Do you dream of a home wedding? If you live in England or Wales, getting married in your own home isn’t currently an option for most engaged couples, but thanks to a recent review from the Law Commission that could be about to change. One day, with a little careful planning and a lot of clearing up afterwards, you may be able to say “I do” in your front room. But what would your ultimate home wedding look like and what logistics do you need to take into consideration when holding a wedding in such a personal location?
Unlike the US (and many other places around the globe), wedding ceremonies in England and Wales must be carried out in a room that is licensed for the occasion – such as a registry office or church. If you’re a fan of the TV programme Don’t Tell the Bride (like me) you may have noticed a growing trend for couples to have a ceremony of sorts with friends and family present in a location that is not licensed, followed by a short official ceremony in a registry office. This was noted by the Law Commission in the report Getting Married Scoping, which examined whether legislation around marriage is too restrictive.
If a home wedding appeals to you the good news is that the Commission has suggested that a change in the law should be considered. In a press statement accompanying the release of the report, Professor Nicholas Hopkins, Law Commissioner for property, family and trust law, said:
“Many people would like the opportunity to marry somewhere more personal or meaningful to them, including outdoors. For some religions, the place of worship is not necessarily the place where people of that faith would choose to marry.”
Why have a home wedding?
The law already allows those who are housebound to marry at home but for many whom a home wedding is not a necessity, the chance to cement their relationship within the boundaries of their own property surrounded by friends and family would make them feel more relaxed and comfortable on their big day. A home wedding may also be appealing to those with a restricted budget as the average cost of venue hire is £2,790. There’s also the fact that venues can be very restrictive about how you can use their location – many only allow you to use caterers from a pre-approved list or don’t permit music to be played after 11pm.
While you should certainly avoid causing a nuisance for your neighbours, a ceremony held at home could allow you much more flexibility and creativity too. After all, if you own your home, you can set the limits when it comes to decoration.
Making your home marriage ready
As the Law Commission report recognises, lots of people crave outdoor wedding ceremonies and garden weddings are made far easier if there’s convenient access in and out. If you don’t have them already, doors that fold back to provide fluid flow from indoors to out could prove a useful addition to your patio area and for future events too. Your strategy outside will depend on the size and shape you have to play with.
If you’re lucky enough to have acres on hand you might put up a marquee or teepees to provide extra cover, though that will add to your costs significantly. Whatever the size of your space and celebration there’s scope to save on the flower budget providing you settle on a spring or summer wedding and already have a good quota of flora and fauna in bloom. To add a little magic and sparkle, the introduction of extra lights is another inexpensive way to give your ceremony the wow factor. Think fairy lights woven through hedges and trees and solar stake lights lining the path to the altar. While there’s no legal requirement to have an altar at a wedding, many couples do opt to install some sort of structure because of the symbolic nature of an altar. This could be as simple as a trellis decorated with flowers or you might choose to make vows to each other under a tree.
A wedding ceremony held in your home has scope to be extra sentimental but with the right finishing touches it doesn’t have to look homespun, particularly as you may be able to channel money you would otherwise be spending on the venue towards other expenses such as catering. Just make sure when clearing up time comes around that there are plenty of guests willing to help you tidy the aftermath!
Would you like to have the option of holding your wedding in your own home? Do you think it would make things more special?
Happy planning!! xoxo