Your wedding, your way

A guide to DIY-ing the wedding at home

For couples who prize individuality above all else, an at-home wedding is the easiest way to achieve automatic, affordable character. Here’s everything you need to make it work.

Space It Out

Perhaps you or your relatives happen to possess a massive family compound (lucky you!); then, by all means, feel free to invite the entire town and throw a big ol’ bash in the backyard. Just expect to pay a pretty penny for the extras, warns Rachel Hardage, deputy editor for “Real Simple Weddings.” In general, however, getting hitched at home tends to work better for smaller weddings. How small Typically about 50 people, but it really depends on your property and the style of your wedding, says Christina Friedrichsen, founder of IntimateWeddings.com. Your tent company should be able to tell you how many square feet you need per person.

Nail Down the Nuts & Bolts

Unless your plan is to fire up the barbecue and put out lawn chairs for your 15 nearest-and-dearest, your at-home wedding is going to require a plethora of rentals. Tables, chairs, linens, place settings,
glassware, serving dishes and utensils, coffee makers, a fire extinguisher, generators, lighting, speakers, a dance floor, the allimportant tent — you name it. You also will need one portable toilet for every 50 guests; consider springing for the larger, higher-end models that have mirrors, sinks and hand sanitizer. To find suppliers for everything you need, visit ISES.com, home of the International Special Events Society, and check out local resources and ask family and friends for referrals.

Be Sure You’re Committed

If your wedding is on the larger side, the cost incurred by all the extras — as well as the personal time involved — can constitute a major investment. Rentals alone may add up to $5,000 or more, says Hardage, and that’s in addition to the biggies like the food, alcohol and entertainment. You’ll probably also have to pay extra if you expect vendors to handle cleanup. But don’t let these possible obstacles dissuade you. Smart couples who opt for at-home weddings often outsource jobs to family and friends; it can help keep costs down and save your sanity. Plus, having your loved ones play a role in your big day is part of what an at-home wedding is all about.


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