Top tips for your At-Home weddings from wedding planner Pocketful of Dreams
At home weddings, on your own private estate, can be a really beautiful experience, or they can be a really stressful one. It’s all about how you approach it says Michelle Kelly*, leading luxury wedding planner at Pocketful of Dreams.
*Wedding planner Michelle will be in attendance at the Papakåta Autumn Open Weekend on the 14th & 15th October. Join us at Escrick Park where you will be able to meet Michelle in person and chat through your own wedding and event plans!
There is no greater experience than having those loving and tender moments at the family home so that you are always able to look back with fond memories and know just how personal your day was. You also have the advantage of making your day exactly as you want it, you have the flexibility and opportunity to craft your own perfect day without any restrictions on which suppliers you have to use, or set packages which often don’t meet the needs of luxury wedding planning couples.
When planning an at-home wedding reception we have a few tips to share.
Consider the practical and logistical wedding elements first
You are building your entire wedding from the ground up. Essentially you are creating your own wedding venue and along with that comes a lot of considerations. So first of all start with all the practical elements: which spaces will you use? How many people will fit into those spaces? Do you need to bring in further structures such as tents/marquees? What’s the access like for your supply team and your guests? Can you host everything at your home from the bridal preparations through to ceremony and then reception or will you need to go offsite for some of it?
You will generally need more loo’s than the average home provides, so think about bringing in portable toilets for the event. There are plenty of options nowadays for swankier and more refined toilets than those found at festivals.
Another practicality is access to water and power. Large estates will often have water pipes on the land so you’ll need to consider how accessible this is, particularly for your caterers. Power access is less of an issue as you can bring generators to the site that will power everything for your celebration, just make sure they are the hush-hush type and not too noisy.
Think about your wedding guests: transport and accommodation
Consider how guests will reach you, do you need to provide them with information about local transport links or support their travel by collecting them from nearby stations? Will there be enough space for everyone to park, or do you need to arrange localised parking and a valet service? Consider setting up a wedding website where you can communicate all these details succinctly.
If you plan on having a wedding that’s longer than just one day, i.e. a weekend wedding, think about accommodation for your guests too. Are there plenty of accommodation options locally or do you have lots of land available to set-up your own glamping hotel? The latter works brilliantly for relaxed summer weddings, just remember you will also need to provide showering facilities and a vanity tent for the ladies. We’ve added hot tubs too in the past for a real luxury experience.
Choose your wedding suppliers carefully
Once you have these practical elements locked down it’s time to think about your dream team. Who are the people that are going to help you make this happen?
So that’s all of your suppliers from the marquee/tent company (PapaKåta obviously!), to the caterer, bar team, entertainment, rentals (e.g. furniture, linens, crockery and glassware, dance floor), transport, celebrant/officiant, through to the visual team such as your florist, stationery, decor providers and wedding stylist.
It’s a lot of work to find, manage and then coordinate all of these people so our advice is don’t try this on your own, seek help, either from a luxury wedding planner with experience of private estate and at-home weddings or pull in help from friends and family. Remember you may be able to manage all of this in the months prior to your wedding but do you really want to be managing the finer detail on your actual wedding day or the weekend itself?
Ask each of your suppliers how much experience they have with at home weddings, or how many private estates they have worked on. There are many vast differences to working on a private estate v’s working in a venue, so choose suppliers with the right experience so you can capitalise on their knowledge.
Designing your perfect at home wedding
When it comes to the overall look, feel and vibe of your at-home wedding, this is where you are at such an advantage. You can literally do whatever you want to make the day your own.
If you are working within a true blank canvas space like a marquee, Sperry Tent or a Teepee, I know it can often feel really daunting to even know where to begin. You may have hundreds of ideas, the key is in narrowing it down to a select few that make the day feel personal and cohesive.
You don’t want to look like Pinterest threw up all over your wedding, so enlist the help of an experienced wedding designer and wedding stylist who can help you navigate this area. They will tease out your ultimate vision and create a design for you that will work beautifully in your space, bringing ideas to the table that you hadn’t thought of, and ones that are perfectly personal and unique to you.
Plan ahead and be prepared
Plan, plan and then plan some more. A good wedding planner will support you with this, drawing up timelines for your wedding activity and also for the set-up and breakdown stages too. It all needs to be considered and very carefully orchestrated.
With multiple suppliers working together, careful management is crucial to ensure everything happens when it should. So if one turns up late or doesn’t finish their element on time, the next one cannot start and so the domino effect begins. This can ultimately lead to quite a chaotic and stressful experience for all, so having someone onsite who can manage this for you saves a lot of stress.
Also think about any little repairs, maintenance or gardening that needs to be arranged at home. You want to make sure it is looking it’s very best so plan these jobs in advance so you’re not left worrying about them near the day.
Always have a backup plan for your at home weddings
You will need contingency plans for key elements like changes in weather. You may dream of having a beautifully atmospheric ceremony outside in the sunshine, but the weather gods may have other ideas. Sometimes weather can change really quickly, going from dreadful one minute to glorious the next.
As you are at home for your wedding, you have a little more flexibility with your timings than in a more rigid space. We’ve helped couples through this so many times when the weather has turned. Our quick thinking to implement a few minor adjustments to their day has meant they still had the wedding they dreamed of and everyone had a lovely experience.
This is where a calm and collected wedding planner is worth their weight in gold. Because the last thing you want to be doing is considering all the variable options to solve a situation and then making huge decisions just before you are about to get married.
Do your due diligence
Make sure you check with the local authorities about noise restrictions and licensing issues. And be courteous to your neighbours by letting them know well in advance, the best way to keep them on side is simply to invite them.
Be mindful of how everyone feels
Consider the impact an event will have on your home and family. It is an intense process that can seem chaotic during the set-up phase, there’s a lot of supplier activity, sometimes large trucks will be onsite for a few days and often there is a lot of noise.
Make sure everyone involved is fully prepared for this and trust that the teams you have employed are professional people and will respect your home and land, there’s no point trying to micro-manage them every step of the way.
It’s worth thinking about security too, there will be a lot of equipment and unusual activity taking place which can often attract unwanted attention, remember this is your home when all is said and done.
Don’t forget the aftermath
The final consideration is in the aftermath of the celebration. The last thing you want to be doing is cleaning up after your wedding. So again ensure you have thought it through to the very end and enlisted support with the clean-up operation. Build this into your supplier commissions and definitely think about hiring in appropriate waste disposal facilities.
For more stunning images by David Jenkins visit Cleo & Jame’s Sperry Wedding on the PapaKata Gallery
As you can see there is so much more to consider with an at home or private estate wedding, typically a wedding venue will have all of these elements covered for you so you will need to have a really solid plan for how you will tackle it all.
Is it worth it? Absolutely 100% yes.
You really cannot beat that feeling of creating such a unique celebration yourself from scratch. It’s an exceptional and deeply personal experience both for you and your guests, one that no-one else will have ever again. That is, until your vow renewal of course!
Pocketful of Dreams are UK wedding planners, creating authentic celebrations and considered gatherings. They create impeccably designed and flawlessly executed weddings, events and experiences. Read more of their wedding planning advice and stylish take on wedding styling ideas.
Wedding planner Michelle will be at the Papakåta Autumn Open Weekend on the 14th & 15th October. Join us at Escrick Park where you will be able to meet Michelle in person and chat through your own wedding and event plans! PKx