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No Place Like Home

Home is where the proverbial heart is, but that doesn't mean having your wedding there is without its own set of challenges-and major hidden expenses. With the expert help of professional wedding planner Laura Chavis, of Weddings by Lorelei, we offer the following tips.

Let the Location Inform the Look. The aesthetic of the home shouldn't clash with the festivities, so be flexible in your vision. A country cottage might call for a rustic, understated style. If it's a grand estate, consider something more opulent, with elaborate floral arrangements and formal table settings.

Be wary of hidden costs. Hosting a wedding at home often means paying for services that aren't needed at other venues, such as port-a-potty rentals, furniture storage, and professional housecleaning, both before and after the event. Such fees can really add up, so don't assume you'll automatically save money.

Be organized-to a fault. If you decide to open up the interior of your home to guests, cordon off public space with barriers or ribbon. Designate a room where people may place their belongings, providing coatracks and hangers so that everything remains accessible. For an outdoor affair, extra care must be taken to ensure guests' comfort. Rent ample port-a-potties, and furnish them with mirrors and moist towelettes. Setting up a tent? Be sure to select one that can be heated or cooled, depending upon the weather.

Mind the law-and your manners. Brush up on local ordinances regarding at-home events-such as noise curfews and permit requirements-so you can make plans accordingly. Once you know what to expect, inform the neighbors. If they're not invited, give them another reminder, like a bottle of wine in hand, a week before the nuptials.

Hire a Planner. Holding a wedding at home means you'll be in charge of overseeing everything yourself-from hiring the band (and wiring their equipment) to setting up heavy tables and chairs. Let someone else do the work.

From the Fall 2005 New York Wedding Guide


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