How to plan an ‘at home’ wedding
and have your ceremony at home too!
An at home wedding. Find out all the benefits and how to plan the ‘at home’ wedding ceremony and reception of your dreams.
Getting married at home is the ultimate in authenticity and individuality. Australians and Americans have been having ‘backyard’ wedding ceremonies for years. Indeed celebrancy originated in Australia.
Although many people here in the UK have held their wedding receptions at home it’s still a relatively new trend to actually have your wedding ceremony at home.
Can I practically have my wedding at home?
The main requirement is space. Consider how much space you will need. The ideal is to create a flow throughout your home. For example from the ceremony in the garden to the drinks reception and then moving again to the tented space or inside for dinner and dancing.
You therefore need space not just for the tent or marquee but also space for the caterers to prepare food, for refrigeration, where your loos will go and car parking as well. Not forgetting some outdoor space for your wedding ceremony.
Can I have my actual wedding ceremony at home?
The simple answer is yes. You complete the legal formalities by attending a local registry office sometime beforehand or even afterwards. You then have the ‘basic’ or ‘2+2’ ceremony.
The only people to attend will be yourselves, your two witnesses and the registrars. It is the cheapest and shortest option available and includes a declaration and contracting words and normally takes place in a small private office. Once this ‘ceremony’ is completed you are legally married.
You then have your full wedding ceremony at home. Some are now referring to this as a ‘sequel’ wedding. A trend very popular with celebrities who welcome the opportunity for multiple celebrations.
Summer or winter wedding at home
If your home is large enough to accommodate a large party inside there is absolutely no reason why a winter wedding at home would not be possible. However most of us mere mortals don’t live in homes like that.
Although weddings in marquees are absolutely possible in the winter, they do throw up all sorts of different issues and complications. Keeping tents warm is possible but expensive and the worst thing is for everyone is to be cold.
I would therefore suggest a wedding at home is best during the summer months when it may be wet but it shouldn’t be cold. You can then also hopefully use the garden for the ceremony space.
Marquee or tent hire
In the early stages of your ‘at home’ wedding planning your marquee contractor will become your font of all knowledge. It is essential that you choose a company whose style and capabilities align with your vision of your day.
You have a blank canvas to work with and within reason they should be able come up with a plan that will work and fulfil your vision.
They will make a site visit. Be sure to be fully prepared for it so that they are fully briefed on your expectations and understand completely what you want. Ideally show them pictures of your ideas.
If you are less sure and need some inspiration a marquee contractor worth their salt will be able to provide practical and creative advice on the best way forward.
Discuss with the marquee contractor the possibility of needing to have a weather plan b for your wedding ceremony. For instance the dining/dancing area of your marquee could possibly be turned round into a ceremonial space if necessary.
As well as the marquee you will also need to hire the furniture, dance floor, fire pits, bars, lighting. Then there’s the florist and caterer. The list goes on and on but please don’t be over whelmed. Wedding suppliers all work very closely together and are a friendly lot. Before you know it you will have the perfect fit. One supplier will recommend and another and on it goes.
Alternatively you may consider hiring a wedding planner. Though often considered an extravagance they offer different levels of service and they may in fact save you money and time.
If you are the type of person who wants to be wholly involved and will actively enjoy the planning of your day you may want to consider consulting a wedding stylist who will help with props and inspiration.
I would also recommend the services of a wedding co-ordinator for the day. When planning an ‘at home’ wedding there are multiple suppliers that will need organising.
Your wedding co-ordinator will be fully briefed and will become the ‘go to’ person on the day. Passing the management to someone else will allow you and your family to fully enjoy yourselves.
Choose a wedding celebrant with you connect with on all levels and that aligns with your style and personalities. In the context of the day, a celebrant does not cost much but on no account choose a celebrant on price alone.
A great celebrant has the power to make the difference between ‘just another’ wedding ceremony and a remarkable wedding ceremony. A fact you will probably be unaware of until after the event.
An ‘at home’ wedding gives you free rein to decorate your home, marquee and ceremony area. Whatever style you want to create be it luxury and elegant or more rustic and country. You have a blank canvas so allow your creative juices to flow.
You can go wild personalising everything to accurately represent you both as a couple.
Wedding ceremony space
The very nature of an English country garden provides the most natural and elegant space for a ceremony.
It could be your terrace, an enchanted woodland, a hidden garden pavilion, a glorious view or perhaps a backdrop that you have created with the help of your Dad, florist or wedding stylist or all three.
When choosing the location bear in mind where you will enter the ceremony space and indeed leave. You will also need sufficient space for your guests to mill around and appropriate seating again in keeping with your wedding theme.
Your wedding celebrant will be delighted to provide you any advice you may need to create a perfect ceremony space.
Wedding photographers generally love country quintessentially English garden weddings. The beauty is in the landscape and natural light. But don’t forget to make sure you have left a beautiful natural backdrop in the garden where your wedding photographs can be staged.
Don’t be overwhelmed
Everyone’s home is different. Yours may be a farmhouse, or a house in a village, or a big old rambling country house, a manor house or perhaps even a castle. It might even be in a city or town with a large garden.
Wherever and whatever size it’s still home and each and everyone will be completely different. This immediately makes your wedding unique and individual. If personalisation is what you want you are already on the right track.
It is hard work but boy is it worth it. Happy planning.