Getting married at your family home is a dream for many, but there are a lot of hoops to jump through. Georgie Evans, who held her own wedding at home last year, shares her tips.
Georgie and Doug tied the knot on June 3, 2017 at a rural countryside church in West Clandon, Surrey followed by their wedding reception at her parents’ country house next door. Georgie knows a thing or two about weddings – she works for The Wedding Present Co – and here she shares her tips on having your wedding at home.
Where shall we get married? One of the very first questions that will cross a newly engaged couple’s minds. Abroad, at a venue, in a field or at home? For us, it was a no-brainer to get married at home. In fact, I’m pretty sure my father had been prepping the garden for years, in anticipation of this day finally arriving.
I adored the idea of getting married at home – I loved the idea of being able to wake up in my own bed on the morning of my wedding day and getting ready at my leisure in the home that I had spent my childhood in.
“As long as you’re organised and you have great suppliers to support you, it will be the best decision you ever make”
So we booked our local church, and secured a marquee for our wedding reception. Below are my top tips of things to consider when hosting your wedding at home.
1. Research your marquee company
A marquee is an essential component for a quintessential English garden wedding, so it’s vital that you do your research when it comes to choosing a marquee company. Google, ask friends and family for recommendations, read reviews, browse Instagram feeds and online galleries. It’s vital to get an understanding of the marquee company’s style and capabilities, and whether they will be able to bring your vision to life.
One of the best things about a marquee is that it gives you free reign to design it as you like, it’s one of the most flexible options for a wedding venue. If you have solid ideas, make sure the company you choose are on board with these, and understand exactly what you want. If you aren’t sure what you want make sure you choose a company that is capable of many different styles so you can get inspiration from their past work.
Any half-decent marquee company will want a site visit – this is absolutely crucial and any company that doesn’t offer this free of charge is, in my opinion, a little questionable. Talk to them about your ideas and visions – show them pictures of your inspiration and make sure they help you understand the finer details.
Most marquee companies will be able to provide you with furniture, lighting, bars, stages, loos, generators… the list is endless. Ask them to include everything you might need and make sure you understand what it all means!
When having a wedding at home, make sure you have considered how much space you will need. It’s not just the space for your marquee and wedding guests you’ll need to think about – you’ll need to think about where your caterers will prepare food, where your loos will go (more on this later), where your fridge trailer will go (you’ll need one of these unless you have a gazillion fridges in the house for food and fizz).
You also need to figure out where the generator will go – and ALWAYS get a generator, you don’t want all the power to your marquee cutting out mid first dance, trust me, it happened to a family member of mine. Then finally you’ll want to think about how these areas will sit alongside your main marquee and reception area – do you want them hidden away or are you happy for them to be visible?
3. Wet weather option
Sadly, this is something we will always need to consider here in our fair British Isles. If you’re having a summer wedding and are planning to have part of your reception outside, is your marquee big enough for everyone to stand in should the heavens open? If you’re having a winter wedding, you might want to chat to your marquee company about having hard flooring under the marquee carpet.
If your marquee is in your garden, do you still have some good spots available for your wedding photos? It’s worth thinking about this when drawing up the position for your marquee.
5. Running the day
Wedding planners are a bit of an area of contention. Love them or loathe them, I would whole-heartedly recommend having someone responsible for the smooth running of the big day itself. We hired an ‘on the day coordinator’, just for the wedding day, who literally turned into our wedding fairy godmother. Okay, not ‘literally’. But she really was great.
When your wedding is at home, there are multiple suppliers that you will need to organise, and on the day itself it might feel like you’re running a military operation. Having someone to manage this is a godsend, meaning that you and your family can relax on the day without worrying if the band have turned up on time and whether the caterers are running to schedule. It will be the best money you spend.
Not the most exciting thing to talk about but crucial when having your wedding at home. Unless your mother/father are happy with your guests traipsing through their house to the loos, you will need to think about hiring some in.
Now we’re not talking builders portaloos, we’re talking luxury loos with scented hand soap and moisturisers and full-length mirrors for the girls to adjust their Spanx. Your marquee company should help you with these – let them handle the details on this one.
A common misconception for couples considering having their wedding at home is that it is the cheaper option. Be careful here. Whilst venue quotes can be heart-attack inducing at first, they will take everything into consideration; furniture, china, cutlery, electricity, catering, bar etc etc.
When you plan a wedding at home these are all things you will need to organise yourself and if you’re not careful the costs can mount up quickly. To manage this, it’s key to find excellent caterers and marquee providers who can help you with the finer details, which can help to keep the costs down.
One of the biggest benefits of having a wedding at home is that you have free reign of how you decorate your marquee. Whether you’re after that classic rustic décor or exotic bohemian finishes, a marquee is the perfect backdrop for this.
You can also have fun with lighting, a winter wedding marquee full of candles and fairy lights is truly one of the most romantic things you’ll ever see. Go to town, have big ideas and with the help of your marquee company bring them to life.
9. Personal touches
Another key benefit of having a wedding at home is that you only have your parents telling you no. No stuffy venue manager saying no to putting giant light up letters in the middle of the lawn, just mum and dad to negotiate and let’s face it – by the time you’re getting married you will be the master of parent negotiations. This means you can go wild with personal touches and unique elements that sum you up as a couple.
10. DO IT
It’s hard work but my god it’s worth it. Waking up in your own bed, looking out the window and seeing a huge, oversized tent that you know will be filled with all your favourite people in a matter of hours is such a special moment.
Pottering around doing the last minute touches, with your hair in rollers whilst seeing the caterers work their magic is truly amazing (ours had to be set up in our garage – seeing them creating the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted next to our old never-used treadmill is something I will remember for years!). As long as you’re organised and you have great suppliers to support you, it will be the best decision you ever make.
Georgie Evans is the web and marketing manager at The Wedding Present Co – thanks to her for sharing her ideas. Thanks to Tom Greenly of Richard Greenly Photography for the images from Georgie’s wedding – www.richardgreenlyphoto.co.uk
Dreamy places to say 'I do'.
Weddings are as chock full of myth and superstition as they are canapés and crazy relatives.
Times change, things move on... but some things are always worth cherishing. Here's Country Life's advice on the wedding traditions…
Flora Watkins pleads with brides-to-be to avoid the temptation to recruit a small army.
The secret of the classic country wedding is quality over quantity, says Giles Kime
Whether you splash out or keep it simple, one thing you shouldn't compromise on is your wedding clothes – and morning…