Planning a wedding at your family home can be a dream experience for many, but it’s also a lot to take on. Katharine Settle, owner and chief marquee dream maker (not her official title) of Peacock and Bow, had her own wedding at home in October 2021. In this article Katharine shares her tips for a smooth, relaxed and memorable wedding at home.
Katharine and Terry had their marriage ceremony at the beautiful All Saints Church in Harby, Nottinghamshire. The ceremony was followed by a stunning marquee reception at Katharine’s parent’s home in the neighbouring village of Thorney.
Katharine is something of a wedding expert, having set up her own business, Peacock and Bow, hiring luxury pole and canvas marquees predominantly for high end weddings. Here, she shares her knowledge and experience of being the bride, and from behind the scenes as a wedding supplier, to help you plan the perfect wedding at home.
Terry and I always knew we wanted an at home wedding. We feel it’s where we are most relaxed. It's the surroundings I grew up in and that Terry had been a part of for the last 15 years.
The best thing about having our wedding at home was the laid back atmosphere it created. We were so relaxed and that rubbed off on all of our friends and family. The fact that they too were in familiar surroundings only increased the comfort and put them even more at ease.
Luckily, my parents, aka Mother and Father of the bride, were 100% on board with the idea of hosting our wedding at home. We knew we wanted a pole and canvas marquee wedding, so it was agreed in advance that we would not be invading their space. They felt perfectly in control and weren’t overwhelmed throughout the planning or on the day itself. Although, it did force them to do a little tidying up in the garden in preparation, which they reap the benefits of now!
As planned, the wedding didn’t take over their home because everything took place inside the marquee, so there was a healthy element of separation. On the big day itself, no one even went inside the house. All our guest’s needs were catered for in and around the marquee, so there was no need to go indoors.
The marquee was actually situated in parkland behind my parent’s house. The land is owned by our incredibly generous neighbour who allowed us to use it. We created a woodland walk through the bottom of Mum and Dad’s garden that led guests up to the majestic pole and canvas marquee. This was one of my favourite touches as it created a soul-stirring sense of awe and anticipation. We had a champagne reception on our back lawn and then walked a quarter of a mile through the woods to the marquee, where the fun began and the memories were made.
I would certainly recommend getting married at home. There’s no place like it, right? So, here are my top tips for a perfect marquee wedding at home.
Pick the right marquee hire company
If you’re looking for that quintessentially English garden party feel for your wedding, a marquee is an absolute must-have. Be sure to thoroughly research marquee hire companies. Google, chat with friends, read reviews, and scroll through Instagram for ideas and recommendations. Suss out their style and what they can whip up to match your vision.
Marquees are like a blank canvas and you're the artist! If you've got ideas, make sure your chosen marquee supplier is excited about them. Not sure what your wedding will look like yet? Choose a company with a treasure trove of styles to spark your imagination.
Site visits are like a first date – absolutely necessary! If a company doesn’t provide this for free, that’s a red flag. Make sure you’re fully prepped to approach marquee hire companies by reading our ultimate guide to hiring a marquee.
Pre plan the wedding photos
When positioning your marquee, keep in mind that you’ll want some spaces kept free for photos. You don't want to suddenly realise you’ve positioned the loos right in front of the perfect backdrop.
Outsource on the day coordination
Having a professional to run the show and coordinate the various suppliers will be well worth the hire fee. It doesn’t have to be a wedding planner if you’re not keen on that idea. You can hire some fabulous organisational wizard just for the day itself. Meaning you and your family can relax and enjoy your special day along with all your favourite people.
Do not, repeat, DO NOT overlook the loo situation
Not the most glamorous aspect of wedding planning, but essential nonetheless. You certainly don’t want 80+ guests using your family bathroom, not sure anyone’s parents, even the most laid back ones in the world, would appreciate that.
We’re not talking grotty portaloos or festival long drops here. We’re talking lippy touch up, hen party gossip, emotional reunion, and new best friend making worthy bathrooms. Think full length mirrors, fully stocked vanity areas, delicious smelling hand soaps and moisturisers and a never ending supply of quilted loo roll (Don’t skimp on that last one!)
Most marquee hire companies will be able to supply the goods here. If you go with Peacock and Bow you’ll have the choice of our luxury trailer loos or our quirky shepherds hut loos. For more lovely lavvy related info, check out our guide to hiring luxury loos.
Work out the cost of having your marquee wedding at home
Decide how much you want to spend and stick to it. Costs can quickly escalate when planning a wedding at home. Many couples choose to hold their wedding at home thinking it will save money, but this isn’t always the case.
Quotes from venues can seem astronomical at first, but they usually offer a package that includes every element of the wedding. Having a wedding at home means you will need to organise all this yourself. The key is to ensure your main suppliers i.e. your marquee hire company and your caterers are on their game and can help you with many of the extra details such as furnishings, power, lighting, and facilities.
Get creative with your marquee decor
Hosting a wedding at home offers the wonderful perk of complete creative control over your marquee decor. Whether you're drawn to rustic charm, bohemian vibes, or timeless elegance, the marquee is your canvas (literally if you choose Peacock and Bow, no PVC here!).
Lighting is key. Imagine a majestic marquee, aglow with candles, festoons and fairy lights – pure romance! Dream big, collaborate with your marquee supplier, and watch your ideas come alive in dazzling ways.
Get clued up on permits and regulations
Check with your local authority about any permits or regulations you may need to follow for hosting an event at home. This might include noise restrictions, parking regulations, or even permits for tents or temporary structures.
Consider parking arrangements
If parking is limited, consider arranging for off-site parking with shuttles to transport guests to and from your home.
Be a good neighbour
Inform your neighbours about your plans and apologise in advance for any potential disruptions. You could even consider inviting them to the wedding if you know them well enough, but don’t feel obliged.
Relax and enjoy
Lastly, remember that the day is about celebrating your love. Embrace any unexpected moments and enjoy the unique charm of your at-home wedding. It's hard work, but oh my goodness, it's worth it.