There are many reasons why couples decide to host their wedding at home. It can feel more personal than hiring an advertised venue that has seen countless weddings before you. It might seem easier, too: you can get on top of any house or garden maintenance in the build up to the big day, you won’t have to liaise with venue staff about décor or catering restrictions, and, indeed, you can provide your own alcohol without those fiendish corkage charges. And budget certainly comes into it. With average wedding costs staggeringly high in the UK, you might think you’re clawing back control of your budget by hosting your guests at your family house.
1. Indoor or out?
If you’re inviting more than 30 people to your wedding, you’ll probably be thinking about a traditional marquee-style reception in the garden or grounds of your home. Don’t assume that this is a budget-friendly option. Including a hard or carpeted floor, lighting, a dance floor, a bar area and catering tent, costs very quickly mount up. On average, with all the trimmings, the price of a marquee is around £5,000. Plus, you will also need a generator and an electrician for speakers, microphones and lighting. Given the UK's fickle climate, you’ll likely want some form of heating, too.
2. The essentials
And what goes hand-in-hand with marquee hire? Everything you need to fill it. That’s tables, chairs, table linens, tableware, and so on. These items may be tied into the price of the marquee hire, which can be convenient – if a little artistically limiting style-wise. It may be most logistically convenient for your catering company to provide all tableware.
3. The catering
Unless you’re holding a very small reception, you'll need professional help to cater your wedding. This begs the question of whether you have the space to accommodate a catering company and all their equipment. Is your home kitchen large enough, or will you need a separate catering tent? Whatever your answer, make sure your caterers’ domain is well out of the way of wedding guests.
4. The bar
No wedding is complete without a well-stocked bar. Either create your own (assuming you have the necessary equipment) or hire one. Either way, you will need a trained barman on hand. Keep in mind that you will also need a license if you plan on charging guests for drinks.
5. The loo situation
Bathrooms are an important consideration if you’re getting married at home. The average house will probably contain one or two bathrooms, and this will hardly suffice for 100+ guests. Hiring washrooms can be costly, but will save you from having party-goers traipsing around your house. A block of four loos will cost around £600 + VAT + delivery (southernevents.co.uk). These would need to include sinks, mirrors, hot and cold water, plus hand soap and towels. Factor in an electrician and a plumber to provide lighting, heating, and water, too.
6. The neighbours
Unless your home is exceptionally remote, the chances are your wedding will be within good earshot of your neighbors. Alert them to the date and time of your wedding well ahead of time, and ensure that it finishes at a reasonable hour. But holding your reception at home does, obviously, permit the possibility of neighbourly tensions.
7. The clear-up
While having easy access to your venue plays to your advantage in the planning stages, not being able to walk away from the aftermath is a real buzzkill. Rather than burdening family and friends with the responsibility of cleaning up while you shoot off on honeymoon, invest in a post-wedding professional cleaning service. Oh, and that's another cost to throw into the mix!