Perks of a Planner Archive

Tips for Your At Home Wedding | Chapel Hill NC Wedding Planner

Admittedly, at home and private property weddings are my favorite. They are always deeply personal because the location has a special meaning to you, but they also require extremely detailed logistics like tenting, parking, and more.  Those details can be overwhelming without an experienced event team. Here are my top five tips for your at home wedding:

1. Hire an experienced wedding planner. Not all wedding planners are created equal. At home weddings require a lot of expertise, experience, and hard work. This type of event is not for the faint of heart so your average novice planner may not be able to hand the details as well as an experienced planner. When interviewing planners for your at home wedding, make sure to ask about their experience with this type of event. Ask for examples and photos.


Alexa’s Photography | Caroline + Chris’ Lakeside Wedding

2.  Budget, budget, budget: The temptation of no venue rental fee sounds like you are saving a ton of money, right? Often in my experience, at home and private property weddings end up being far more than a wedding hosted in a traditional event venue. Every element of the wedding needs to be brought in and this can add a significant amount to your overall budget. Make sure you are prepared for unforeseen costs (although a planner can help with this!).

3. Power and Restrooms: You think you don’t need either, but trust me. 9 times out of 10 you will need to bring in additional restrooms and power. Your average home cannot handle the power needed for your lighting, catering, entertainment, and restrooms. Power is KEY and must be planned for properly by a professional. Also, your two restrooms in your home are not substantial enough for 150+ guests. You do NOT want to deal with plumbing issues on your wedding day.


Whitebox Photography | Katherine + Nathan’s Farm Wedding

4. Experienced Caterer: Like your planner, you want to work with a caterer that has experience in off-site events. Your property is likely further away from their catering kitchen, food needs to be kept warm longer, they need to know how to possibly cook on site, and the like. Often with at home weddings, the caterer and I work together to build a pop up kitchen in a tent with power, stove tops, etc.

5. Guest Experience: Think about your guests at every turn. Make sure that you provide transportation if parking is tricky. Hire someone to help direct traffic or drive golf carts. Ensure that every area is well lit so no one falls. Remind your guests to dress appropriately for the weather or terrain. Remember you are hosting them in your home so make them feel that way!

Simplicity Is Not Actually Simple | Winston-Salem NC Wedding Planner

“I really want a simple wedding. Maybe farm tables and garlands. Oh and I love lanterns and those wooden X back chairs. What if we used these candle holders from my friend’s wedding? She has like 250 and hasn’t cleaned them out yet but I can probably do it after work one day. And I saw these cute DIY favors on Pinterest. We could have those hanging from that tree at cocktail hour. Speaking of, I like the idea of tray passed signature cocktails — something easy like an old fashioned with an orange peel. You know, really pretty and curled like this picture? And my grandmother wants to sing at the reception, but we can’t tell my mother in law. She will want to sing too and she isn’t very good. What do you think about having all the groomsmen dance down the aisle at the ceremony? They will not all be at the rehearsal by the way. We can probably just skip a rehearsal since everyone is coming in so late on Friday. I don’t think I need a wedding planner. Probably just a day of coordinator for a few hours on wedding day to make sure everything is set up. I forgot to mention, can you take our bags and gifts to our hotel? We are staying about 45 minutes away since we need to leave for the airport super early. So yeah, the wedding should be pretty simple. I don’t want a lot of fuss.”

Scenario: You, the bride, just shared your thoughts (above) at a consultation with a potential wedding planner. You met with her after your friends recommended you talk to a planner. One friend really regrets not having one a planner and your other friend absolutely loved hers and says it is worth every penny. You spent some time talking to a few planners and they seemed really nice. Their work is really pretty and they have good reviews. But man, they are expensive! You decide you do not want to spend the money and you can do this thing on your own. I mean, your mom is super crafty and you are really organized.

Ok, so let’s do this thing! You can totally plan your own wedding.

You dive into planning and the following potentially (read: definitely) happens:

greensboro wedding planner why you need a wedding planner or coordinator

Anna Paschal Photography

Farm tables, garlands, lanterns, chairs: Farm tables rent for $80-$100. Garlands are $60 to $120 depending on width, type of greens, type of flowers, and labor. Your florist doesn’t have any lanterns for rent so they need to be purchased. You have to find a size that works with your table width then order the appropriate sized pillar candle for it. Those beautiful wooden chairs are $8.50 to $10.50 a chair plus a $1 pad. The tables, garlands, pillar candles, lanterns, chairs, and chair pads plus delivery, set up, and tax will cost you $6,200 for your 150 person wedding. You make a mental reminder to add on heaters, china, flatware, glassware, napkins, cocktail tables, and cocktail table linens to the rental order later.

Your friend’s candle holders: She didn’t use tea lights and you have to scrape wax out of 250 tiny holders. You also work a full time job and are thinking about going back to grad school. You also have to make sure they are all stored properly so they don’t get broken. Your friend definitely wants them back.

Favors in a tree: That tree doesn’t have any low hanging branches and it is really closer to the parking lot than your cocktail hour mingling space. The DIY favors you like are pretty heavy and hanging them will take several hours and extra support. You can only get into your venue 3 hours before the wedding starts. Oh, and you will have to squeeze in making those do it yourself favors after you clean out the candle holders.


Whitebox Photography


Tray passed cocktail: Your caterer doesn’t know about the old fashioned as a signature cocktail and it is two weeks before the wedding. You have already had some reallllyyy custom wooden signs made on Etsy (for only $120!!) and you really do not want to change it. Your caterer is trying to convince you to do another cocktail because old fashioned’s take a lot of time to make and are not the best option to tray pass. And they can definitely do that pretty garnish but it will be an extra $2 per cocktail.

Singing grandma. Potentially upset mother in law: Your fiance accidentally let it slip to his mom that your grandmother is singing. You now have to have a phone call with your MIL about her feelings and try to figure out how to make her happy. Your grandma is not going to be happy to share the spotlight since she has already planned out her solo of “Ava Maria” to a T. Your MIL would rather sing The Lord’s Prayer.


Alexa’s Photography

Dancing groomsmen: You take a few hours to choreograph the steps for the groomsmen. You have to figure out how to video yourself teaching the dance because your fiance doesn’t have time to help you because he is working extra hours to pay for the honeymoon. You finally email the tutorial to the guys and no one responds. You continuously ask them if they learned it and get a few half heart-ed yeses. It will probably be fine.

No rehearsal: You don’t schedule a rehearsal and the groomsmen plan to wing it on wedding day. You realize this two hours before the ceremony and have to scrap your first look to teach them the moves. There is also confusion about who walks down the aisle and sits where. Your mom is certain she is supposed to sit in a certain seat and side even though you googled and know it is the opposite.


Jon Black Photography

Now that you have a glimpse at your future, you are thinking that …. um .. sort of sounds fine. You can totally do this on your own ……………………. Right?????????? 

Maybe you will call that planner back. She had some ideas of how to get the overall look you wanted but more in line with your budget. Oh and she did mention how she has some great rentals you can get from her. Her rehearsals did sound organized and not super time consuming.

Yes, you are definitely going to call her back. It will be your gift to yourself. You deserve it.