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How to Plan a Home Wedding

Updated on June 16, 2016

Tips for Planning a Wedding at Home

Not everyone wants a big white wedding and some people prefer a small and more intimate celebration. If that is your choice there is no reason why you can’t do it at your own home or that of a close family member or friend. If you would prefer this choice here are five useful tips to plan your wedding at home.

Marriage is the bond between a person who never remembers anniversaries and another who never forgets them. -

— Ogden Nash


Unless you have a very wealthy friend or relative with a mansion the space will always be the biggest challenge. Assess the space you have available at home and decide how many people would fit in comfortably. Very few houses would be able to fit more than 30 people, but if you consider doing it outside and have a larger space you might be able to fit in more people. Garden receptions can be lovely, but make sure you have a back up plan to accommodate bad weather.

A marquee is always an option if you are scared of the rain. In England, where I live, I would definitely not trust the weather and renting a marquee is definitely a lot cheaper than renting a hall or wedding venue. Spending a few pounds extra for peace of mind is not a bad idea. Marquees come in all sizes and shapes and the smaller ones are not very expensive if you rather want to buy one. It can always be used again for family gatherings or birthdays. That is to say if you have place to store it. Again in London where garages are not the norm, it might pose a new problem if you suddenly own a marquee.

A more expensive option, but more permanent, is a summer house for the back garden. There are lovely wooden summer houses available, but they are pricey.

Too Expensive

Telephone Call, Email or Traditional Invitation?

In a new era of emails, text messages, and Facebook, you might have received wedding invitations through these mediums. If you are not comfortable with this informal way of inviting people a telephone call can be the next best option.

Phone your guests personally instead of sending invitations. Planning a wedding for a 100 where 110 show up is easier than planning for 30 and have 40 people showing up. Once you have reached your limit, you can send notices of the wedding to other people that might be interested, but no more invitations.

If your mind is set on good old traditional invitations you can easily make them yourself or with the help of a few friends. It will be more personal and if you are creative enough it doesn't have to cost much. If the wedding is very small, hand written invitations are always a winner. Spice it up with some lace or ribbon to create a true unique touch.

These can be delivered by hand to friends and relatives who live close by.

Instead of including RSVP cards to be send back by post, you can ask guest to RSVP by phone or email.

Unique Wedding Invitations

Food or Decorations?

Spend your money on food rather than on elaborate decorations. Most people will know your house and you can rather spend some time rearranging areas to create more space. Most failed parties are not because of poor decorations, but because there is not enough to eat and drink. A few flower arrangements on tables and other areas of the house should be enough.

You know your guests and if there are some older people make sure there is enough chairs for them to sit down. Even if you don't serve a meal it might be a good idea to have a few small tables with chairs for those who needs to sit down.

Decide well in advance what you are going to serve and what drinks you will provide. Buying alcohol can eat into your budget. Cash bars are quite common these days and most guest don't seem to mind it. Provide enough water - especially if people are going to dance - , some soft drinks and sparkling wine or champagne.

If you serve a hot meal make sure there is enough space in the kitchen to accommodate the caterers. Finger foods might be a less stressful options. Mezes or tapas can be fun. If you can't come up with interesting ideas ask the caterers for some advice.

Fun Wedding Cake
Fun Wedding Cake | Source

Dress Code

Weddings can be as informal or formal as you like. If you prefer a specific dress code make sure you inform your guests accordingly. People might think that while the wedding is at your home the dress code is casual and that might not be what you had in mind. You don’t want your guests to feel uncomfortable by being dressed inappropriately.

If you send out invitations make sure the dress code is stated on there. If you are going to call your guests keep a list with all the information with you to make sure each one gets the same information. It is easy when you start chatting to your aunt or cousin to forget half of the information you need to give. This will result in you having to call back or your guests showing up in unsuitable attire because you forgot to tell them.

Be practical. If your wedding reception is outside on the grass, you cannot really expect your guests to dress in black tie. The worst thing there is, is to try to walk on grass with your stilettos.


The Party

You can easily adapt the traditional sequence followed at weddings and maybe start with some cocktails and a snack to get everybody in a relaxed mood. After this you can have the actual ceremony. Arrange with the priest or the justice of the peace to arrive at a specific time for the ceremony. If this person is a friend or family member that is also a guest specific timing won’t be that important. Just don’t get so carried away, that you forget about the actual ceremony. Afterwards the party can continue.

Warn your neighbours before the time that you are going to have a wedding at home or invite them. Make sure you know what the rules in your area are about noise after a certain time at night. If your budget is tight or space is tight and you cannot invite the neighbours, take them some cake and a bottle of champagne beforehand to share in your celebrations.

Most people understand that weddings are expensive affairs, but they will appreciate the gesture and sign of goodwill.

Sway - The Wedding Date

Some Things to Remember

Don't invite more people than you can comfortably fit into the house.

Have a table set out for the gifts or a basket if you indicated that you prefer monetary gifts.

Always have a back-up plan for an outside wedding. The weather can be unpredictable.

Delegate some tasks to the bridesmaids and other friends or family members.

Start planning well in advance.

Use your networks to get the best caterers and decorators that won't cost you a fortune. If you have enough help consider doing the decorations yourself.

Stick to your budget. It is only one day. You don't want to start your marriage life with debt.

Use in-season flowers and food to keep the costs low.

Be considerate to your neighbours.

Make sure there is enough parking for the guests.

Pack away items that you are of value to you and that won't form part of your decorations.

Keep it simple and have enough space for people to move around.

Arrange for a clean-up team.

Make it an unforgettable event for everyone and enjoy the special day.


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    • Annette Hendley profile image

      Annette Hendley 4 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Thanks for the comment. Personally I think people spend far too much on weddings, while they can still have a special day on a much smaller scale.

    • prospectboy profile image

      Bradrick H. 4 years ago from Texas

      Great ideas you've provided here. I was the best man in my god mother's wedding a couple of years ago, and they had it in a house. There were about 30 guests total, and it was a really nice ceremony. Just shows that you don't have to go all out for a nice wedding. Voted this hub up, and rated useful. Great job! Keep on writing.

    • Annette Hendley profile image

      Annette Hendley 4 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      I am glad it is of some help. Weddings can be so expensive, but there are always ways to do it cheaper and still have a special day.

    • LisaMarie724 profile image

      Lisa Stover 4 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Loving the wedding idea hubs, I just recently got engaged so I'm making some notes!

    • Annette Hendley profile image

      Annette Hendley 4 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      I had mine at home as well, in the garden. It is a bit stressful as you never know what the weather will do, but we were blessed with a beautiful day.

    • LauraD093 profile image

      Laura Tykarski 4 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      My close friend Sue had a home wedding and it was the most beautiful ceremony I had ever attended. I liked the tip to call guests instead of sending out invites. It seems more personal.