At-home weddings have a whole host of specific needs of their own that don’t come into play at venue weddings. Take into consideration these 5 essential tips for throwing an amazing at-home wedding.

At-home weddings have a whole host of specific needs of their own that don’t come into play at venue weddings.

1. Regulations

Make sure your home is zoned for a large affair like a wedding before you begin planning. If you’re not in a gated community, check zoning regulations at your city hall. If you are in a gated community, look to the HOA’s guidelines. Are there any restrictions on how many people can park at your house? If so, is alternative parking available nearby? Are there noise restrictions? Do you need a permit? Make sure you have all your ducks in a row so your wedding doesn’t get shut down mid-party. It also helps to inform your neighbors beforehand, so they know what’s going on and don’t call the police to join you on your big day.

2. Space

Whether you’re having your ceremony inside your home or in the yard, make sure there is enough space to accommodate all of your guests, while still leaving room for mingling and dancing. Naturally, indoor weddings are usually more intimate affairs with fewer guests than outdoor ones. However, backyard attractions like in-ground pools can also divide up your space and limit your guest count. Make sure you find adequate space for everyone and everything you want at your wedding. Draw out a diagram if you need to. Cut the guest list if necessary. Comfort is key to a successful day full of fun and laughter.

3. Vendors

Any vendors you’re using, such as caterers, decorators, and music providers (a band or DJ) really do need to see your home and the area you’re going to use for the wedding before they can adequately draft space plans. They need to see what you have on hand, and work together so they all have room to get their respective jobs done. Find vendors in the area who are seasoned in home weddings. The more you can help them plan for success, the smoother your big day will go.

4. Lighting

If you’re having an indoor wedding, this won’t be so much of an issue. Simply make sure the sun won’t be blaring through the windows. If it will be, put up some gauze curtains to diffuse it and create the right mood. If you’re having an outdoor wedding, you’ll want some kind of covering to shade your guests. The worst thing for an outdoor wedding (besides rain) is sun. Put chairs under a tent, or arrange tables under umbrellas. If your ceremony is at night, rent the proper lighting to make sure you and your partner are visible during the ceremony, and to create a romantic, whimsical mood at the reception. Consider installing up lighting or accent lighting to create paths that will guide your guests around the space.

5. Cleanup

Even if you’re renting most of the main equipment, miscellaneous party debris will be left behind. If you are creating your own altar masterpiece or other large DIY project, you’ll have even more to dispose of. Either way, you’ll probably have too much trash to put out by the curb, so the most convenient way to clean up is to rent a large dumpster and get rid of everything in one swoop. The Richmond area has rentals available for reasonable prices. The thought of an immense post-wedding cleanup should not deter you from having a home wedding. Rent the proper equipment and jet off to your honeymoon!