While weddings at home can be very charming, some believe they save on budget. This is not necessarily true. There is so much to think about when having a wedding at home and mistakes can be very costly. There is a lot to manage and a seasoned wedding planner will know these things. However, should you attempt to handle the pre planning on your own, here are a few pro tips.
To have seating and be able to handle guest traffic for an entire day you have to be prepared to shell out dough for the bare minimum at least. Tables, chairs, linens, napkins, flatware, china, bars, tents, and ofcourse bathrooms would be that bare minimum expense. You then have to think about debugging to make sure your guests do not get eaten alive and possibly proper sub flooring if your ground is not even.
2) Your Caterer and Where They Cook/ Set up.
Unless you are having Chipotle cater your wedding there are some basic needs for a caterer. A proper covered area either in the home or outside for a caterer to spread out prep for the meal. It also needs to be a location that is easy to get to from the area where guests are eating. If it's a basement think about your carpet and lay down rubber flooring so you don't mess up your rugs.
If it is outside a garage works good for this or make sure there is a concrete or wood subfloor with a turf for where the cater is prepping. I have seen disaster strike at an outdoor event where the caterer was prepping food on wet grass. Down came tumbling all of the clean china for the event because the table sunk into the ground.
3) Proper Cooling and Heating for Food.
Your caterer should handle this if they know what they are doing offsite. But You should ask what they will be keeping the food warm in. Where the electricity should come from and how many watts is needed. Also make sure they have ice delivered because you will need more than a few bags.
Most caterers have a policy about food left over being thrown out for safety reasons.
Don't assume you can keep food after an event. There are pros and cons to this. It depends on if the meal is a buffet or served in my opinion. You should not keep any buffet food what so ever to be reheated.
4) Cleanliness with food and beverage and the event
One thing you don't want is the caterer using a garden hose to fill water pitchers or clean dishes. They should be able to swipe off dishes and put in tubs to go back to rental company. No cleaning of dishes on site.
Have water or bottled water delivered or brought on site as well.
Have your kithcen and serving staff wear gloves!
Have lots of trash cans! Don't try to use home trash cans, you will be emptying them every 10 minutes.
Have your house deep cleaned before and after. Hire a professional cleaner.
Where your dinner tent is set up?
Once again make sure the ground is dry and even. Never set up a tent next to any kind of slope or hill where there is no area for water to run off into in days prior to event.
Make sure you check the forecast. Just because your tent is somewhat level does not mean water cannot pool up in it. Especially in the midwest! A storm can hit very suddenly and flood your tent. I was at a wedding this happened to and the guests ended up leaving before dinner and the planner never pushed the couple to have a tent or move the dinner to a concrete area. SO sad. All of that time and energy and money wasted.
Make sure you have a subfloor for any area that a dinner is taking place on. Besides bugs live in grass. Why would you want your guests getting June bugs, ticks, or even mosquitos up their pant legs and dresses?
Once the sun goes down your caterer and guests need to be able to see where they are going. Make sure you have important areas well lit. Renting par cans and making sure the cords are properly secured are not only a good way to create atmoshere lighting but ensure you won't get sued by a guest for falling in a dark area.