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Allix Cott is the Head of Editorial Communications at Carats & Cake. Launched in 2013, Carats & Cake curates the best of weddings across the country to allow couples to find top vendors and venues by location. The platform empowers local businesses by bringing their brands to life through real content and enabling them to run more efficiently through smart, elegant tools.

Hosting one of the most memorable days of your life in the comfort of your own home is a luxury packed with sentiment and exclusivity. An outdoor ceremony setup in your backyard or a layout designed to showcase some of the most architecturally pleasing elements of your site makes for an event that exudes charm. We sought advice from the wedding industry’s elite on tips for hosting a home celebration that’s completely stress-free.

Allocate private rooms

“When throwing an event at your home, especially an event where multiple people need space to dress and get ready, securing an array of private rooms is essential to making sure guests can get ready on-site. With a large bridal party, secure multiple spaces with access to mirrors, restrooms, and impromptu dressing areas.”
– Andrea Eppolito, Owner, Andrea Eppolito Events

Keep track of the sun

“Lighting is key, so make sure you plot the path of the sun or sunset at the time of day you want for your ceremony, and to set up your decor accordingly. You may want your photographer to come and take a look at the space at a certain time of day, so they can give the best advice as to ceremony location or even which direction to face.”
– Julie Bunkley, Owner and Creative Director, Invision Events

Look to past generations

“The use of family heirlooms is a great way to integrate home elements into the setup of a private outdoor space. Incorporating sentimental features into a ceremony display not only evokes personal memories but ties in with the event’s intimate theme.”
– Rebekah Sams, Event Designer, Gillespie’s Flowers and Productions

Spruce up your home’s decorative details

“Adding potted plants to an outdoor area where you plan to host your ceremony, or incorporating indoor elements of decor that exemplify your day-of theme, can elevate a private residence by adding a hint of unexpected luxury.”  
– Kat Braman, Owner, Kat Braman

Play up versatility

“Sometimes the most elegant and efficient way to make an impact at your private home ceremony is to feature lush blooms and greens in your color palette on an impactful stand or tall vase. The wonderful thing about this design concept, is that you can then move them and re-use them at the reception, or anywhere else that needs a pop of fresh floral. The stands highlight the ‘altar’ area where the two of you will exchange vows, so that no matter where your ceremony takes place, it still feels like a special and revered space.”
– Jennifer Ederer, Owner and Creative Director, Modern Day Events and Floral

Capture the character

“Capturing moments that reveal the character of your venue or private home space—whether in the doorway of a family barn or on the staircase of a Tudor-style mansion—can really help to translate the overall theme and feel of your wedding day; a detail often showcased through the story of your photographs.”
– Trent Bailey, Founder, Trent Bailey Studio

Consider practical rentals

“Rentals are vital when it comes to hosting a wedding in your home. Tables for an intimate reception, an outdoor lounge during cocktail hour, and other decorative furniture elements for your ceremony, should all be considered during the design stages.”
– Kelly Leonard, Owner and Lead Producer, Event of the Season

Amplify your I Do’s

“Anytime there is an at-home ceremony, an often overlooked, yet very important detail, is including an amplification package through either your musicians or DJ. This way, guests will be able to hear the ceremony and your vows versus straining to hear what is being said.”
 – Lindsay Jani, Creative Director and Owner, Simply Sunshine Events

Seek site significance

“Choose a ceremony site with intention. The front porch or tree grove where the two of you first held hands, shared a kiss, or said ‘I love you’ can become the most meaningful location for your ceremony.”
– Chelsey Morrison, Owner & Principal Designer, Gather Together

Choose a menu with meaning

“We love seeing couples embrace their wedding menu with foods that embody some sort of relationship significance; whether it’s bite-size mac and cheese hors-d’oeuvres that serve as an ode to their Wisconsin upbringing or an intimate seafood reception that correlates with an oceanfront first date, a private home wedding lends itself to an array of intimate details that can vary throughout the entirety of the event.”
– Lindsey Nickel, Owner, Lovely Day Events

Utilize architectural elements

“In place of a traditional altar, this couple embraced the distinctiveness of the space—the groom’s family home in wine country—using magnolia leaves to create a striking frame of the doorway. Simple and innovative, the makeshift arch became the backdrop of their ceremony, a feature that came across effortlessly in photographs.”
– Laura Kleinhenz, Owner, Docuvitae

Don’t skimp on staff

“From waiters to bartenders, just because you are hosting your wedding at your home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat it like any other public venue. Make sure to have plenty of staff on-hand to cater to both you, and your guests.”
– Brandi Reiland, Owner + Creative Director, Soiree Weddings & Events

Complement permanent features

“Design aspects of the ceremony and reception to include the most beautiful areas of your home while still keeping the flow of event in mind such as planning the ceremony on the side lawn, cocktail hour around the pool, dinner in the dining room, and dancing on the back patio.”
– Becca Knuth, Managing Partner and Wedding Planner, Asheville Event Co.

Consider alternate seating

“We love using benches for a backyard wedding because it creates a more casual and intimate environment. It gives your guests the opportunity to sit close to their loved ones while they witness such a special celebration.”
– Brooke Keegan, Creative Director, Brooke Keegan Special Events

Include live entertainment

“If space allows, integrating a live band or a version of live entertainment, is a memorable way to kick-off cocktail hour, or set the scene for any private home ceremony. Allocate space for this inclusion prior to setup to ensure there is plenty of room for your band, and for your guests to dance the night away.”
– Lori Stephenson, Owner and Principal Consultant, LOLA Event Productions

Outsmart the forecast

“We always craft a plan B, hoping we will not need to put it into action, but knowing it’s better to have instead of a relying on a last-minute scramble of decisions. Tents are a great option as they can still let in natural light and views of the beautiful outdoor ceremony site you chose. On sunny days, chic tents are a great way for creating an additional bit of shade.”
– Heidi Hughett, Lead Planner and Owner, Coastside Couture

Frame stunning indoor shots

“When staging home photographs, one of the most important things I look for is flawless window lighting. Some of the traits that make for a timeless window shot is a neutral wall color, a distraction-free outdoor scene, as well as a lack of blinds, if possible. The frame from a window creates the perfect backdrop for stunning indoor wedding photos, especially within a residence.”
– Jeanann Wilkinson, Owner, J Wilkinson Co Fine Art Photography

Capture unexpected opulence

“Whether it’s a dramatic staircase, mesmerizing entryway, or theatrical balcony, finding striking sites within your home not only enhances your photos but makes capturing moments of your day that much more magical.”
– Heather KingenSmith, Owner, KingenSmith

See more wedding ideas:

23 Fresh Floral Ideas for the Ultimate Summer Wedding Tablescape
45 Refreshing Ideas for the Unconventional Bride
Would You Host Your Wedding at an Airbnb?

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