No Place Like Home
If you’re looking for a wedding venue, look no further than your own backyard. Think about it: it’s intimate, personal and couldn’t be more convenient. Of course, hosting an elaborate event for all your friends and family is a complicated undertaking, so here’s a brief guide from industry experts.
What are the benefits?
• Familiarity: One of the biggest advantages of choosing your own home over a traditional wedding venue is there aren’t any unknowns. “You know what you’re working with; the layout, the landscape, the parking, and the facilities are all known entities,” says Dee Gaubert, owner of No Worries Event Planning in Los Angeles.
• Privacy: Who wants to share their big day with another couple? At your own home, you are guaranteed 100 percent exclusivity and privacy.
• Scheduling: Rather than having to stick to a venue’s strict timeline, you have the luxury of setting up and breaking down over time. Plus, you can pick whatever date you want since you won’t have to fight with other events.
• Price: In 2017, couples spend an average of $15,163 on their reception hall according to The Knot. Compare that to the price of hosting at home – free – and you may see why having a backyard wedding is an attractive option.
Of course, that “free” price tag doesn’t include all of the extras you’ll need that are typically included with a traditional venue. “Many people totally underestimate the other costs of using a backyard,” says Gaubert. “Logistically, it’s quite complex – and, each item needed adds to their budget, so it’s a lot to manage moneywise.”
What are the logistics?
• Rentals: Unlike a regular wedding venue, the average household isn’t equipped to host a large-scale event. So, you’ll need to bring all those extras in. “I'd recommend renting all items – tables, chairs, glassware, flatware, china and lighting,” says Francesca DiSalvo-Follmer, owner Pure Luxe Bride in Johns Island, South Carolina.
• Power: All those rentals – lighting, catering equipment, sound system – need power. So, unless you want to risk blowing a fuse or worse, you’ll need to acquire a generator. Just be sure to consult with your vendors first to understand their electrical needs.
• Restrooms: Planning on inviting more than a handful of guests? Chances are, your toilets aren’t up to the task. Ensure every can do their business by renting toilet trailers. These facilities are a few steps up from port-a-potties and include mirrors, lighting and sinks.
• Parking: Hotels and other conventional venues also typically come with parking. “A valet may also be ideal in residential areas where parking is tight, and especially if you are expecting a fair amount of guests,” recommends Gaubert. “It’s good practice to have a valet service to professionally manage heavy traffic and parking in residential areas so your neighbors don’t complain during the event.”
• Permits: Avoid ending up with a bunch of expensive tickets, or worse, a party shut down by the cops, by first checking about noise ordinances, fire codes, zoning issues and other relevant regulations.
• Insurance: It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially considering how much money you’re spending on your big day. Contact your homeowner’s insurance company to see what kind of damage is covered and if you should purchase additional protection. Also, check with all of your vendors to ensure they have the proper insurance.
Feeling overwhelmed by all the details? Consider hiring someone with expert know-how to lend a helping hand. “Hire professionals. We've all got your best interest in mind and can make the magic happen without you or your families stressing,” says DiSalvo-Follmer.
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