I was just chatting with a colleague who is getting married next spring at her parent’s home. She couldn’t believe all the costs that were involved. It’s a misconception that saying “I do” at home will be less expensive than a wedding held at a traditional reception venue.
If your wedding at home consists of a handful of guests, Uncle Joe playing “Here Comes the Bride” on the piano and serving punch and cake made by mom—similar to what your grandparents may have done in the ‘30s and ‘40s, then yes it can be on the less expensive side. But most couples getting married at home—or a relative’s home—will have to add a lot of expenses to their wedding budget. Some of these include:
- Flooring for the grounds
- Portable toilets
- A heating/cooling system
- A kitchen for the caterer
- Valet parking
- Rentals: tables, chairs, linens, china, glassware, flatware
It was my dream to have our wedding in my grandparent’s backyard—the same place my parents got married—but after the tent company showed up and gave us an estimate and told my grandmother that the tree in the middle of the yard would have to be cut down and then the gardener gave us an estimate for landscaping, and of course grandma insisted that the house be painted before the big day, the final costs were astronomical.
We found a schul on Long Island for the wedding and used grandma’s yard for the rehearsal (barbeque) dinner the night before the wedding. And let me just add that the heavens opened up that night and it poured. Thank g-d we rented a small-ish size tent for us to sit under outside. You can't predict the weather so you'll need to reserve flooring and tents in case it rains.
So if you’re thinking of getting married at home (or a private house that doesn’t usually have weddings/receptions) make sure you think of all of these added costs before you start signing contracts.