If you’re joining the hordes and attending a wedding or two this hot season, chances are good you’ll be toasting at least onehappy couple in their very own home-or maybe the home of afamily member.No matter where you look, from Facebook to People magazine, it’s clear that theintimate backyard wedding is having a big moment.
The latest celeb couple to exchange vows at home? ModelMiranda Kerr and Snapchat CEOEvan Spiegel, who were marriedon May 27 attheir palatial placein Brentwood, CA.Approximately 50 guests were gathered inthe backyard of the homethey purchased for $12.5 million just a month earlier.
One week earlier, Pippa Middletoncelebrated her nuptials to James Matthews in the backyard of her parents’ home just 7 miles down the roadfrom the church where she and Matthewssaid I do. But if you think the sister of the Duchess of Cambridge and her royal in-lawswould party under any old tent, think again. A $128,904 custom glass greenhouse to fit nearly 300 guests was built for the event, according to Harper’s Bazaar.
In 2012, the New York Timescredited the surprise backyard wedding of Facebook’sMark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chanas playinga major role instoking renewedinterestin homebound weddings.
Getting married in the comfort of your own backyard-whether or not you have a palatial estate and a tech billionaire fianc-is hardlya new concept. So why areso many couples opting to tie the knot on their own turf?
Benefits of havinga backyard wedding
All the experts we spoke to mentioned cost-first and foremost-as the top benefit forhosting your celebration at home.
Venue fees are one of the biggest wedding costs, explains Janessa White of Simply Eloped, a company that produces weddings in New York City and New Orleans. Sogetting married in your backyard leads to major cost savings.
Other advantagesinclude having the flexibility to secure any date you want and the convenience of getting ready at home.
And, of course, welcoming friends and family into your home will make the event feel moreintimate. Even if it’s actually huge.
Downsides of an at-home ‘I do’
Youmight assume that hosting at home is the cheapest route for a wedding, but there mightbe costs you haven’t considered. Anticipate the possibility of having to pay forextra generators, landscaping, and lawn care (that will likely get trampled either way), and renting portable toilets, heaters, anda tent.
If a couple is looking to party all night outside, hopefully they don’t have nearby neighbors, says Southern Californiabased wedding coordinator Tobey Dodge, who says she’s been a part of at least 200 home weddings. Most cities or counties can slap a fine on you if you disobey their noise restrictions or curfew.
Plus, Dodge says that with setting up the space before the event and breaking it down afterward, you’ve gotat least a three-day process-further adding to the bill, as well as amping up the chaos at your home.
So ifyour backyard is your ideal wedding venue, be sure to get clarity on those itemsbefore sending out thesave-the-date reminder.
Get wedding liability insurance
You’ll likely be spending a nice chunk of change on yourevent, so taking out a weddinginsurance policy will protect you fromfinancial losses related to last-minute problems. What if your four-tier wedding cake topples, or a parent falls ill and you have to postpone the celebration (you’ll still need to pay the caterers, photographer, DJ, and more)?
Event planner and designer Alison Laesser-Keck of Santa Barbara, CA, recommends getting $2 million in liability insurance. For a 120-person wedding where alcohol will be provided and sold by a caterer, a $2 million liability limit can be purchased for around $260, according to WedSafe, a wedding insurance specialist.
Also, make sure your home insurance policy has sufficient liability insurance attached for a single special event. Don’t ignore this step. Stuff happens at weddings.
Get your neighbors’ blessing
It’s a good idea-and good etiquette-to let your neighbors know you’ll be hosting an event with a lot of guests. You’ll want to quell every concern they’ll have about noise, car congestion, and random people walking around your neighborhood.
Most neighborhoods have a noise ordinance of 10 p.m., so you would need to plan on having everything wrapped up by then, says Dodge.Be sure to check out the rules on noise in your city and county.
Arrangea parking plan
Unlessa majorityof your guests decide to take Lyft or Uber, you’ll have to consider where everyone will park their cars.
If you are expecting even 50 people, you will most likely have between 25 and 35 cars, says Veronica Thompson, owner of VIBEvents Group in Chesapeake, VA. You will need to provide a central location for your guests to park and perhaps even shuttle or bus people to your home.
To make things easier, you might consider hiring a couple of valets. And if guests will be using street parking, it’s crucial that you let your neighbors know.
Provide plenty of bathrooms
You don’t want guests to miss out on the cake cutting because they were waiting in line to use the bathroom all night.
If you have lots of guests and only one or two bathrooms at your house, anticipate long, uncomfortable lines, says White. Avoid that sensitive issue by renting an appropriate amount of portable toilets.
Thompson suggests you provide at least one stall per 35 guests. Portable toilets can range from nice-looking trailers to the basic single-toilet units. And the actual toilets aren’t the only thing you need to worry about: Make sure your guests have a place to wash and dry their hands.
Consider where the food will be prepped
You mightchoose to make the food yourself or have a caterer take care of the cooking. Either way, you need to plan where all this cooking will take place.
Some caterers prefer to cookall of the food off-site, but will needto use your refrigerator, oven, and other appliances to get it ready to serve. It’s a good idea to clean out your fridge and freezer, and clear off your countertops to maximize efficiency.
Dodgesayssome caterers also like to work out of the homeowner’s garage. If you have a lot of stuff jammed into your garage, it may take a lot of effort to clean the space to work, she says.
Plan for the weather, and then havea Plan B
Depending on the season in which your wedding will take place, make sure you’ve accounted for likely weather patterns when planning the big day, says White. For example, if you’re getting married during a potentially hot summer, consider holding the wedding in the evening or creating shade with a tent.
She also urges couples to create a contingency plan for bad weather.
Oftentimes, this can be as simple as moving the ceremony inside the house, but just be sure to think through the nuances of that before the ceremony, White advises.
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