couple confetti backyard wedding
Christian Reyes Photography

If you were one of the hundreds of thousands of couples whose wedding was postponed in 2020, it’s safe to say you’re in good company. With the future up in the air and state mandates dictating how, when, and if you are able to carry on with your wedding plans, you may have opted for a smaller home wedding.

Hosting a wedding at a private home is a great way to cut down to an intimate guest list, ensure safety precautions are taken and ultimately provide a couple with a sense of control and certainty over their wedding,” explains Taryn Blake of Taryn Blake Events in York, Pennsylvania. “Couples are also able to invest more into bringing their vision to life, often utilizing funds already paid to create a bigger experience for their guests at home.”

If a home wedding wasn’t part of your original plans, you may be worried that it might not feel as celebratory and romantic as you had hoped your big day would be. Not to worry. These wedding planners have some very clever ideas up their sleeves for how you can make your home wedding feel every bit unique and special.

Get personal.

Having a more intimate home wedding is all the more reason to make things personal. Michelle Laymen, owner of Events by Elle in Kansas City, Missouri, recommends incorporating items that reflect who you are as a couple. “For example, if you're known for hogging the popcorn during a movie, set up a popcorn bar, or serve signature drinks—i.e. his and hers favorites,” she says. “Display things from your relationship that are keepsakes to your love story.”

Communicate with your guests.

Your guests feel more comfortable when they know what to expect during your home wedding, notes Janice Carnevale, owner, Bellwether Events  in Falls Church, Virginia. “You can assign an excited and helpful family member to greet your guests upon arrival and give them directions to the restrooms and the ceremony location,” she says. “You can also use the ceremony program to relay information guests might find interesting about the home and useful about the flow of the rest of the event..”

Utilize family heirlooms.

Alexis Eliopoulos O'Mara of Unique Weddings by Alexis in Boston, Massachusetts, recommends incorporating special family heirlooms into the serving of food, such as serving platters, table linen, crystal toasting flutes and more. “Since you are home and these items can be easily accessed and incorporated into your day,” she says. “Guests will know they are not rental items and some may even recognize what they gifted to the couple.” If you go this route, she suggests telling your photographer about these special items so that they can capture photos of everything.

Jazz up your guest entrance or welcome experience.

Instead of just decorating the areas in which your wedding will take place, O’Mara recommends setting up the entranceway that will welcome your guests. “Create walkways from where guests park or get dropped off with lanterns, florals or even line the walkway with musicians for a grand welcome gesture!” she says. “You could also have caterers with trayed champagne at the entrance or in the parking areas or have someone handing out an event program as soon as guests step out of their cars.”

Incorporate lighting throughout the property.

Don’t underestimate the impact of great lighting at your home wedding! O’Mara suggests highlighting beautiful areas, such as the yard or an architectural aspect of the house that you love. “Run bistro lights over the pool, wrap twinkle lights around all deck railings or add colored lighting inside a couple of rooms inside the house for a fun backdrop to the tented area,” she says. “By beautifying the house and the property all around the guests, you are helping them enjoy all of the spaces, even the areas not used.”