Do you happen to have a large, stunning backyard? Does your family have a charming lake house in Lake Tahoe? Did your grandparents offer their farm to be your wedding venue? There are so many reasons couples choose to have a private residence wedding. However, before you start planning away, let’s talk about some common misconceptions, benefits, and what it takes to plan a wedding at a private residence.
Misconceptions of a Private Residence Wedding
Before you start planning a private residence wedding, we must clear the air on a few common misconceptions.
1. A private residence wedding is less expensive than a traditional wedding
While many couples want to have a private residence wedding to save money, oftentimes such weddings cost more than having your wedding at a traditional venue. We will dive into this more when discussing what it takes to plan, design, and execute a private residence wedding.
2. You don’t need a wedding planner for a private residence wedding
On the contrary, hiring a full-service wedding planner is the only way to ensure you have the wedding of your dreams at a private estate. It takes a lot of additional planning and (wo)man-power to ensure your wedding day goes as planned. There is so much that goes into planning a wedding at a private residence––at Epic Thyme, we’ve even had to do the landscaping––which is why you need a wedding planner on your team from start to finish.
3. You can have as many guests as you want at a private estate, regardless of COVID guidelines
While there are some benefits of having a private residence wedding during COVID, doing so doesn’t necessarily mean you can have a huge gathering. If you are renting an estate, they may have a cap on how many people you can have at your wedding. If your wedding takes place at a private residence, it is encouraged that you still practice social-distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands frequently. Due to the high risk of spreading COVID in large gatherings, and depending on your state’s guidelines and restrictions, a micro wedding may be the way to go.
Benefits of a Private Residence Wedding
Now that the misconceptions are out of the way, let’s talk about the benefits.
1. The space can be personalized from top to bottom, start to finish
Because you aren’t having your wedding at a traditional venue, you can truly make it your own. There aren’t any regulations or permanent design fixtures you have to work around or incorporate into your wedding design. It is like you have a blank slate and can personalize everything from the decorations to the caterer to how long you stay up partying with your friends and family (although it is a good idea to adhere to any residential curfew laws regarding noise levels).
2. Your wedding can’t get rescheduled or canceled because of COVID
Because your wedding takes place at a private residence, you don’t have to worry about it being rescheduled or canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, many couples had to change their wedding date because their intended venue was not allowed to remain open to host events. With a private residence wedding, you don’t have to worry about your event shutting down unexpectedly.
3. Your wedding will be private and intimate
By having your wedding on a residential property, you can create an intimate celebration that truly feels like home. Plus, you have total privacy. At a hotel or outdoor venue in a public place, you’d likely gain the attention of people passing by. And unless you have a neighbor peeking their head over the fence, you won’t have to worry about uninvited guests at your private estate wedding.
So, What Does a Private Residence Wedding Take?
Now, you may be wondering why a private residence wedding costs more than a traditional wedding venue, especially if you are having it at your parents’ home or even your own house! Simply put, your home was not designed to host weddings. This means that everything it takes to design and plan a spectacular wedding has to be brought into your home.
Take, for instance, the tables and chairs needed for your guests. At a traditional wedding venue, such items are often included in wedding packages. Venues have all the tables and chairs and china you need. But when you have your wedding at a private residence, you have to arrange to rent tables and chairs and have them transported to your residence, set up, and torn down at the end of the night. The same goes for dishes. In areas with bears, you can’t keep dirty dishes overnight, so someone (like your wedding planner) has to wash down the plates, store them overnight, or transport them off the property.
This is just one example. Let’s dive into what it takes to have a private residence wedding and how to start planning yours today!
1. You Need the Perfect Space
Not every backyard is fit for a wedding. Some spaces are simply too small or too steep to host an event. When considering a private residence for your wedding, think about the amount of space needed, not just for your guests but for your vendors and their equipment as well. Does your caterer have enough space to prep your wedding meal? Does the DJ or band have adequate electricity to keep the tunes playing all night long? Is the wedding ceremony and reception going to be held in separate spaces or the same? Is there enough space for your guests to park or do you need to hire a transportation service? These are some questions to consider.
2. You Need Room For Everyone to Get Ready
Along with space for your actual wedding ceremony and reception to take place, you also need space for you and your wedding party to get ready for the big day. Are there indoor rooms available? Or will your wedding party need to get ready at their hotel or other accommodations before coming over? Either way is fine, and there is no right or wrong answer. These are just important elements to think about when planning your private residence wedding.
3. You Need to Bring Everything In
We highlighted the example of bringing in tables and chairs because it is an easy one to illustrate. Everyone knows your guests need a place to sit and enjoy a meal and good conversation. But there are so many other elements needed to bring a wedding together––ones that aren’t so straightforward or “pretty” so they are easy to forget about, such as:
Tables and chairs (enough for guests and vendors––they need somewhere to sit and eat too)
Wedding lounge furniture
Hose connections for the restrooms
Backup generators with gas (in case the power from the house is not enough)
Fresh running water for the caterer
Bar and drink station
And you need extra of everything, just in case someone drops their fork or a chair breaks. It is wise to purchase or rent at least 10-20% extra (depending on the item). You also need to provide an ample amount of tables, chairs, and dinnerware for your vendors to be able to sit down and have a meal.
This list is not extensive and doesn’t even include the “fun” rental items that bring your celebration to life. Did you know that if a coffee machine, band, and chocolate fountain are all using the same electrical line there is a good chance the breaker will blow? Yes, we know this from personal experience! Each element needs to be carefully managed to ensure it comes together on your wedding day without any hitches.
4. You Need Decorations
We mentioned one of the benefits of having a private residence wedding is getting to personalize the space. Realistically, this also requires a lot of detailed planning. Take, for example, a “Welcome Table,” which is common to have at a wedding.
While it may not seem like a lot, there are multiple elements needed to bring a table like this to life:
Framed photo of the happy couple
Pens to sign the guest book
Jar to hold the pens
Alcohol Wipes for pens (and a little bin to dispose of them thanks to COVID)
And this is just one table! For a spectacular private residence wedding, you need to give that much detailed consideration to each element, from where you will stand and say your vows to where your guests will enjoy a cocktail hour while you have your wedding photos taken to where you will dance the night away.
Plan Your Private Residence Wedding with Epic Thyme
Our goal is not to deter you from such a unique and intimate wedding experience but to help you understand what it will take to bring your private residence wedding to life. And we are so excited to help you plan it. We have designed, coordinated, and managed tons of successful private residence weddings and know how to stretch your budget, cut costs where needed, and give you the wedding you’ve always dreamed of. Contact us today to learn more!
What the bride of the featured private residence wedding had to say about her experience with Epic Thyme:
“Our wedding truly exceeded our expectations and Epic Thyme is 100% the reason for this! We definitely gave Christi a run for her money by asking her to help us pull together a wedding in just 8 weeks on private property with seemingly endless obstacles to navigate due to the COVID pandemic and local wildfire season. Despite her busy schedule, Christi made time to work with us each week, offered creative solutions to the many logistical problems that arose, and approached every step of the planning process with enthusiasm, encouragement and positivity. We are so grateful for the ways she went above and beyond to make our vision come true, her willingness to take care of so many details on our behalf, and the creative flair she added to make the entire weekend a beautiful and magical time for us and our guests!”