home weddings

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If you have a large house or a close friend or relative who is willing to allow it, the home can be an excellent place to hold your wedding. In particular the familiarity of the home and the intimacy can make for a truly special day. Plus there is the obvious benefit of the saved money that would normally go on rent for another, larger venue.

However, take care if you decide to host your wedding at home. There can be additional stress and problems; for you if the house is your own, or for the friend or relative. The logistics can also be a difficulty when accommodating a high number of guests, so you will need to decide on a limit of people to invite if space is short.

On the plus side there are several big advantages to hosting your wedding in your own home. You have much more freedom of choice in decorations and food because some venues will already be decorated to a heavy extent and only offer certain choices of menu. You are also free to create a more intimate and homely feel to the wedding.
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Photography

Our first intention was not to use a formal photographer as we had struggled, once again, to find someone who could take pictures in a non-traditional wedding style. We thought we could use a friend to take informal pictures of the day in more of a documentary style as that was what we wanted. Ultimately, on the advice of concerned family members we decided to hire a photographer to be sure that a handful of the photos would be guaranteed good ones.

Again, we had to shop around and talk to several until we discovered a professional photographer that we could hire for just over an hour and had photos taken before the ceremony of the bride and groom and our respective parents. This was partly because we were both incredibly nervous and didn’t want an audience glaring at us when we took formal group shots and partly because if these shots were in the bag before the ceremony then we could relax more, have a celebratory champagne and hopefully other more relaxed pictures would just happen after the ceremony.
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Catering, Champagne & Entertainment

We decided to do the Californian thing for catering and had a barbecue. My sister managed the barbie – thank god, another helpful relative roped in – and the salads and breads were supplied by the venue owner who did small scale catering as a sideline. We tried to find some nice disposable plates but they proved elusive and costly so in the end we went on down to Ikea and bought some of their cheapest white ceramic plates and bowls at 50c a go. Just plain white crockery – it worked a treat and what would it matter if they broke at that price? At least we could recycle by using them at home or giving them away afterwards.

Because we were celebrating around a poolside, we had to use plastic glasses for the drinks and the toast. Incidentally, we used cava instead of champagne. Much cheaper and tastes just as good to me, although possibly not to be recommended if your friends and relatives are champagne connoisseurs!
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Invitations

You can definitely save time and money on this one. There are hundreds of options for lovely printed invitations available although we did find that they were often of the same style, ie gold and silver filigree writing with lots of ribbons, bells, champagne flutes etc. As we were getting married with such short notice we had to distribute invitations quickly. We decided to buy notecards with a retro-look print – tied in well with our Palm Springs theme – and printed off the invitation inserts on a PC and glued them into the cards.

A great place to look for blank notecards is Target. They stock a good range in funky designs for a really reasonable price. The invitation wording was to the point including basics such as venue, date, time and a brief day-plan. The day-plan was useful because it gave guests a little bit of understanding about how the day would be structured as we wanted guests to feel free to wander off and explore Palm Springs in the late afternoon after the barbecue stuff had finished and before the evening party started.
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The Officiant

When we searched for someone to perform the ceremony, the officiant, we found that quite often his or her services came packaged with other goodies – or not so goodie, depending on your point of view. Don’t know about you, but the prospect of getting married in front of a golden lectern in the shade of a silk flower encrusted arch with a copy of the wedding certificate printed on tea-stained faux parchment paper was just TOO cheesy. But with further research it seemed almost impossible to find one that didn’t come without these additional baubles and it hiked the price as well!

We spoke to several potential Officiants and, as nice as they all were, not one of them answered the brief. After much agonising, we discovered that anyone (in the state of California, at least) could become an Officiant if they were an American citizen. Bingo. We asked one of our best friends if he would do the deed – and he agreed!! So if you have a friend who is happy and confident to speak out loud in public then rope them in. We did, and it is what made our day really special. (Don’t forget to apply for your marriage licence in advance of the wedding day.)

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