Things to Consider Before Choosing an At-Home Wedding

Want your big day to be held at home? Check out these top tips for hireage hook-ups and how-to

  • Story by Words Margot Marshall

Want your big day to be held at home? Check out these top tips for hireage hook-ups and how-to. 

An at-home wedding is indeed a beautiful thing – gardens galore, colourful paper lanterns swinging from the trees and fairy lights twinkling within a gorgeously draped marquee. But with so many amenities to hire or borrow, how do you ensure your DIY wedding runs smoothly? As always, planning is key.

The site

First things first – ask yourself, is your garden large enough – and flat enough – to have a marquee on it? Hireage companies will usually do a site inspection for free to let you know if your grounds are suitable for a marquee, because no one wants their chairs and tables on wobbly ground! They’ll also let you know whether a foundation needs to be put down, or if a dance floor can be laid directly on the ground – because a great wedding always involves lots of dancing.

The marquee

Think about what sort of marquee you would like to work with your wedding theme. Marquees available for hire will typically include a garden marquee option, traditional, premium or even VIP! Keep your budget in check and get hunting. And don’t forget to think about heating the marquee – there’s nothing worse for guests than being cold during the reception service, so make sure you’ve budgeted for sufficient extra heating to be hired where needed.

The generator

It’s a good idea to start researching whether you’ll need extra power to hold a wedding at home. Most homes will struggle to accommodate the power necessary to fully light a marquee or provide enough power for a catering kitchen – and the last thing you need is a power outage on your big day! Get in touch with your catering supplier to find out what you may need to source as an extra.

The furniture

You’ll need to hire enough chairs to seat everyone for the ceremony. Create more room once your reception starts by removing most of the chairs after everyone has eaten, with around half left over for guests who would still like to have the opportunity to sit down if needed. Don’t forget the following furniture hire items: tables, chairs, chair covers, linens, china, glassware and silverware. Phew!

The kitchen

Your wedding menu should be reflective of the cooking capabilities you are dealing with given you are holding your wedding at home. Try not to get too out-there with your catering requirements, as there is only so much caterers can do when they’re working from either a home or mobile kitchen. Also keep in mind how large your home kitchen is, how caterers will prep the food there and accommodate their own staff and keep food cool or sufficiently warm. Are there enough ovens, sinks, and counter space for preparation, baking, and cleanup? Any good wedding vendor will come to visit your home venue to check out its size and layout and ensure it has everything they need to do their job.

The bathrooms

Your home’s bathroom and septic tank just isn’t built for use by a large number of people – a general rule is one bathroom for every 35 guests. Luckily, gone are the days of the dodgy portaloo, with upscale portable bathrooms available for hire that you can add your own personal touches to. Keep in mind the needs of your guests, such as a place to wash and dry their hands and do a mirror check. The area needs to be well lit – some portable bathrooms now offer lighting, sinks, heated water and air-conditioning. Add personal luxe touches such as flowers, candles and hand moisturiser and also include amenity baskets filled with handy things like hairspray, tampons, hairties and peppermints.

The cars

If your home is in a suburban area it’s a good idea to think about whether there is sufficient street space for carparking. If there isn’t a lot of room, arrange for a space nearby to hold cars such as school or church and hire a shuttle service to transport guests to and from your home venue.

The backup plan

In an ideal world your wedding day will dawn bright, sunny and beautiful. But it’s still important to have a backup plan in the event that rain, hail or thunder decides to descend on your day. Think about the logistics of your guests all having to fit indoors if it’s pouring outside. Would there be enough space in the living room to set up folding chairs while still allowing room for an aisle? A good rule to keep in mind is: six to ten square feet of floor space per guest for row seating.

Other plan-b things to think about include: air conditioning inside the home if it’s going to be a hot day, or sufficient heating if it’s looking chilly. Think through your floor plan and whether there is wide enough pathway space for guest mingling as well as waitstaff needing to get through with trays of food and drinks. If your DJ or band will perform inside, will you need to hire a different stage, sound system or organise extra power outlets?

The neighbours

Your neighbours will be grateful for a heads-up to let them know of your wedding plans. Depending on where you live, pop in to see your neighbours in person, or do a flyer drop on your street to let them know the date and time of your big day party. 

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