How to Plan a Small Wedding at Home

by Mary Beth Lentner

You have decided to get married in the comfort and familiarity of your own home. You want to keep the wedding small and intimate, yet personalized and memorable for family and guests. From festive backyard barbecues to white canopied formal events, small, at-home weddings take some planning and extra forethought. Consider the steps below to help you plan your small wedding at home.

How to Plan a Small Wedding at Home

Step 1

Decide what kind of wedding ceremony you would like to have and where it should be located in your home or on your home's grounds. For example, if you want a simple, cozy wedding, consider having an intimate wedding ceremony in your living room. If you have a nice backyard with lots of open space, plan an outdoor wedding ceremony underneath a small tent or gazebo. In short, make the best use of your home's distinctive features, such as an outdoor patio, pool, landscaped yard, barn or winding pathway, to host your wedding ceremony.

Step 2

Consider how your home's features could also be incorporated into a wedding reception area. For example, if you decide to have your wedding ceremony near a backyard creek, plan your reception underneath a sprawling white canopy near the same spot. Or if you plan to get married outside by your pool, consider hosting a reception in a nearby cabana or pool house. Use your surroundings to build your own personalized reception.

Step 3

Rent the items needed to comfortably seat guests at your home-based wedding ceremony and reception, such as tables, chairs and a tent. All of these items are available at your local event or party rental store.

Step 4

Plan your menu. Decide if you want to keep your menu simple and casual or elegant and formal. If a serve-yourself, backyard barbecue will do, consider preparing your own food, especially if you are a talented cook or have friends and family members who honestly do not mind helping. If you do opt to prepare your own food, carefully plan out the type of serving dishes, flatware, dishes and warming trays you will need. You can either borrow these items from family members or rent them from your local event or party store. On the other hand, if you want to serve a more elegant, sit-down meal and do not want to take on the challenge of preparing your own food, hire a caterer and wait staff to handle everything for you.

Step 5

Think about whether or not you want to serve alcohol. If you do want to offer alcohol, you will either need to purchase your own alcohol or hire a bar service to take care of all the details for you. If you purchase your own alcohol, do not forget to buy paper cups (if your wedding is casual), borrow stemware from friends and family or rent stemware from your local event or party rental store.

Step 6

Plan your entertainment. If you want to have dancing at your wedding reception, you will need to designate a large space in your home (such as a great room) or on your grounds (such as a patio) for this purpose. You can also rent a dance floor from your local event or party rental store. Also consider what type of music your will need, such as a string quartet to play a waltz during your ceremony or a disc jockey or band for dancing. Many local universities have students in their music programs who offer their musical services at home-based events inexpensively.

Step 7

Do not forget the decorations. Small, intimate weddings offer you the chance to use simple decorations that make grand statements. One of the most effective ways to decorate your home for a wedding is by using twinkling white lights and candles, especially if you are hosting an evening event. Lanterns and luminaries also add an air of simple elegance and ethereal beauty to an outdoor reception. And do not forget to use Mother Nature's natural gifts of flowers, trees and shrubbery to enhance your at-home wedding.

About the Author

Mary Beth Lentner has more than 10 years of writing and editing experience. Lentner's publications include dozens of articles for Record Publishing Company newspapers and magazines, as well as curriculum for the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Lentner holds a Master of Arts in teaching and Bachelor of Arts in English from Kent State University.