Ask the Experts: Planning a Wedding at Home

This afternoon we are here to offer you a little wedding planning advice as we talk about Planning a Wedding at Home.
I am seeing more and more weddings being submitted to me that have taken place at the bride and grooms own home or the parent’s or even the grandparent’s. In my time as a wedding planner I also planned quite a few weddings and parties at the couple’s home and quite often these were the ones that were the most fun and the most relaxed.

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Holding a wedding at home can offer you a lot more flexibility and a lot more scope to have the wedding you really want. No restrictions, no venue fees and no rules and regulations. You have as much time as you want to decorate and you can really go to town with the details and planning. However, the logistics can often take more planning, so it pays to do your research before committing to such a huge event in your own back garden.

Today we are going to hear from Jeni of Vanilla Rose Weddings, an expert wedding planner, Hannah  McClune a wedding photographer, as well as Louise Cardy, Mother of the bride to Henni who held a wedding at their family home last year.

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Jeni From Vanilla Rose Weddings answers some questions 

What are the biggest concerns your couples have in planning a home wedding?
Often couples know they would like to host their wedding reception at home, but are unsure of the best layout and how to make the most of the spaces they have available. Parking and security can also be a concern.

How can a couple get ‘blessed’ at home?
If you don’t have a local Church available in your village, or simply don’t wish to get married in a Church, having a Humanist ceremony or a Blessing at home is a perfect solution.
A Humanist Ceremony is not a legally binding Ceremony, but a blessing conducted by a Celebrant, and is a beautifully personal service. A good Celebrant will take their time getting to know you both as a couple before your wedding day, and write a script which reflects your personalities and relationship; a combination of romance and often a bit of humour to tell your story from meeting to husband and wife. As a Humanist Ceremony or Blessing isn’t legally binding, you’ll still need to register your marriage at a Registry Office, which can be done a couple of days beforehand

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Are home weddings becoming more popular?
Yes, definitely! I worked with 2 couples this year who held wedding receptions at home, in Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds, and they worked so well. It makes the celebration even more personal, and allows the flexibility for every aspect of the day, with no timing or noise restrictions (just remember to tell your neighbours beforehand!).
It also offers the advantage of being able to start setting up when you would like. The marquee company will often install the marquee 3 or 4 days ahead of your wedding, so it gives you plenty of time to start setting up your decorations without rushing to do everything the night before, or the morning of your wedding!

Any top tips for couples to consider if they are planning a home wedding?

  • Consider the spaces you have available, and think carefully about how to use them in a way which will allow your day to flow well. It’s easy to lose guests between areas, so try and keep to confined areas!
  • Ensure you have enough toilets within easy reach of your reception space. Toilet trailers are the most practical, and there are some stylish options available. You don’t want 100+ guests trailing through your house!
  • Consider access arrangements for your suppliers. Is the lane wide enough for a lorry to arrive and unload the marquee?
  • Enlist the help of a professional Wedding Planner to provide guidance with logistical issues and ensure there’s nothing left to chance.
  • Book the best catering company you can afford. They will be your main organisational team throughout the day if you decide not to hire a Planner
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From Louise Cardy, Mother of the bride

What was most challenging about having a wedding at your home?
The biggest worry was our wonderful British climate, I had nightmares about soggy guests, muddy gardens and general discomfort for our friends and family.
So, the most challenging thing was keeping the faith! Hoping that the weather would be kind to us and arranging sufficient matting to keep pretty shoes clean and dry, should the heavens open.
Henni and I spent quite some time looking at Weddings on Pinterest and once the Tipi idea was researched we made a few phone calls and found The Stunning Tents Company.

How did we prepare the garden ?
That was all down to Henni’s Dad. We are not gardeners and know very little about gardening. He spent days, if not weeks, weeding, clearing, tidying and mowing.
We are lucky enough to be surrounded by large oak trees and these were to form the backdrop, we bought hundreds of soft white fairy lights. floating candles, bamboo candle holders.
One of our friends made a brilliant fire pit for us and we surrounded it with bales of hay covered in throws and this was a really lovely addition. Toasting marshmallows was a happy memory.

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How long before the Wedding did you decide to have the Wedding at home ?
Henni and Dan were engaged for nearly two years before they got married. They just wanted a pretty, small reception, a celebration to share with friends and family. Our somewhat rustic, natural garden seemed the perfect choice.

What was the best part of having the Wedding at home?
You can make it totally personal! I have seen lots of photos of Tipi Weddings, and they are all so different. Henni and Dan wanted everyone to feel relaxed with no formality. We all decorated the inside together, we decorated the outside together. We had so much fun.
You can eat what you like, drink what you like, dance if you like, sit inside ,sit outside, toast marshmallows, eat sweets, you choose!

Any tips ?
Keep it simple, if you provide good food, a pretty setting, comfort and plentiful booze, your guests will be happy !

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Some last words from Hannah McClune photography

Celebrating a marriage in the garden of the home you grew up in, adding to all those family memories with a wedding, is pretty special!
Coupled with the way couples I’ve photographed have styled it, making everything entirely bespoke to them, to fit their personalities is brilliant.
It makes the photos even more precious when the backdrop is your family home.

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For more information on Hannah’s photography work go to

www.hannahmcclunephotography.com / ww.hannahmcclunephotography.com/blog / FACEBOOK / PINTEREST / T: @hmcclunephoto / I: @hmcclunephoto

Credits for Carnival Style Wedding – Stationery: Paperknots / Flowers: Tarnia Williams – Flowers for Weddings / Cake: Melissa Woodland  / Glassware: Panda and Pip / Prop hire: Ambience Berkshire / Pizza: Little Reds Pizza / Tipi’s: The Stunning Tents 

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