A Guide To Home Wedding Receptions

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Don't worry about travel on your wedding day if you throw a warm and wonderful wedding reception at home.

The Benefits Of Hosting A Wedding Reception At Home

Outside venues offer the convenience of letting someone else take care of most of the details. Taking responsibility and hosting your wedding at home, however, actually offers many advantages including:

  • Individuality: Create a special day that truly reflects your interests, personalities and the nature of your love for one another.
  • Time: You won't have to wait a year or more for your big day, as you would at most outside venues. Additionally, you don't have to worry about whether your ceremony site and reception site will be available on the same date. If you're planning to marry in six months or less, home wedding receptions are ideal.
  • Intimacy: Home weddings are by nature more intimate than those at outside venues.
  • Fewer restrictions: You decide whether flash photography is allowed, what kind of music is appropriate and how your party will be organized. (Of course you'll still have to obtain any necessary permits required by your town for this type of party, and conform to town laws.)
  • Budget control: Home wedding receptions aren't always less expensive than outside venues; however, you'll have much more control of every expense involved.
  • Meaning and memories: A home reception is an incredibly meaningful experience. Every time you walk through these rooms afterward, you'll be flooded with happy memories.

Early Home Wedding Reception Planning

Once you're sure a home wedding reception is right for you, you'll be ready to make the basic decisions that will form the foundation for the rest of your party planning:

  • Location: Would you like an indoor or outdoor reception? Remember you'll need to rent a tent for outdoor events.
  • Ceremony: Are you having a religious or a spiritual ceremony? Will you be taking traditional vows or writing your own? Will your ceremony be at home or will it be at your house of worship with a home reception afterward?
  • Formality: Home weddings can be black tie formal events, bathing suit pool parties or anything in between. Think about how formal you'd like your reception to be, whether you'd like a day or evening event and whether your menu will be sit-down or buffet style.
  • Music: Are you planning on having music at your reception? If so, what style? This is also the time to think about whether you'd prefer live music, a DJ or just a prerecorded mix of your own.
  • Dancing: If guests will be dancing, you'll need enough space and a good dancing surface. For indoor dancing, moving some furniture aside will probably be necessary. If you'll be dancing outdoors, plan on renting a dance floor to give guests a safe and level surface underfoot.

Home Wedding Reception Budget Considerations

Calculating a home wedding reception budget involves some different factors than those involved with an outside venue. Initially you can plan on saving a significant amount since you won't have to pay to rent a hall. Additionally you'll dodge the expense of limousines you would have had to hire to take you and important members of the wedding to and from the hall.

You will have to plan for some expenses that wouldn't come up if you were using an outside venue, including:

  • Private caterer (unless you are doing your own cooking)
  • Tent rental
  • Dance floor rental
  • Portable toilet rental
  • Generator rental
  • Home and garden decorations
  • Rental of glassware, silver, plates, chairs, tables and table linens.
  • Cleaning service to get the home ready and pick up afterward.

Keeping Comfortable

A home wedding reception usually involves a houseful of guests who may not be familiar with your home. Here are a few steps you can take to insure that they are happy and comfortable on your happy day:

  • Hang pretty signs on bathroom doors so guests will be able to find restrooms without confusion.
  • Put out attractive paper hand towels by the bathroom sink so everyone doesn't have to share one cloth towel.
  • Keep a basket with extra rolls of toilet paper in plain view in the bathroom.
  • Maintain a comfortable temperature indoors with heat and air conditioning.
  • Keep outdoor areas comfortable with citronella candles and fans to repel insects.
  • In addition to a formal bar, have a beverage station or table where guests will be able to help themselves to water or soft drinks at any time.
  • Designate a safe, kid-friendly space where children can grab some down time if needed. This area might include lounge cushions, video games or a television.

Creating An Unforgettable Home Wedding Reception

One of the nicest things about having your wedding reception at home is being able to decorate in a very personal way. These touches might be just right for your event:

  • Wedding arch entwined with flowers, ribbons and lights
  • Floral centerpieces that match bridal party colors
  • Tall, elegant candles
  • A personalized aisle runner with bride and groom's names or a favorite romantic quote
  • Strings of party lights
  • Ribbons
  • Displays of personal photos and memorabilia

Safety & Security

Having your wedding reception at home means a busy house full of guests and hired help. Chances are everyone is responsible and trustworthy; still, taking some simple precautions makes sense. During your party:

  • Lock doors to rooms containing valuables and private personal/financial items or store these things in a personal safe.
  • Put away fragile items that might break.
  • Consider adding a home event rider to your home insurance policy.
  • If a guest has too much to drink, don't allow him to drive.

You'll be glad you took some time to plan ahead as you relax and enjoy a warm and personal celebration of love and commitment, right in your own home.

Last Updated: July 11, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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