Can a Wedding at Home Save You Money?

Initial quotes from wedding venues may have you thinking a wedding at home could be so much cheaper. But whether you’re using your home, a friend/family member’s backyard or have found a place to rent, a wedding at home can come with its share of challenges. Before you commit, do the math and take these five things into consideration to determine potential cost savings — and if they’re worth your time and effort.

1. Know the Laws

Rules vary by town and state, but you may need a special event permit for a wedding at home — even if it’s a private property. You’ll also want to look up local noise ordinances, as they may dictate a hard stop to your wedding (and, regardless, you may want to give neighbors a heads up).

If you’re serving food and beverages, check your homeowner’s insurance policy and determine if you need additional coverage. Luckily, if you hire professionals, they should have proper insurance, understand food safety protocols and keep your guests safe, ensuring everyone has a good time.

2. Edit Your Guest List

Most wedding venues can tell you exactly how many people you can host. Before you fall in love with the idea of a wedding at home, create your guest list. Then consider the size of the house. Will guests fit comfortably? If not, can you whittle down your list?

A backyard wedding may give you more space, but what happens if the weather goes south? Do you or the homeowners want your wild 5-year-old cousins roaming in and out of your bedrooms? Will you clean before and after the event or will you need to hire professionals?

3. Consider Additional Vendors

There are logistics to consider like seating and sound. Even if you go the self-made playlist route, you’ll need speakers and a microphone for any toasts or emceeing to keep the festivities flowing. Along with music comes dancing. Will you rent flooring? As for seating, chairs can cost anywhere from $1.25 to $8 per chair depending on the style, according to Costhelper.com. You’ll want to make sure they’re a good height for your tables. Also, consider your bathroom situation. Are there enough? If you don’t like the idea of portable toilets, bathroom trailers are another option.

4. Think Decorations

Depending on the home, you may find it needs something to make it feel festive. Even if you’re armed with Pinterest boards, material costs add up, as does the time for all the little details and decisions. You may find it’s actually cheaper to hire someone for specific tasks.

Depending on the time of your wedding, you’ll also need functional lighting in addition to any candles or other mood lighting. Consider the fire hazards of candles — and how anxious you want to make the homeowners.

5. Choose a Caterer

According to ValuePenguin, couples can expect to spend an average of $30 per person on catering, not including beverages. Of course, depending on food choices, you can easily spend $100 per plate.

When you opt for a wedding at home, you’re not locked in to any venue-approved caterers. This freedom can save you money, but comes with additional research and decisions. Are they licensed? Who will provide linens, dishes and silverware? Do they set up and clean up? Where will they cook? Answering these questions is also critical if you decide to self cater your event. In addition, consider liability, delegate tasks to family and friends and prep what you can in advance (the freezer is your friend).

A wedding is all about you and your partner. If you keep each other in mind and do what matters to you both, you’ll have a memorable day no matter where it is or how much you spend. Once you’ve survived wedding planning, you’ll be ready to tackle any additional financial hurdles as a couple.

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