I have to admit, tented weddings at home or on a private estate are some of my favorite to plan as a New England wedding planner. Yes, they are a little (a lot!) more challenging logistically, but watching everything come together is beyond rewarding. There’s no feeling like it. Not only is there so much history in a home, but what is more special than having your wedding where you grew up? With that said, with all the whimsy and nostalgia comes its own set of challenges. When you are planning a home wedding, you are essentially building a venue from the ground up. A home wedding will definitely require a little extra planning (that’s why you hire us!). Don’t worry, the benefit here is that you have the opportunity to make it exactly what you like.
Today, we are going to share just 7 tips (or things you need to consider) for your outdoor tented wedding in Connecticut, but when you start to feel overwhelmed, head over to our contact form and we will take it from there! A home wedding will ALWAYS require hiring a wedding planner. There is no venue coordinator, and there are way too many logistics to consider. Do yourself a favor and do not try to skip this step. The earlier you bring in your wedding planner, the better. After all, you and your family should be able to remain present on your wedding day!
#1 Consider Your Home Wedding / Tent Layout
It’s not enough to ask “is there enough space?” When you start to plan your home wedding, make sure to have the tent company come out to measure and confirm that you have the space needed for your guest count (and the appropriate size tent!). While they are there, ask your tent specialist if it looks like there is a grade to the land. Land often looks flatter than it is! If so, you might need to lay specialty flooring, or even wedges under table legs to make sure everything is flat. All it takes is a little slope in the ground to make a whole table look crooked!
More than just the tent layout, you will also want to factor in the cook tent, bathrooms, cocktail hour, and ceremony space. Not to stress the importance of a wedding planner too much, but this is why you hire us. We know the right questions to ask! Sometimes it’s what you don’t think to ask that’s a bigger problem than what you do know to ask!
#2 Make a Parking Plan for Your Home Wedding Guests
One of the most overlooked logistics for a home wedding is considering where guests will park. Can they park on the road? Assuming there is room on the road, is it safe, or do you need a police officer? Alternatively, is there a parking lot nearby? Or, will you need to hire a shuttle bus to bring guests to your location? You don’t want to leave this until the last minute. Parking is often something you’ll want to figure out before you decide on an at home tented wedding. There is always a solution, but it might involve hiring a valet company or extra shuttles.
#3 Bringing in Bathrooms for your Home Wedding
No, your guests can’t just use the bathroom in the home! Most tented home weddings are too large and honestly, who wants all those guests traipsing in and out of the house. Fortunately, there are many trailer rental options, and you can go as basic or as bougie (with marble and surround sound!) as you like. My advice for couples planning a home wedding? Always get a trailer with one more stall than you think you need. Your guests will thank you.
#4 Plan your Power (and Have a Backup!)
Tented weddings take a lot of power. Typically, there is cooking equipment, the band, the lighting, the bathrooms, and heaters. At minimum! Each vendor you hire for your wedding will have their own requirements, and not paying attention (or listening to recommendations), can lead to trouble. True story – one time we had to light up the bathroom trailer with extra up-lights from the DJ because the couple didn’t realize the importance of dedicated circuits (even after many warnings!). Make sure you consult a professional on all things power, and get the proper setup or generator in place. And always have a backup! There are some things you can save money on that your guests will never notice (a wedding planner can better advise you where to splurge and where to save!), but electricity is not one of them!
#5 Create a Solid Contingency Plan
As a wedding planner, I’m trained to plan for the best and prepare for the worst. I know when you are dreaming of planning your home wedding, we never want to think that your beautiful day will get rained out. But as we all know, weather is unpredictable, especially when planning weddings in New England. As you create your contingency plan, ask yourself:
- Where will your outdoor ceremony be if it rains?
- How will guests get from the parking area to the tent?
- Or the bathroom to the tent?
- What about your wedding vendors? And their equipment?
- At what time of day will you need to make a decision?
Make sure you really think through every scenario. The best defense against bad weather is an air tight contingency plan.
#6 Ensure you have the right permits for your home wedding!
Although each town has it own policies, most require a permit to place a tent in your backyard. Double check what permits might be required with your tent specialist (and confirm whether or not THEY take care of it for you). If they don’t handle the permits directly, make sure they provide you with all the documents you need to bring to your town hall.
#7 Plan for the Temperature
NOTHING is worse than being stuck under a clear top tent in the August heat, or a cold tent on an October night. When planning your home wedding, often you’ll think of temperature only in regards to your contingency plan (crossing your fingers that it doesn’t rain), or considering if you want to bring in heaters or fans. That being said, I would encourage you to consider the temperature in terms of how your guests will feel throughout the evening. While sixty degrees during the day in October might feel nice in the sun, you have to think of how guests will feel in evening attire once the sun goes down. If it gets too cold, guests won’t move around as much, or worse, will leave early. Taking the extra time to plan out what you can do to ensure guests comfort goes a long way.
Hiring a Wedding Planner for your Home Wedding in Connecticut
I genuinely hope these tips help you as you start to plan your home wedding! I also hope that you will take my advice and not try to do this alone. A home wedding is ABSOLUTELY worth it (they really are some of my favorite venues!), but the amount of logistics involved is simply not worth guessing through. A lot of these tips are not centered around the “fun” parts of wedding planning (like choosing your colors or booking your cake tasting!). Instead, they are centered around things that NOBODY notices when done right, and everyone notices when done wrong. It’s simply not worth the risk.
If you are looking to hire a wedding planner for your home wedding in Connecticut (or anywhere in the New England area!), I would love to have a conversation. You can reach out to me directly here, or learn more about working together here. Want a little extra outdoor tented wedding inspiration? You’ll find some real wedding photos in my portfolio, or say hi over on Instagram!