What Are The Pros And Cons Of Hosting A Wedding At A House?

The average home isn't quite prepared for 150 wedding guests, 75 cars and 20 tables needed for a full-on backyard wedding.

While it may be more work (and more expensive) than you probably anticipated, we can tell you this much: You won't regret saying your vows in a place that means a lot to you. It's all about being prepared for what it takes to throw a backyard wedding—either on your own or a loved one's. So here's everything you need to know about planning an at-home wedding.

Hosting an event on your property can be amazing, though it has some drawbacks. Here are some pros and cons of hosting an event on your property.

A major part of any event is the venue. Different spaces and environments can affect the tone of an event. It can be daunting to decide where you want to hold your event. However, sometimes the perfect location is already yours – I got married at my in-laws' house.

  • When's the wedding day? 
  • Am I invited to the wedding? 
  • Who's at the wedding party? 
  • Which wedding venues are you considering?
  • Why did you decide to host your wedding there/hire that wedding vendor? 
  • What's your colour palette?
  • Do hire a wedding band. 
  • Don't bend your wedding budget. 
  • Do hire a professional wedding photographer.
  • Don't do your hair and make-up. 
  • Do remember you're in charge of the guest list.
  • Don't forget about life after the big day. 
  • Do wear your wedding shoes. 
  • Don't Rush Down the Aisle!
  • Cocktail Hour. After the ceremony, the couple, their families, and the wedding party head off with the photographer to pose for pictures.
  • Arrivals. 
  • Dinner. 
  • Toasts.
  • First Dance. 
  • Dancing. 
  • Bouquets & Garter Tosses. 
  • Cake Cutting.
  • Don't remove hair. 
  • Don't try new products.
  • Don't stay up late. 
  • Don't get stressed.
  • Don't over-eat. 
  • Don't oversleep.
  • Don't exhaust yourself. 
  • Don't consume too much caffeine or tobacco.

The best man customarily makes the first toast. It's fine for this to be the only one offered, though other people will probably want to express their happiness to the newlyweds. After the best man, the maid of honour may offer a toast, too.

FAQs About Wedding Venue

 

Home Weddings Can Save Cash

Budgetary restrictions often drive the choice to host a home wedding. While traditional venues may seem expensive at first glance, it's worth researching what it might cost to bring in everything you'll need for a wedding in your actual backyard. Since you're so accustomed to your home, hiring a wedding coordinator will give you a fresh perspective on the property and what you can and can't do. You'll also need pros to cover all the basics: setting up, cooking, serving, parking cars and cleaning up (hiring a cleaning crew may be the best decision you'll make). In the days leading up to your backyard wedding, the last thing you (or your parents) want to have to do is massive house-scrubbing.

To fully appreciate your blank canvas, consider what decor you have in place to set the atmosphere for your Big Day. What makes a private residence unique? (An elegant dining room, a massive oak tree in your backyard, or a spectacular view?) Play up that feature to create a homey feel. It adds to the trend of making it look like you've emptied an eclectic china cabinet of all its unique and beautiful pieces. Use different centrepieces and mix-and-match vases. Bring in fresh, home-grown-type flowers or play with outdoor lighting possibilities. Decorating with garden lamps, paper lanterns, and tiny white string lights draped on branches will create the perfect atmosphere.

You'll Need To Get Permission Before Proceeding.

You'll need to make sure everything is in order, from the city permits to fire department inspections. Bring in an electrician to inspect your area, determine if local noise ordinances require a permit or place restrictions on noise, and determine if you need to file for a permit to park cars along your street. The last thing you want is cops crashing your wedding.

Your wedding officiant may also need to stop by to confirm the location. Make sure they give you their blessing to say "I do" in a backyard or at-home ceremony. Some cannot perform the ceremony outside their place of worship because the church does not recognize it. So you'll want to give yourself plenty of time to find a licensed officiant who will do the honours.

It's also a good idea to chat with neighbours about your event. Let them know of your home wedding plans well in advance. Ensure they know the ceremony time so nobody's mowing their lawn during your backyard vows, and ask if they'd offer their driveways for extra parking space. But you can't rely completely on neighbours' generosity. Ensure there's enough street space for parking, arrange for guests to park at a nearby lot like a school or church, and then provide a round-trip shuttle service. If you want valet parking, hire a reputable company.

Reach out to your homeowner's insurance company to loop them into the plans. From guests dancing on your lawn to vendors traipsing in and out, your home may take a bit of a beating (all for a good cause, of course). First, find out what your homeowner's insurance covers. You may want to consider getting a supplemental policy. Next, check with your domestic insurance company to see if your policy covers third-party liability and with your vendors to ensure they have their insurance policies.

Your Backyard Wedding Will Demand Serious Space

You need room to say, "I do." Does your set-up have enough space for all your guests? If not, you'll have to start trimming the list. Don't mistake overcrowded for cozy. If you plan to use a combination of indoor and outdoor space, know that if the weather turns for the worst, everyone might need to fit indoors if you don't have a tent. Will there be enough space in the living room to set up white folding chairs with a wide aisle? The general rule is 6 to 10 square feet of floor space per guest for row-seating.

Consult with professionals about the realities of hosting a big event on property. They'll give you insight into the possibilities. For instance, the ground may not be level. Chairs, tables, the dance floor—you don't want these items on uneven ground. Professional tent companies can ascertain whether or not they need to put down a foundation or if they'll be able to lay a dance floor directly on the ground. Your other vendors (caterers, florist, band and so on) need to determine what's necessary to keep floral arrangements and the cake table from tipping.

Your pros will need to check out the property. To determine what extras they'll need to bring, vendors should stop by for a visit. Have your caterer survey your kitchen to ensure it is well-equipped and large enough to prepare the menu. Otherwise, they may need to bring in a completely functional travelling kitchen.

Guests May Try To Crash

Slumber parties are fun, but adding house guests to your home wedding will complicate an already detail-driven day. Try to dissuade them from this idea. Unless you're marrying at a 25-room estate, the only people who should be staying at the wedding site are the homeowners and their immediate family (the couple and any siblings, for example). You don't want to be fighting your cousin for shower time the morning of your wedding. It would help recommend a hotel as close to the wedding property.

Vacation rentals, like on Airbnb, are a good option for guests to consider. There may be home rentals available in your neighbourhood, giving friends and family quick and easy access to your home wedding. Some couples prefer to keep loved ones at a distance the night before the big day, so a hotel may be better. Consider all options before pitching a solution to your guests.

Factor Rentals Into Your Plans

A backyard wedding reception inevitably requires bringing in enough rentals to throw a party. Your must-have items are tables, chairs, dinnerware, napkins, table linens, place settings, barware, portable bathrooms and a tent. Also, rent enough chairs so everyone can be seated for the ceremony. If you need more room for the reception, remove most of the chairs after the meal, keeping just enough around so half the party can sit during the festivities.

You'll probably need a generator too. Most homes can't accommodate the amount of power necessary to light a tent or provide power to a catering kitchen. You don't want to risk a power outage or blow out the whole neighbourhood. Check with your caterer to see if you need to rent extra coolers, grills or roasters. Don't wait on this. You'll want to start researching and reserving equipment six months before your wedding.

You'll also likely need to evaluate your bathroom options for guests. The average home cannot accommodate the increased bathroom usage a wedding typically requires. Thankfully, portable bathrooms have gone luxe. However, these aren't your average port-a-potties. You'll want to account for three bathroom trips per guest, and since most septic tanks can't handle that many flushes, portable bathrooms are a must. A general rule is to have one toilet for every 35 guests. Keep in mind that your guests will need a place to wash their hands and do a mirror check, so keep the area well lit. Upscale portable bathrooms are now available with lighting, sinks, heated water and even air-conditioning. Don't forget to make them even more home-like by including an amenity basket filled with hair spray, tampons, Band-Aids and breath mints in the ladies' room.

Outdoor Maintenance May Take Months Of Advance Preparation

With your entire backyard on display, you'll probably need to give the space a more manicured look. Whether that means dragging out the lawnmower or hiring a landscaper, you'll want your lawn to be in peak form. If you're planning a spring backyard wedding, start preparing in the fall (yes, really). Talk to your professional landscaper about reseeding, replanting and sodding.

You'll need to think about florals (and plant them) as early as possible. Most perennials need a winter to take hold, and it takes some time for annuals to fill out. Please find the appropriate planting times for the flowers you'd like, so they'll be in full bloom on your wedding day. For a spring wedding, cool-season flowers like tulips, daffodils and lilies of the valley will bloom (which need to be planted the autumn before). For summer, try annuals like geraniums, Gerbera daisies and African daisies, which you should plant after the threat of frost. Finally, you'll probably want to plant perennials for fall, like Japanese anemones, chrysanthemums and blue salvia—these should also be planted the fall before.

Weather Can Disrupt Carefully-Laid Plans

Unexpected weather can bring about unique challenges—especially at a backyard wedding reception. Always plan for the worst by making sure guests will be covered in the event of a sudden shower. If there's no way to pitch a tent at the ceremony area, arrange to have the ceremony at a house of worship in case of rain—make sure to have an insert in each invitation that gives the alternate address and a number to call to find out if the ceremony has moved, plus keep your guests posted via your wedding website.

If a tent is your Plan B, make sure it has sides to keep out a downpour. Stifling heat can pose as many problems like rain, so make sure ceremony chairs aren't in direct sunlight. There are plenty of shaded areas, cool drinks and even hand fans (your ceremony program can double as fans). If it's a warm day, you can bring extra electric fans and portable air conditioners in; propane heaters will warm up the place on wintry days.

Start Planning The Perfect Backyard Wedding Reception

Having a backyard wedding at home—even at your new home as newlyweds—is an amazing idea and an event your family will always remember. The best thing about having your wedding at home is how personal it can be. Nothing compares to getting ready in your childhood room and coming down the staircase in your wedding dress or suit. Find the right wedding pros to help, and you'll walk down your homespun aisle stress-free. 

Pros For The Client 

  • It would be a more sentimental and personal experience.
  • Depending on the size of your party and how elaborate your plans are, you could save money by skipping a venue rental.
  • You have no restriction on what vendors you can use 
  • You likely have way more flexibility to do what you want.
  • You don't have to lug your attire somewhere as you can likely get ready at your house.
  • No travel is needed as everything can be at the residence or nearby. 
  • Guests won't ask as many questions about arrival, entry, etc.
  • You'll save money on a hotel.
  • Likely no animal restrictions (pending guests' allergies)
  • Your delivery and pick up windows for rental companies are likely more flexible than a venue space — which could result in savings 
  • Vendors can start setting up a day or two earlier, and this flexibility could save you money —vendors love the flexibility.

  

Cons For The Client

  • You may not be able to party as long as you want as most residential areas have noise restrictions, some starting around 9 or 10 pm.
  • You may have to acquire permits depending on the size of your party, which take up time and can be pricy.
  • You may be more involved in the load in/set-up process than at a typical venue.
  • You may not have space for ice — most of us have a standard-sized freezer, which won't get you very far when looking to store ice for dozens of people.
  • More attention to detail when it comes to staggering deliveries — especially if you have a tent floor made or need to have movers remove items from your house before rentals are brought in
  • Your event will likely be more broken up between rooms rather than a large open space (unless your event is entirely outdoors)
  • You may have delivery complications getting certain items (tables, tents, etc.) through a standard doorway.
  • If your delivery companies have to climb up or downstairs to deliver items to your house, you will get hit with an additional labour fee.
  • Clearly, with all the activity, there is a possibility that something could be damaged in your home.
  • There may not be enough bathrooms at the residence — if you need more, you would have the added expense of renting bathrooms. 
  • Guests may wander to areas in the house you don't want them to, and you may have to deal with vendors and staff (essential strangers) in your house for long periods.
  • Clean up time after your wedding is a much bigger job than just walking out of a venue space at the end of the night — cleaning your place, getting all your furniture back in order and having all rentals picked up could take up a week.

Conclusion

If you're on the fence about hosting your wedding at a house, hopefully, this article has helped provide some pros and cons for you to consider. Ultimately, only you can decide what is best for your big day, but we hope that this information will help make the decision easier. 

 

Scroll to Top