In the Summer 2011 issue we featured Joslyn and Austin over-the-top at home wedding that really wowed guests. Hosting an event at home for 200 people is far different than the usual home party with a guest list of 20. So you know just what to consider when weighing the options of an at-home event versus a reception venue, I enlisted the planner on the project, Lindsay from Toast Events to tell us a bit more about all the elements involved in an occasion like this. Read on to hear her take on planning big time at-home occasions.
Here’s what Lindsay has to say…
Well it seems simple doesn’t it? “Let’s throw up a tent, and have the reception at home?” many engaged couples or their parents think having your wedding reception at a home that is special to you , can be wonderful and provide a unique backdrop you will forever remember. However, there are many things to take into consideration before inviting your closest family and friends to a wedding reception at your home.
The most recent experience I’ve had in planning an event of this nature was Joslyn and Austin;s gorgeous tented reception at her parent’s home in Atlanta. It was a truly magical affair and with meticulous planning, you can create a wedding or event that will forever be remembered.
Naturally, I recommend hiring an experienced wedding planner to help you pull this off. Be sure to ask if they have planned a wedding in a home or a tent before, as you don’t want your wedding to be their first. A seasoned planner will be able to walk your property with caterers and a rental company to see if the event is even feasible for your guest count and expectations. They will help you plan the flow of the event and keep you sane the wedding week.
There are a few things to realize before hosting an event at your home. The first is that it may not save you money. There are some areas you will save such as venue fees and liquor, but by the time you bring in tenting, flooring, rest rooms, generators, tables and chairs, the bottom line could end up being the same.
It is important to consider the amount of time it will take to install the tent (if a tent is being used) and get the house ready for the wedding reception. In some cases, we have started set up as early as Tuesday for a Saturday wedding. Be sure you are comfortable with a stream of people in and out of your home, during one of the most hectic weeks of your lives.
Once you are comfortable with these ideas, there are several other steps and points to ponder to make sure the event is seamless. Below is a list of the most important areas to walk through before agreeing to host an at-home wedding or event.
Most homes will not have enough space for guests to self-park, so you need to consult with a Valet company or look at shuttling guests from a nearby parking lot to the reception. If you use the shuttle option , be sure to get permission from the parking lot and make sure guests can leave their cars overnight. You will also need to communicate parking or shuttles in the invitations or on the ceremony program if it’s being held somewhere else.
You will likely need to bring in a generator to make sure that the reception area has enough power for lighting, catering and of course the band. Be sure to ask your band how much power they need and find a place for the generator in advance that is easy for them to deliver but is out of sight and sound of the guests.
Be sure to let your neighbors know you are hosting an event of this nature, especially if parking might infringe on their property. Its important to check the noise ordinances in your county as well to make sure the event ends in compliance with any rules.
The restroom situation is an important one to consider when hosting an event in your home. You might consider bringing in restroom trailers depending on the size of your house, number of restrooms and number of guests attending. At the very least, I would be sure to ask your coordinator to hire a restroom attendant to make sure that the restrooms are maintained with products and kept clean throughout the event. If you do bring in a trailer unit, it will need to be near a power and a water source and also considered as you plan the layout of the event.
Your rental company and caterer will work closely with the event planner to ensure that all other materials needed for the party are brought onsite. It is still important to have a meeting to make sure that all glassware, linens and tables that are needed are covered or included in the orders.
Inclement Weather Plan
You and your event planner should carefully consider optional plans in the event of extreme heat, wind, rain or cold. If you are planning to host the majority of the event outside without a tent, you must walk through the options if the weather doesn’t cooperate. It is extremely important to have these plans in place before you agree to move forward in using your home at the venue.
I hope these tips will help guide you to planning a perfect party at your home.
Photography: Melissa Schollaert Photography