Your definitive guide to Getting Married at Home

Hunting for the perfect wedding venue can be one of the most fun parts of planning your wedding … or one of the most stressful!

You want a country house, your other half wants city centre. Your parents wade in with ”ooh a castle might be nice!” but you can’t think of anything worse than a draughty old castle. Then there’s the other things to consider – a venue with or without staff, with or without a roof (!), with or without accommodation. If you’re lucky you’ll stumble across the perfect combination that makes you all happy.

But what do you do when you’re struggling to find that perfect location for your wedding?  What if you’ve been hunting and you just can’t find/agree on ‘the’ one?  Maybe it’s time to consider getting married in your own back garden!

Let’s take a look how you can start planning to get married at home:

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♥ First things first, you need to read the blog about Where can you get Married – this tells you all about the legal implications of getting married in your own back yard.

♥ Next – Size! How many people do you want to have? If you live on a farm you can most likely have a wodges of guests, but if you live in a four-bed detached you might need to limit your numbers.

♥ Tell the neighbours!  You might not want to invite them to the whole thing but do be willing to invite them to the evening bash.  Warn them about the potential for noise, traffic and parked cars.

Image result for parking signs for weddings

Check out this cute sign on etsy

♥ Which brings us to parking!  By all means ask your neighbours if they’d be willing to let your guests use their driveways on the day, but if not and parking is limited on your street, consider a ‘park and ride’ – a pub or car parking area somewhere close by that everyone can meet at and you put on a coach to ferry them to your house.  Failing this option ensure your guests know the parking situation and encourage taxis!

♥ Bit delicate….but the toilet situation needs attention!  30-50 guests and you’ll probably be ok with your own home toilets so long as you have more than one and are happy for people to traipse through your bedroom to your en-suite, but more guests and you’ll need to consider hiring in porta-loos. But not those vile grey plastic boxes, nope, you can get lovely festival loos now so shop around for something a little better!

♥ Catering shouldn’t be too much of an issue – you have a kitchen and a running water supply (not always the case with a marquee!) so your caterers are already happy!  However a word of warning – not all caterers are insured to work in a private residence so check this out in your search. A good alternative is to have the food cooked elsewhere and brought to the house to be served. This may limit your choices but with a good caterer you should be able to come up with some great ideas.  Or ask your favourite restaurant if they will cook and deliver!  You’ll have to bring in waiting staff though, so check out some agencies, or even the local catering college.

♥ Where will people sit and what will they eat off/with?  It’s likely your caterer will supply all of the required cutlery, crockery and glass wear so that’s one less thing to worry about. When it comes to seating however, not many people have enough tables to seat 50 people knocking about so you might have to consider hiring tables and chairs.  On a budget?  Ask friends and family if you can borrow tables and chairs, or get to a charity furniture store where you can buy furniture and ‘upcycle’ (think Annie Sloan – you can paint pretty much anything so even chair pads can be updated!  Or simple tie backs if you’re not in a painting mood) and either sell or re-donate after the wedding.

♥ Put the bar in the garage!  That way you have plenty of storage at the back to keep all of the drinks cool and it’s out of the way.  No garage? Consider hiring a mobile bar or a prosecco van (or any type of van really!)

Image result for prosecco vanImage result for gin van

So let’s see – you’ve told the neighbours, hired/painted the furniture, got the loo sorted, booked the caterer and decided on a bar. What’s left?

  • Do you have pets? You need to consider your furry friends if you plan to wed at home. It might be worth putting them in a kennel for the weekend but this can be just as stressful as all of those people in their home. Perhaps leave them with a neighbour (easier with a dog but your kitty might not be ok with it) or take to them to a family member’s home where someone could house sit them.
  • Where’s the drink coming from? Short of buying out Asda’s stock of whatever wine is on offer, consider a place like Majestic Wines who will usually offer you sale or return on the wine, will deliver and collect and – should you think you’re going to run out – will top you up during the day (check with your supplier).
  • Who’s your cleaning crew?  You will need to enlist the help of friends and family before AND after the wedding for clean up. You could consider hiring event crew for this part if you don’t want to impose on F&F but to be fair, a home wedding is ALL about friends and family coming together so we’re pretty sure they won’t mind.
  • Have an ‘inclement weather’ plan!  The British weather is not always going to cooperate so have a plan for the rain/snow/scorching (!) heat!
  • Book your Fairy Wedmother to bring it all together for you ♥

♥ And going back to my first point – if you’ve read the blog you know you need an Officiant to conduct the ceremony and that it won’t be legal until you go to the register office.  Want to licence your home for ceremonies? It is possible but here are the negatives to that:

  • It’s costly!
  • You will need to agree for other people to get married in your home (great if you have a lot of family weddings coming up, not so much if Bob and Sue from Skeggy like the look of your garden for their wedding)
  • You can still only licence your home, not your garden – you need a roof and permanent structure to get the licence so an outdoor wedding still wouldn’t be legal unless you happen to have a pergola at the foot of your garden??
  • You will have to have a registrar (as opposed to an officiant) which will considerably add to the cost
  • I refer you back to point 2!

So there you have it – our tips for planning your wedding in your own back garden.  Your wedding day should be special and wherever you choose to do it there will be a lot of planning and preparation so we hope this guide is helpful ♥

Handy tip: Read our Marquee Check List – a lot of the same points apply ♥

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