photos by Next Exit Photography
by Amber Gustafson
After having a break from them over the past few years, in the past few months, I’ve done two weddings at homes. Not a private residence that is rented out for events: but the home of the bride or groom’s family or a close friend. If rented venues are tough, home weddings are three times harder than a normal wedding. It takes a wedding ninja and a team of martial artist vendors to make it all come together smoothly. To pull off a home wedding properly, not only do all of the normal things (Music! Flowers! Invitation! Decor!) have to be dealt with, but all of the items listed below.
Pre-Prep of the Property
Unlike rented spaces, many homes don’t have full time landscapers, painters, electricians, and plumbers to make sure that everything is up to par, so everything has to be checked prior to the wedding. Pianos have to be tuned, ovens have to be serviced, drains have to be snaked, AC units tuned and filters changed. Then you have the organizing around the house has has to be taken care of: furniture that has to be moved out in order to allow 100ish guests in your living room. After all of that above? Then comes the deep cleaning: the window washing, carpet shampooing, molding dusting hell.
Where are your guests going to park? Do you have to bring in valet? Should they be shuttled from the hotel? Is there a parking lot nearby you can rent? All of these questions have to be asked.
Where you live determines how late you can party or the cops will be on your doorstep in .02 seconds. If you send your invitations out for 7:00 PM but live in Beverly Hills that has a 10:00 PM sound ordinance you’re in for some trouble. Also, if you live in an area like Beverly Hills and put up a tent or a generator, you have to get a permit or risk your party being shut down. And then we have neighbors. If you don’t want your neighbors to have the cops show up at 9:00 PM you better give them a goodie basket with a note and some booze. It’s recommended to invite them, ESPECIALLY the crazy lady that you can’t stand. Every neighborhood has one.
Most of the time homes don’t have perfect nightscaping built for entertaining, so if you’re having any sort of lighting, you will more than likely need a generator or you risk tripping the circuits when the caterers plug in the coffee pot at 9:30 PM.
Good flow is key. Where will the guests enter? Where will they go? Where are the bottlenecks going to happen? Are they going to be cool or warm enough? Will there be enough chairs to sit on? Where will the bars be placed? The dance-floor? If the ceremony and reception are happening in the same space, are the tables going to be pre-set and brought out during cocktail hour? If not, you better have a darn comfortable space for guests to hang for over an hour.
Can your kitchen handle cooking for 100+ people? Where can the caterers set up their prep & scullery area? Can they use your refrigerator or will a rented one have to come in?
Then there are bathrooms. This is one of the most important aspects that people overlook. People need 1 restroom for every 50 people. This includes staff. If you have 100 guests in your home, you’ll have 20 vendors working it. That means you need more than 2 bathrooms or you’re going to have problems. And your plumbing had better be GOOD or your problems are going to be even bigger. A bathroom blowout will kill a party faster than anything.
Often overlooked Logistics
Who is going to be cleaning up the house on the day of the wedding? You need one person dedicated to refilling toilet paper in the bathrooms and making sure that there is still soap.
Who is going to deep clean the property once 120 people have trampled the grass, soiled the carpet, and stained the couch? All of the vendors will take out what they brought in, but they’re not responsible for deep cleaning your house.
On the day
Unless you want a disaster, your caterers had better specialize in coming into homes and cooking with ovens they aren’t used to. And you need a wedding planner who knows all of the above and gets a sick thrill out of the most difficult logistics imaginable in the wedding world.
<em><a title=”Amber Gustafson | Amber Events” href=”http://losangelessamesexweddingphotography.com/contributors/amber-gustafson-amber-events/”>Amber Gustafson</a> is the owner of <a href=”http://amberevents.com”>Amber Events</a>, a premiere wedding and event coordination company based in Southern California.</em>