We all love the 1991 movie "Father of the Bride" with Steve Martin, Diane Keaton and Kimberly Williams and of course the eccentric European Wedding Planner "Franck Eggelhoffer" played by the ever so funny Martin Short. The "Banks" threw a very beautiful and elaborate wedding for Annie, their beautiful daughter.
But OK...back to reality, not all of us have a 4,300 square foot white colonial Mansion to have a wedding in.
But we do have our home with all the memories from childhood to adulthood and everything in between just as Annie did in the movie. Let's look at the "Banks" wedding and see what worked and what didn't.
"Do's and Don'ts" for a home wedding,
How big is your guest list? The "Banks"guest list grew and grew and grew until the family had to move all the furniture out of the house and bring in a tent. Keep your guest list reasonable. Remember, for every person invited...that's a $ amount which quickly adds up. Food, Bar, table and chair rentals, table decorations...Ca-Ching...Ca-Ching.
How big is your budget?
The "Banks" lost complete control over their budget early on with "Franck" taking control of the check book and dad, George (Steve Martin) having his heart strings tugged on by Annie and Mom (Diane Keaton). Taking out a second Mortgage on your home to pay for the wedding is financial suicide.
Neighborhood restrictions. The "Banks" did not consider parking. Parking guest cars in front of your house and down the street is a great way to invite the police to your wedding. Not a good wedding memory.
Crowd control. Don't over crowd your rooms or even your backyard with too many guest. Over crowding is a sure way to make your guest miserable. They can't get to the bar, food, bathrooms, dance floor or even to the Bride and Groom! Keep it comfortable.
Have a Rehearsal the day before. This will help you know where your "issues" are that need to be fixed. Fix then now and there will be fewer "issues" the next day.
Early Birds. Be aware that guest may arrive to early. Have an designated area for them to be able to sit and be comfortable. Don't allow them into the Bride or Grooms dressing areas as it will slow down their ability to dress and be on time for the ceremony.
Officiants needs. Make sure your Officiant is OK with a home wedding and what his or her needs may be. Most are happy to oblige.
Hire security. Guest can become rowdy and intoxicated. Don't try to handle this yourself. Have professional security Officers on the grounds. They are pros at keeping the peace and will help usher your slightly tipsy guest out of the home when the Wedding Reception is over.
Any and all valuables need to be locked up and secured. This goes for any guns that are kept in your home. Be safe. Don't encourage "sticky" fingers by leaving great grandmothers gold ring on the dresser. Lock rooms that will not be in use and place a sign on the door saying "Private Please".
If at all possible, kennel your pets. The noise, unfamiliar guest and excitement can cause your pets to become stressed and even possibly bite someone or even run away.
Be prepared for bad weather. The "Banks" woke up on the wedding day to snow. If forced in doors due to bad weather, would all your guest fit in your home? No? Then you have to have a Plan B. Guest must be called (delegate this to a family member) and don't forget to call the vendors and inform them of the change in location. DON'T do this the day of the wedding. There will not be time to make the change. The day before should give you a good clue as of what the weather will be like the next day. Your guest hanging out in your back yard with their coats on all evening doesn't make for memorable pictures nor will the Bride look attractive in her gown with a coat over her dress.
There's no place like home and a home wedding is a wonderful way to celebrate "the family" and to celebrate the beginning of a brand new family. Just as the "Banks" found their joy in their home wedding for Annie, so will you and yours.