I’ve recently had an influx in clients coming to me to discuss their requirements for planning their wedding reception at their or their families homes. Getting married at your family home is certainly a dream for many, and I’ve seen a growing desire to do so in the last few months since COVID-19 has taken over, especially with venues closed. With venue costs hitting on average 15%-20% of your total budget, and with some venues enforcing restrictions such as specific caterers, alcohol and corkage costs, limitations on suppliers, times, access and so much more, as well as a continuing worry when it comes to deposits and wedding insurance since the dreaded C word… there is really no surprise that couples are thinking about celebrating their special day, in their special home with so many memories.
Imagine waking up in your own bed, or childhood bed on the morning of your wedding and getting ready at your leisure in your home that you have so many happy memories. But there are many considerations to look into before you start prepping those invites.
As yet in England we are unable to get married outside, and we must get married under a permanent structure (with a roof!) - and it must also be licensed. This is all doable, but does take time, plus you would need to have this structure unless you were to purchase. If this sounds like quite a bit of work, your wedding planner can help you organise, or it might be easier to consider your ceremony elsewhere and then come back to celebrate in your home.
Once you have your ceremony sorted, you now need to think about where you will party! The most logical structure would be a marquee of some form within your garden (unless you have some lovely barns you can turn into something fab!).
Start to research your marquee company and your options. You might have your heart set on a specific marquee style but it is important that your land can take a marquee. Start asking friends, Google, ask your wedding planner to create a list of companies with their rates, read reviews, browse social media and if you can try and see the marquees at a show or at the marquee companies premises. It is vital to get an understanding of the marquee company’s style, capabilities and whether they can bring your vision to life.
Marquee companies should be able to come out and take a look around your land. They would be able to let you know the size, how many guests that would hold, take a look at your electrics, advise on generators, flooring as well as make sure the land is viable for the marquee options. Show the company whilst they are within your home pictures of what you are thinking of. Talk to them about your visions and ideas, and let them tell you about what would work best for your area.
Some marquee companies visit for free, others might charge a fee that is redeemable against your booking. It is worth doing your research and looking into the companies and what they offer. You don’t want to commit to a tipi and be charged a fee, only to later change your mind to a trapeze marquee and the company is unable to provide this.
Most marquee companies will be able to provide not just the marquee itself, but also the furniture, lighting, bars, stages, loos, generators - the list is endless! When asking for the quotation, ask them to include everything you might need and also ask if it includes VAT.
If you are thinking of a winter wedding, ask about hard flooring under the marquee carpet as well as heating, and if a summer wedding, consider fans!
No question is too small or silly, so if you have any, now is the time to ask.
When you have a wedding held within your home, it can feel like the best idea in the world. Sipping on Pimms, celebrating your great idea, you are forgiven for thinking that this will be a simple task! Looking around your grounds you might think it will happily house 100 guests or so, but it is really tricky unless you are used to calculating square footage and space for an event to really see what the space will be when you have all guests, staff, marquee, catering, bar and everything else in place.
You will need to think about:
- Catering: Where will the caterers prepare food, cook and serve? Where will the staff gather to collect the food? Will there be electric, running water?
- Where will your loos go? (more on this later!)
- Where will your fridge trailer go?
- What is access like to the grounds?
- Where will the generator go?
- Do you want these elements to be hidden away, or are you happy for them to be visible?
- With the marquee in the garden, do you still have space and good spots for your wedding photos, it is worth thinking about this when drawing up the position of your marquee.
- Size of the marquee is so important -quite often we look at the marquee as though the guests are all seated at their tables, plus perhaps a separate dance floor and stage. But, what happens when or if it rains and you need all 100 guests to move into the marquee, is there enough space for 100 plus guests to stand in should the heavens open?
It might all seem a little overwhelming, lots to think about, but with a wedding planner on board like myself, this can be really simplified for you.
End of part one… in part two learn about those all important extras you just cannot forget.
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