How To Throw a Wedding Reception at Home


There are pros and cons to any reception venue, but if you’re planning an at-home wedding party, here are some things to keep in mind:


Realistically assess the home you’ll be using.

  • How much space is there? Are you planning to hold it inside or out? Will everyone fit inside if our famous Edmonton weather takes a turn for the worst?
  • Does the landscaping need some work? (Or can you get around this by holding it in winter?)

Figure out what kind of help you need.

  • Could a wedding planner/coordinator help see the house in a new light and suggest creative solutions to any challenges you’re facing?
  • Who will do the set-up, cooking, serving, and cleaning up (both before and after the event)?

Several people who have held at-home receptions suggested getting a professional cleaner in the week before to do a full clean – and then having them come back the day after. As one woman said, “There was nothing romantic about mopping down our wood floors, sticky with spilled liquor, the morning after our wedding.”

Are you completely covered insurance-wise?

You’ll want to check with your home insurance company about third-party liability, and with your vendors (such as caterers) about their insurance policies to make sure you’re covered if someone takes a spill, a family heirloom gets broken, etc.

Figure out what you’ll need to beg, borrow, or rent.

Depending on the size and formality of the reception, you might want everything from a tent, tables, chairs, dinnerware, napkins, place settings, barware, portable bathrooms, and so on.

backyard-wedding-decor-hanging-chandeliers-treeSetting the scene.

Is there something unique in your home or yard that you could use to inspire your reception decorations as well as your invitation design?

Do it by the book.

Noise bylaws, fire regulations, parking permits: if these aren’t followed, your party could end early when the police knock on your door. If you have neighbours nearby, you could approach them as you’re planning the event to get them on board, make sure everyone’s not planning big (parking-taking) bashes the same day, and maybe convince them not to mow their lawns during the party.

Are you okay with people staying over afterward?

This might work for a casual reception in the country with lots of space for campers and tents, but it could get tricky if you live in a duplex in the suburbs. You might want to think about this ahead of time and say something – one way or the other – in your invitations. For example, you could mention some great nearby accommodations (and even arrange a shuttle) if you’re less than thrilled at the idea of couch surfers.

Do you have pets?outdoor-wedding-reception-ideas-2

Maybe board Mr. Wiggles for the weekend, especially if he happens to be a 160-lb Malamute prone to happy tail, shedding, and child-herding.

Some more great tips and stories about holding a reception at home:

  • “A DIY Wedding at Home” on OnceWed
  • “At Home Wedding Secrets” from The Knot

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