While Namibia Planners represent a number of gorgeous venues, we are also aware that some people consider having their wedding reception at home, and need advice and suppliers of everything, from caterers to florists, to achieve their dreams. Weddings at home present special challenges and opportunities for a bride-to-be and her family. I’ve been lucky enough to both attend home weddings and have my own reception at home. Here are ten reasons why this can be a really special option.
- You create beautiful memories in a significant place
If your family home is a place you grew up, or where the family has lived for generations, then it can be particularly meaningful to hold your wedding or reception there. Perhaps your grandmother was born in a room in the old farmhouse, or you and your fiancé first kissed under the big thorn tree at the bottom of the garden?
My husband and I held our reception in a marquee in his parent’s beautiful garden. Preparing for the wedding there was extra fun because it helped me bond with my mother-in-law (and learn to negotiate with her too!). It became even more poignant as years went by and we took our children there for holidays with the grandparents and could show them where we had been married.
2. You save on the cost of the venue
An obvious up-side to holding your wedding reception at home is the saving you make on one of the biggest potential expenses in your wedding budget: venue hire. If your family home has a lovely view or a gorgeous garden, then you are tremendously fortunate that you can make use of it for free, or at least just for the cost of hiring stretch tents or a marquee, if needed, and any additional catering equipment.
3. You have more choice with service providers
Many venues insist you use their in-house catering services and bar, and naturally, you will usually use their tables, chairs, cutlery and other tableware. If you get married at home, you have far more possibilities when it comes to catering and getting what you want, such as a decadent vegan buffet or an inexpensive but delicious sheep braai, and that on-trend gin bar. You can also potentially find something that better suits your budget.
4. You can be more creative with your decor
If you get married at home, your dad is a lot more likely to be understanding and helpful about you running fishing gut for the pretty paper lanterns across the veranda ceiling, or creating a giant fire pit for guests to dance around. A venue may insist you use their preferred decorators or the existing decor in their restaurant if they are picky about their brand. If you want to add fairy lights to a tree or erect a trendy teepee, at home this will be your choice. At a venue, you have to consider them being precious about their lawn or ceiling.
5. You can save a huge amount of time
While you may have to make a lot more of the arrangements yourself that a venue might usually take care of, you will have the potential advantage of being able to fit things in around your own schedule. Some dreamy venues are far out of town, or at least not that close to your neighbourhood, so you have to do a lot of travelling to measure for the lights, or sample the menu.
As the time for the wedding draws closer, you can find yourself frantically scurrying to and from the venue to add last-minute finishing touches. If your wedding is at home, it’s much easier to prepare and store items in advance or have them delivered and set up the day before. A wedding venue might not be able to allow you to start setting up until the morning of the wedding if they have other events on the night before.
6. You can use more of your own things
We were able to use a lot of our own flowers, tableware, linen and candelabras because they were all right there under our noses. Last minute hitches were easy to solve with a dive into mother-in-law’s linen kist or silverware drawer, or a nip into the garden for a few roses and foliage to fill in a skimpy floral arrangement.
7. You can call in family and friend favours more easily
It’s a synch to get your handy brother-in-law to pop round and erect a temporary archway every other weekend before the wedding (and then offer him dinner and a nice cold beer as a reward) when you’re doing things at home. Your bridesmaids can pop round for their dress fittings and then practice your jazzy entrance dance and stay for lunch.
It’s a lot more of an ask if you need to get everyone out to a venue a few times and this takes more of their time and yours, plus involves the potential expense of coffees or a meal out for those who’ve made the trip. Doing this at home is much more relaxed, too.
8. You can build a wonderful sense of family and community
There is a sense of warmth, family and community about an at-home wedding. If you involve friends and family, as well as local suppliers and caterers, it can be a really heart-warming experience that bonds the whole close community.
We had an elderly neighbour offer us his beautiful antique red car for our drive to and from church, and he enjoyed being the driver almost as much as we enjoyed the ride and the boost to our photos! Local friends offered flowers and autumn berries typical of the town for our flower arrangements, and we used a local chap to help with the meat, as well as friends and family providing their special salads. It was a really special community experience.
9. No-one else’s wedding photos will be quite like yours
Some friends might have different-wedding-same-venue photos for their weddings, but that is unlikely to happen in your case. A wedding at home is going to be unique. So, unless you are worried your sister is going to out-shine you at your childhood home in a few years’ time, this is a great incentive to get married at home!
10. You can build or plant things to last
If you get married at your own home, you can create something that will last beyond the wedding itself. This is economical, eco-friendly and also very special. Imagine a deck built at your new home, which will first be used as your wedding dance floor, and then be the spot you one day play with your toddler before your old wedding guests come round for dinner? Or what about a pergola that serves as the place you make your wedding vows, which you grow roses over for future garden parties?
A lovely example of this was a farm where the farmer’s son cleared a patch of land between the trees of an overgrown forest to make a small outdoor chapel and lay out a dance floor for his wedding. When he inherited the farm, he and his wife started a thriving business there where many couples have been married in the magical space created for that first wedding.
Namibia Planners love to hear from you about your experiences or hopes for a wedding at home. Share your stories in the comments so we can all pick up ideas!