What to Do Before an At-Home Wedding

It's not as simple as you might think.

Here are some things you should do before the big day!

Photo: Chris Bailey Photography

Hosting your wedding at your (or your parents’) home is a lovely idea, highlighting how the celebration is ultimately about bringing families together. Depending on the size of the yard, hosting an at-home wedding is something that can work for small, intimate ceremonies or elaborate, lavish ones. However, unless your guest list is the size of – or smaller than – a dinner party, you may be surprised at how much preparation is involved. This is not to discourage at-home receptions, but couples considering these options should be aware that a free venue is not necessarily the time- and money-saving opportunity you might assume. 

how to prepare your house for an at-home wedding, how to host a wedding at your house

Photo by David & Tammy Molnar

Here are some things you should do before the big day: 

- Look over insurance options. You’ll need to make sure your homeowner’s insurance covers large gatherings, particularly when alcohol is involved. You may have to get separate event insurance.

- Make bathrooms available. Even if your home has more than one bathroom, you should probably rent portable restrooms for the yard. Should the house bathrooms be available to guests, keep them well stocked with soap and toilet paper at a minimum. 

- Mark rooms off limits. Presuming that attendees won’t be given free reign throughout the home, find a tasteful way to indicate that certain areas (such as a second story) are not to be entered.

- Clean up the yard and house. Everything from the bannisters to the lawn will need to be in tip-top shape. 

- Make space for the caterers. Most of the food will probably already be prepared, but you’ll still need plenty of room for final prep as well as storage in the refrigerator. 

- Hide your fragile items. It may not be an unsupervised house party of high school students, but mistakes can happen and you still don’t want your big day adversely affected because something important to you broke.

- Obtain the right permits. Unless you’re in a rural area (and perhaps even then!) you’ll need permits for amplified music and likely for parking as well.