Getting married on a farm, at a park or in your grandparent’s backyard can be just the special touch you want for your wedding day. A non-venue wedding is always filled with sentimentality and personal touches from the couple. However, it can be a huge undertaking. It's reminiscent of the times when kings and queens would go on vacation for the summer and bring along all the comforts of their home, literally. Basically building a new city wherever they landed, they did not heed the advice of their mothers and pack light. If you are interested in following in their footsteps, below are 10 factors to consider when creating your venue from a non-venue.
1. Space: Consider the number of guests you are inviting, whether the ceremony, reception and dance will be held on the property, the type of reception you plan on having (ie. plated, buffet, BBQ) and parking. All are huge factors in determining if your home or private property will be able to accommodate such a big event.
2. Prep the property: A landscaping crew may be needed to help with some of necessary tasks, such as leveling ground by filling in holes. You really don't need someone tripping and getting injured on your property. Planting flowers, pruning trees and other lawn care all need to be considered with the event layout and theme in mind. Also, clear the property of potential hazards. If you are inviting children to your wedding, this step is especially important.
3. Be aware of the weather: Just as with any traditional venue, having tents on backup is always a good idea for chances of rain or excessive heat.
4. Rentals: A wedding on private property almost always requires more rentals than any other venue. Unless you are in the habit of personally storing tables and chairs for special occasions, you will need to rent. Along with a dance floor, decor items, linens, lighting, outdoor heaters and much more. Many traditional venues include most of these items in the cost of the space, so keep in mind that rentals are an important place to hold tight to your budget.
5. Lighting: If you plan to party into the wee hours of the morning, you will most definitely need lights. Plan out where your guests will be throughout the night and make sure these areas are well lit. Do not forget a lighted path to their vehicle either.
6. Bathrooms: Some private properties may have enough restrooms to service your guests. Most likely though, your home will not and it's usually easiest on your home, not to mention sewer system, to just rent a couple of bathrooms. They even have deluxe bathroom rentals now. You won’t need to sit in a stuffy, stinky Honey Bucket in your fancy wedding attire. You can tinkle in style!
7. Power: With all the extra lighting, music and electrical needs, please do yourself a favor and get a generator. The added power source will ensure the party doesn't stop until you are ready.
8. Permits/Restrictions/Insurance: Remember in Father of the Bride when the police show up because of the cars parked up and down the street? Yeah, don't let that happen to you. Check with the city and local fire department to be sure you are following all the laws and obtaining proper permits. Same goes for your music. Many areas have certain noise ordinances that need to be followed. Lastly, check with your homeowners insurance about 3rd party liability and possibly adding extra insurance for the event.
9. Vendor needs: Do not forget to ask your vendors if they have any special needs for the day. Most are used to working in traditional venues and you don't want to have a caterer with not enough food prep space. You may also consider adding security or an OLCC server to your vendor list to help with crowd control and underage drinking.
10. Clean up: One last thing to think about is hiring a cleaning crew or enlisting some reliable friends and family to help with the aftermath. If your wedding is outdoors, be sure to get a group together that evening to take care of trash and anything else that would attract wildlife. You will be surprised by all of the places people find to hide their wine glass or empty appetizer plate.
There are so many great things about having a wedding on private property, but there is also a lot to consider. Keep in mind that a non-venue wedding isn't always cheaper than a traditional venue wedding. Hiring a planner is especially important for non-venue weddings because of their detailed nature. A planner can help with all the aspects above and keep that budget where it needs to be. So go forth, be bold, and build your city, just remember this is not the time to pack light.