How to host a wedding reception at home

Our best ideas for pulling off a fabulous yet budget-friendly wedding reception at home.

8 July 2019

Cut lily flower on a chopping board as decoration for a home wedding
Family

Key steps

  • Decide where to host the wedding.
  • Plan your food.
  • Hire chairs, tables and more to save money.
  • Create zones for each different wedding activity.
  • Add cameras, guest books and more to record memories from your day.

If you’re looking for cheap wedding ideas, hosting your wedding reception at home is relaxed, intimate and much more affordable than hiring a venue. With the right preparation (and cleaning strategy afterwards) you can bring your home wedding ideas to life, making it just as special as a wedding at a private venue. Read on for tips on preparing your house for a wedding, simple yet effective wedding house decoration ideas and how to manage the clean-up afterwards.

Save money on your home wedding by skipping non-essentials like wedding planners and choosing cheaper alternatives – such as a tower of cupcakes instead of a wedding cake. 

How to plan a wedding reception at home

1. Figure out whose home will host the wedding

For example, is your own or your parents’ garden big enough for your wedding? Consider the size of your guest list and how elaborate a reception you’d like to throw.

2. Decide how you’re going to decorate

Do you want to have a theme to your wedding? House decoration will depend on what theme or atmosphere you’re trying to convey – whether vintage nostalgia, whimsy, or ‘Winter Wonderland’. A few decorative wedding ideas on a budget for your back garden could include:

  • Using what’s already there. Hedges and water features can be great additions to your wedding décor.
  • Stringing up fairy lights. Fairy lights are a great way to add a romantic touch of light to proceedings.
  • Choosing table settings to match your theme. From snowflake confetti for a ‘Winter Wonderland’ theme to bright hibiscus flowers for a tropical theme.

3. Choose your food

Whether you fancy cooking up a buffet at home for an intimate wedding reception with small guest list, or you’d rather leave it a larger job to a catering company, be sure to plan your approach as early as possible to avoid stress!

4. If you’re having a home wedding, you need to consider the weather

As we all know, even in the summer the weather can surprise you! Always have a back-up plan. Installing a gazebo is a great way to offer some cover in case of rain, and doubles up as shelter from the sun or a dance area in the cooler evening.

5. Think about things you may need to hire

Hire items such as tables, chairs, lighting, free-standing heat lamps and even a dance floor instead of buying them.

6. Hosting your wedding reception at home may be a budget friendly option, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be special

You want your wedding to be as unique as you –and it’s easy to add a few personalised touches. Why not create a display of older family members’ wedding photos, or you and your new spouse’s baby pictures? Perhaps you could decorate everything with memorabilia or themes that are special to you and your partner, such a favourite sports team.

7. Consider creating zones within the garden space

One of the most practical home wedding ideas is to dedicate sections of your garden to different activities: a games area, tables for eating dinner, a quieter area to chat and a temporary bar.

8. Don’t forget to add ways to create memories

Instead of hiring a photographer, try cheap wedding ideas that are still special, like leaving disposable cameras on the tables for guests to capture moments themselves? Or, you could paint a tree trunk on a canvas and set up a stamp for guests to add thumbprint leaves and sign to say they attended your wedding.

9. Make sure you set up rubbish stations

This is especially important if you are self-catering. Make sure that all your guests know where these areas are to minimise the clean-up after your home wedding.

10. Consider asking a group of friends to help with the post-wedding clear-up

The last thing you want to be doing when you should be heading off on your honeymoon is running around sorting out the mess in your garden. Instead, organise for a group of friends and family to head over and do the clean-up for you – as a wedding present! Be sure to equip them with good quality products like Cif multipurpose cleaner, gloves for picking up rubbish, bin bags, and a rake for the grass. Leave them a few bottles of wine and some yummy leftovers to say thank you.

We hope you think these wedding ideas on a budget are useful! With a bit of forward planning and some help from our tips and tricks, you can be sure to pull off the best home wedding ever.