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Feel right at home ...

Nightmare visions haunted my more-than-active imagination when I was asked to write about weddings at home. A D.I.Y wedding? With all the mess and stress that it implies? No thanks, I thought! But when I managed to gather some tips from the experts, I realised that getting married at home has many advantages, and that if it is properly planned, these advantages far outweigh the disadvantages! I was also relieved to discover that the tedious tasks of clearing and cleaning are performed by the caterers and hirers!

Garden Weddings are something that little girls` dreams are made of. The bride, radiating brilliance that competes with the sun and dazzles the flowers into submission, unites with her groom in a ceremony sanctified by nature. (Images of Adam and Eve spring to mind!) Not far off, a sumptuous feast awaits, along with all that personal hospitality that makes a home wedding so memorable.

One of the most exciting things about getting married at home is that the imagination has no limits! Often, the style of the venue restricts your range of décor options and hampers your personal expression. At home you can let your creative spirit run wild: you can go for classical or modern, elaborate or simple, opulent or relatively inexpensive. Gardens lend themselves to a vast spectrum of colour schemes, so you won`t have to worry about your bridesmaids clashing with the drapery!

You can even pick a theme, something that gives your wedding a personal signature. For example, an Oriental affair, complete with sushi and eastern décor, will keep guests talking long after the event. (Lanterns can be hired to add an exotic effect. ) Another glamourous theme to consider would be a "masked ball". Masks with names on at each setting will add a unique touch.

These days, you can hire just about anything, from royal red carpets and crystal, to porcelain and china dinnerware. For a completely different effect, Lionel of Pink Party and Function Hire, suggests putting a candelabra on each table as a centre-piece with romantic overtones.

If you have a tight budget, or want something more intimate, home weddings are the most flexible. Not paying for a venue already makes a wedding considerably more economical. Money can also be saved by leaving the covering off the chairs, and having a buffet to cut down on service costs. In addition, home weddings are far more convenient if you`re short on time and struggling to secure the perfect booking.

But what about the horror stories, you may ask? Calamities will strike where least expected, regardless of the occasion. The bride who plans ahead is the bride that remains in control - afterall - Murphy`s Law states: "everything that can go wrong will - but if you`re expecting it to happen, it won`t!" We can always attempt to outpace Murphy by expecting catastrophes and eliminating his (yes, he would be male) chance of stealing the spotlight! We spoke to some expects on the subject of catering and hiring, and extracted this valuable advice:

First, ensure that you have sufficient power supply to support the caterers, disco and lighting. If the amperage is not adequate, ask your caterer what they can suggest as another option.

Next on the agenda of things likely to go wrong is rain. Naturally, with garden weddings there is no guarantee of perfect weather. Lionel, of Pink Party and Function Hire recommends his clients to "always have an alternative plan." A marquee is usually effective in keeping out the rain, but how far will the catering staff have to swim in order to deliver the goods? Mike, from CHC catering, recalls huddling under a gazebo in the rain, attempting to transport food down an embankment that headed directly for a dam at the bottom of a garden. Impessive Olympic-style acrobatics were required to deliver a single pot of soup!

Make arrangements for your pets. The excitement will prove stressful for them, and you don`t want the pooch careering across the dance floor as you start your first dance! (While on the subject of pets, do not forget to remove "evidence" from the garden prior to the event!) And, since aesthetics demand a lot of consideration, do not forget to position portable loos discreetly. In addition, ugly protrusions and guests colliding with the floor can easily be avoided by positioning a bouquet over all the tent pegs.

A common mistake people make is to water the lawn before the marquee goes up. However, chairs and high heels are prone to sinking, so besides this being extremely detrimental to your lawn, you may experience that mysterious sinking feeling as your precious dress soaks in the mud. Wade, of CHC Catering, remembers the dismal sight of a mobile disco that looked something like a coffee table after losing its battle against mud and gravity!

Out of courtesy, give your neighbours at least two weeks notice, so that they can plan around the traffic and the noise that may interrupt their Saturday afternoon slumber! Lastly, introduce the MC to the caterer and the band. They should liase between themselves to ensure that all runs smoothly and that, if Murphy must rear his ugly head, responsible people will be able to deal with him accordingly.

Once these details have been arranged, you can focus on all the positives: Mom can show off her house and, with the perfect excuse to renovate, Dad has no grounds for objection! Every time you visit, treasured memories of your special day will linger, and they will be even more special if you spent your childhood years scraping your knees in the very same place.

Weddings these days are so often planned with the spectator in mind, but the warmth and familiarity you experience when you marry at home will certainly leave you with a sense of personal fulfilment, not to mention setting a warm tone for the rest of your married life!

Article source: LifeWorld



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