There’s really nothing more personal than getting married at your childhood home. (Cue scenes from Father of the Bride, right?!) Or maybe you or your beloved have a family member or close friend that has a spectacular home or amazing property with unbelievable views. Either way, there are definitely some wonderful advantages to having your wedding at a private residence or property.

For starters, the sentimental value clearly is through the roof. It’d be unique and personal. Depending on where the home is, it could also be very private. And within reason, you can kind of do whatever your little heart desires and have a seriously awesome party.

But while this is indeed a fab idea, there are some big things to consider before you set anything in stone…

  • Rental Needs: Chances are the home or private residence that you’re considering for your big day isn’t equipped with enough tables, chairs, linens, dinnerware, barware…you see where I’m going? Unless you’re having a very intimate affair with only a small guest list, you will have to work with a rental company. You’ll most likely also have to rent a tent or two (or more!). (Hello, rain plan.)
  • Bathrooms: This could probably be looped into the point above, but I think important enough to have it’s own bullet point. So you’re ok with having to bring in all the rentals, but what’s the bathroom situation? Are they easy to get to? Do you really want guests traipsing through your home or through parts of the property to get to them? Thankfully, most rental companies have nice restroom trailers or portable bathroom options that are definitely decent alternatives to the good ol’ porta-potties and better than drunk guests meandering through your home.
  • Water + Electricity: While these two don’t go hand-in-hand, they’re two key things to your wedding day. Catering will need access to water and power to serve you and your guests. The band or DJ will definitely need power to run their equipment. And that nice restroom trailer you’ve rented? It will need electricity, too, and maybe even access to water. If it’s a small enough affair that you don’t mind a little higher utility bill and have the water and electricity capabilities, you should be just fine. But if your event is taking place somewhere on the property away from the home or just need more water and power in general, you’ll need to add generators to your list of needs. (And then they’ll need enough gas to power everything for the duration of your wedding.)
  • Parking: Whether you’re expecting a large crowd or have planned for an ultra low-key affair, there will be an increase in traffic and cars where the home or property is located. Remember that scene in Father of the Bride where the cops show up? (Here’s a little refresher for you.) You will need to come up with a good parking plan and most likely enlist the help of a valet company or hire parking attendants to ensure it’s a smooth process for your guests. That should also help keep the local law enforcement and the neighbors happy, too. And if you’re getting married at a ranch or a farm with ample space, I definitely recommend having excellent signage directing guests where to park, as well as having parking attendants to help make it smooth for all involved and perhaps even a way to shuttle guests to and from if necessary.
  • Vendor Logistics: There are so many things to think through from a logistics standpoint when hosting a wedding at your home or a private residence that otherwise you wouldn’t have to think of if you were getting married in a church or venue. Is the property big? Will the ceremony take place away from where the bride is getting dressed? Speaking of, is there a good place to get dressed? Or will you have to get dressed somewhere else? How will the bride get to the ceremony location without all the guests seeing her? Can the vehicles that will deliver the rental equipment get in and out easily? Is there space for generators to hook up? Can the kitchen handle all the catering needs and staff? Or what about the tent that catering will require if the event is all outside? Is there room for that? What if the vendors can’t pick up rental equipment after the wedding is over? Are you prepared to have it sitting there until Monday and be there for when they do?

In the end, getting married at a private residence can be wonderful…as long as you’re prepared and know what you’re getting into! And if you are considering getting married at home or have any questions about getting married at a private residence, I’d love to hear from you!