An at home wedding can sound like a dream come true for the bride-to-be who doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of planning a big, fancy ceremony and reception. But sacrificing some of the glitz and glamour that a gorgeous venue can bring to a wedding doesn’t necessarily mean that wedding planning will get any simpler. Sometimes planning a backyard wedding can be more complicated – and even more expensive – than putting together a traditional wedding at an event venue. Here’s why:
The necessary extras: The nice thing about many wedding venues is that everything is included. The linens. The bridal chamber. The staff. Someone else is handling all the different rentals and professionals. Compare that to a backyard wedding which has to be planned from the ground up – it’s the bride-to-be’s responsibility to find servers, linens, trash receptacles, and more. If you’ve never planned a party for 100+ people you may be surprised at all the things you need to buy and rent.
Bathrooms: If the backyard where you’re thinking of saying your vows and partying down is attached to a house with 4+ bathrooms then disregard this item. But while 75 guests and two bathrooms could work – and probably would work – do you want to take risks? Residential plumbing can get overwhelmed pretty easily, which means that to stay on the safe side you’re going to need to pay for extra accommodations. And then find some place out of the way to park them.
Rain or shine: Weather is unpredictable – you may live somewhere where it hardly ever rains and the random storm picks your wedding day to show up. It may be unseasonably sunny and warm or cold. Will all of your wedding guests fit in your home? Would you want them in there? Renting a tent, even a small one, and getting it set up can be pricey and complicated (depending on what your yard is like) but it’s a must.
Refreshments: Getting food and drink (and the cake) to your backyard wedding isn’t the issue. Prep is. Will there be enough space for the caterers, etc., to prep your food? Somewhere safe to store the cake? Somewhere to put the drinks? Be realistic about how much space you have for prep and adjust your choices and expectations accordingly.
The cleanup: This is a big one! At a hired venue, you don’t have to worry about any of the cleanup – your job is to have fun and leave before the last dance. At a backyard wedding, particularly when it’s in your own backyard, you (or your loved ones) will have to decide ahead of time who will do the cleaning up and with what – rented trash barrels? – and when.
None of this means, of course, that you should stop planning a backyard wedding in favor of renting a venue. Brides and grooms just need to be aware that there’s more to planning a backyard wedding than deciding to host at home. There’s a lot to think about and a lot of things that will be on your plate so while we’d love it if we could say that it’s as simple and as easy as buying wedding jewelry we can’t. It can be pretty hard but for a lot of couples, also totally worth the extra trouble.
Images: Sarah Kate, Photographer; The Sweetest Occasion; http://weddingplannerncdotcom.wordpress.com; Mywedding.com