment, etc?
Answer - Get a generator, even if you think you have enough electricity.
Cost - 1,200-1,500.00
I haven’t even touched the surface, and as you see, having a home wedding really adds up. If you were to rent an already established venue, the flooring would already be present, you would probably have bathroom facilities, the electricity would be taken care of, lighting would be present, etc. Even if your site rental fee is 5,000.00, and you have to rent tables, chairs, linen, glassware, silver, etc (did I mention that you would have to do this for a home wedding?), you are still coming out ahead - financially speaking.
Like I stated before, home weddings are special. There is nothing like them. However, if you are having a home wedding because you think it will save you some dough- I would advise you to think again.
Picture courtesy of Kristin Spencer Photography.