If you’ve recently said yes, you don’t have to wait until summer to follow up with an, “I do.” Whether you want an outdoor winter wedding or a warm and cozy indoor affair, hosting at-home nuptials requires preparation. And lots of it. From outdoor heating to dinner seating, keep reading for advice on how to make your cold weather wedding as heartwarming as any summer ceremony.
Start with a Blank Slate.
The first order of business is to make room for your guests, decorations, and party staff. Spend a few weeks cleaning each room and removing non-essential furniture and belongings. Pay attention to the garage, especially if this space will be used for the reception. If space becomes a concern, consider renting off-site self-storage to temporarily corral items. In Philadelphia, a short-term storage unit will only add an average $86 to your budget for a month of use. When you are cleaning,remember the golden rule of home decluttering: let go of things you don’t use. If you have enough stuff, plan to hold onto your storage unit for a few months until you have more time to sort through it.
Once you have your home clean and clear, get to work fixing any issues that might dampen the mood. Uneven walkways, loose deck boards, and frayed carpet are all open invitations for an accident, especially if there will be alcohol involved or if elderly friends and family members will be on site.
Make it Wedding Worthy
Before you even get to the decorations, there are things you have to consider when inviting a lot of guests into your home. Depending on how much seating you can currently accommodate, you may need to rent tables and chairs. Don’t forget about parking. If you live in the city, talk to your neighbors about utilizing a length of your street for the day. Often, they’ll be happy to park elsewhere for a few hours, especially if they’re invited to the celebration. Most importantly, make sure you have facilities to accommodate a large crowd – you’ll need one bathroom for every 10 to 12 guests as well as one for the bride and groom’s respective rooms.
Utilize Outdoor Areas
Even when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate, there are plenty of ways to utilize your outdoor space for the ceremony, reception, or staging. Let guests know ahead of time which parts of the day will take place outdoors. If it’s the actual nuptials, keep it short and sweet. If you plan to rent a large tent for dinner and dancing, go ahead and invest in a patio heater, but remember prices for heaters can vary from from $120 all the way to $1,150. MorningChores.com offers reviews and information on how to choose an outdoor heating unit that’s right for your space and budget.
The garage, deck, or patio can be made to feel more like the indoors by putting down vinyl floor decals or rigid carpet tiles and hanging heavy curtains around the permitemter to block light wind. The Knot notes that even cool weather outdoor weddings can be uncomfortably warm, especially if you plan to dance the night away. Make sure your wedding coordinator has a way to cool off crowded areas as you and your guests begin to break a sweat.
Have the Right Team in Place.
As with any event, having the right people in place can make a huge difference. Bring your key players to your home a few weeks prior so they can be fully prepared for any limitations. This should include your caterer, wedding coordinator, DJ, and more. At your trial run, let your hair and makeup stylist know if you plan to be outdoors. She can take extra precautions to make sure things stay in place.
More than anything, don’t worry yourself into a panic attack if things go wrong. Keep in mind that winter weather is unpredictable, and you may find yourself rushing to fit your entire family indoors at the last minute. If you’ve taken the time to de-clutter, however, you can utilize every inch of your home’s interior before, during, and after the I Dos.
Guest Blogger: Erin Reynolds is single mom who taught herself how to do home improvement projects and repairs to save money, creating a helpful DIY blog on topics such from gardening to budget-friendly tips and ideas. www.diymama.net