Tag Archives: same sex wedding photography

Home Weddings


photos by Next Exit Photography

Home Weddings
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>

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How To Have A Raging Dance Party!

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photo by Next Exit Photography

How To Have A Raging Dance Party
by Amber Gustafson

So you have a great DJ/Band and that you think is going to make your guests tear up the dancefloor, eh? Not so fast, you need a few other key items in place in order to have a truly insane dance party.

Don’t have more than a parent and a best man/maid of honor speak. Seriously. And when you ask that person to speak, tell them they have no more than 3 minutes. Nothing kills a party like like three 8 minute speeches in a row. Don’t you know that’s what the rehearsal dinner is for? Oh, and have said people speak before dinner so after dinner is saved for boogieing .

If you read my blog, you know how important I believe lighting is  (more important than flowers, sorry, florists!) and I think that any good reception has two lighting levels: ” romanticaldinnertime” and “sexydanceytime“. Sexydanceytime usually involves me crawling around the room unplugging the uplights if I don’t have a standby guy on hand, but it’s worth it. People like to get their freak on in dim lighting.

Make sure your band/DJ is right on the dance floor with nothing (like tables) to come between their love. They and the dancers feed off each others energy  like rock stars and groupies. Also make sure your bar is in the same room. The closer to the dance floor, the better. And if dancing is really your thing don’t dilute your reception with other activities such as photo booths. If you want your guests to be slaves to the beat you have to keep them captive.

Nix the band OR do a band/DJ combo
Bands have to take breaks every 45 minutes. Nuff said.

and last but not least

Cake. That damn cake. 
This is my most hated time of the evening: it’s 10:15 PM and the dance floor is rocking. There are 1.75 hours left of this party. The photographer has to end at 10:30 or overtime will ensue. I tell the MC that we’ll be cutting the cake after the next song and the announcement is made. Dance floor fizzles out and never returns to its original glory. My advice? Cut the cake right after dinner or sneak away with your parents & photographers to cut it then get back to the floor to shake what your momma gave ya.

Amber Gustafson is the owner of Amber Events, a premiere wedding and event coordination company based in Southern California.




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