Thinking about planning a wedding in your parents' backyard? An at-home wedding can help you plan a unique, personalized event, but these parties may require some extra planning, especially if you're looking at a spring or summer date. To avoid the classic comedic scenes from Father of the Bride—meltdowns included—here's everything you need to know about tying the knot in your childhood home before you dive in.
You'll need to get an event insurance plan.
Before you get started hiring vendors and kicking off the planning process for your backyard wedding, make sure you have proper insurance to cover damage to your parents' home, your personal liability as hosts, and the many hiccups that could happen along the way. There are plenty of companies that offer event insurance, or you may be able to purchase a policy through your (or your parents') homeowners insurance broker.
Have a rain plan.
A rain plan is crucial when you're planning a spring or summer backyard wedding. In most cases, renting a tent with drop-down walls will do the trick. Even if rain isn't in the forecast for the big day, you'll need to consider the weather in the days leading up to the event. Did it rain for three straight days the week before your nuptials? You'll likely need to bring in a hard dance floor as the grass will still be soft. Similarly, determine if it will be possible for guests to still walk on the lawn for the ceremony.
Find out if you need any permits and plan to comply with restrictions.
Local city regulations may require you to pull permits for parking, noise, or simply for having an event of a particular size. Be sure to do your homework on this, as every town has their own rules and those rules occasionally change. Most towns have a standard time when noise needs to end, usually around ten or eleven o'clock. Your parents may be able to pull permits to go a little later, but it depends on the rules of the town and their property location.
Hire shuttles or valet.
If your parents live in an area where parking will be an issue, you may be able to hire shuttles to and from a parking area or hire a valet company to shuttle cars to a nearby lot . If your parents live in a city where taxi services are readily available, encouraging guests to get dropped off might be your best bet.
Be a good neighbor.
Complying with noise restrictions and dealing with parking in an appropriate manner is part of being a good neighbor. Your parents might also want to invite their neighbors to your wedding or send them a nice gift with a note explaining that you'll be hosting the event there on a certain date and hope that it doesn't inconvenience them too much.
Be prepared for the wear and tear.
When you have a large group of people traipsing through a property over the course of many hours, you're bound to end up with a bit of wear and tear. Be sure to discuss this with your parents prior to the wedding and come up with a clear plan of who will be financially responsible for damage that isn't covered by insurance. If possible, keep as much of the party outside as you can. This not only takes the stress off your parents having to prepare the house as they see fit, but limits wear and tear to outdoor areas that are generally easier to fix.
Bring in a satellite kitchen.
Have a chat with your catering team about their kitchen needs. Some caterers prefer to do all their cooking off-site for a private property wedding while others may require a stove, grill, and more. To take the stress off your parents, setting up a satellite kitchen outdoors may be the best way to handle on-site cooking.
Rent portable restrooms.
Most homes don't have the facilities to deal with a mass influx of people using their restrooms and it's unnecessary to put that stress on your parents and their home. Portable restrooms are available in a variety of sizes and luxury styles and they're one of the best investments you can make for your wedding. Event planners usually guesstimate around 40-50 guests per restroom. You may also have the option to hire a restroom attendant with your rental, which guarantees someone will be dealing with garbage as it fills up, refilling toilet paper, and keeping the space tidy.
Check the outdoor lighting for safety.
The safety of your guests should be at the top of your wedding priority list and that often means bringing in additional lighting for pathways. As well, you'll probably want some decorative lighting for the event areas. You can easily rent all of these elements and have them installed for you by professionals.
Decide if you'll need a generator.
Depending on the power you'll need for lighting, restrooms, a kitchen, your band, and more, you may need to supplement the electrical setup at your parents' place. Bring in an electrician to identify the number of accessible circuits to pull from, or see if your lighting installer may be able to help with this. A backup generator may be necessary, which you can also rent for the day.
Hire a clean-up crew.
While your parents will probably tell you it's not necessary, hiring a cleaning crew to come in the day after the wedding is a really nice way to thank them for hosting. While vendors usually do their best to clean up following an event, it's often dark and difficult to see what mess is left behind. Your caterer should be able to coordinate garbage removal, but be sure to clarify this prior to the wedding so your parents aren't left to deal with it. No matter what, don't expect your friends and family to pitch in.