It was lovely. The temperature didn’t get above 80 degrees all day, and the humidity was non-existent. The bride and groom looked wonderful, especially once the ceremony started! Here it is in pictures.
What we did right:
- We hired vendors for renting tables and chairs, buffet dinner, and the dessert. We could have made dinner and dessert, but why start a party too exhausted to enjoy it?
- We made our own tablecloths to go over the white ones. This ensured that the colors were exactly what the bride wanted, and it was the right amount of decoration without have too much “stuff.”
- We used one type of flower, Gerber daisies. Arrangements, including the bouquet, were done in minutes.
- Food was served buffet-style, which is best for gatherings under 100 guests.
- We had local food on the menu, which was a hit for the folks from Pennsylvania.
- The bar was simple: tea, water, wine, beer, and lemonade for the kids.
What could have been different:
- Instead of full square tablecloths, we could have made table runners. Same splash of color, but faster to make.
- We had several appetizers, but two would have been fine. The crab cakes just didn’t work out, but it didn’t matter in the end.
What anyone hosting a wedding at home should do:
- HIRE SERVERS. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Spend the $200 on two responsible college students or wait staff with a night off to make your life easier. I was never able to get my kitchen and dining room cleaned from staging and setting up because I kept having to run around answering questions. My sister (the mother of the bride) and I ran around putting out food and cleaning up, and she missed being in some of the photos.
- Have a backup plan if the ceremony doesn’t start on time, or if the guests have to wait on the bridal couple at all. The groom was caught in awful traffic and arrived at 4:00, which was when the ceremony should have started. We had drinks set up in the backyard, so we directed everyone back there until the bride and groom were ready. Instant cocktail party!
- If there isn’t a coordinator for the day, ask someone who you trust to make sure events flow in the correct order and at the time specified by the bridal couple. There were several instances that others tried to help move things along during the evening – it got a little confusing at various points. Nothing serious, just odd. Have an approved plan, and make sure all family members know it exists and who is in charge of it.
Would I host another wedding at home? Yes – it’s a lovely and intimate way to start a newly wedded couple on their way. My own wedding was in this same backyard 16 years ago. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about what we did or you just want my opinion – I do love giving it! And tell us your experiences – good and bad – in the comments.