Why Your Home May Be the Best Place for a Wedding Reception
The idea to make it at home is by no means novel; people have been hosting wedding parties in residences for decades, and moreover with a modest budget, certain venues may even be out of the question. For instance, hotels (and even restaurants) insist on a minimum number of tables before they accept to host your function. In other words, if you don’t want to invite a massive crowd, a requirement as such essentially forces you to expand your guest list and fork out more money.
Here’s an example to illustrate your potential hotel costs:
If Hotel A insists on a minimum of 80 tables for which they will charge RM2, 000 each, your immediate reception costs is a whopping RM160, 000!
What’s the point in inviting 800 guests, if the list of family, friends and acquaintances you’d like to share this day with only comes up to 100 people?
Of course, our example is looking at higher end prices (not all will insist on 80 tables or cost RM2K each), but there are other restrictive issues to consider as hotel weddings tend to come in packages, meaning you might have to pay for things you don’t need or want.
Other venue options include restaurants and grand halls which could still cost a bomb and be just as inflexible. Minor details also matter, for example; in these venues there may not be enough space for a bridal changing room. With some Chinese restaurants, the wedding party floor may be shared or positioned in too close a proximity to other diners and therefore lack privacy.
Now for some, the argument can be made that a special day like your wedding is worth the costs, however high. But for others, the option to spend more than their annual salary simply isn’t practical or perhaps they just prefer a more gracious and simple ceremony – at a location they are most comfortable – their own home.
Home-Styled Wedding Options
By saving on the venue, you can have a classy but less costly wedding reception that is no less special. You can also choose to channel your funds elsewhere – a more luxurious honeymoon, a down payment for a house (yes, some venues do cost that much!) and extras for your reception like a desert cart or open bar.
But what can you do if your home or parents’ place doesn’t quite look the part for a reception? Just book a short-term rental. This is a modern option for smaller gatherings thanks to the likes of Airbnb that provide residential-type venues, some costing as low as RM600 per night for a wedding space. And if you have more cash to spare; the site also offers more exclusive options such as massive bungalows with lake views, sprawling gardens and enough room to house out-of-town wedding guests and extended family.
Special Planning Considerations for At-Home Weddings
Expectedly, weddings at home will require different types of planning; here are 6 key items that you shouldn’t overlook:
Housing area parking spaces are limited and may not be convenient for your guests, so do consider finding public parking spots or alternatively, rent a wedding bus or van. Transporting your guests this way will curtail parking issues and perhaps serve as a better option if your wedding location is remote.
You also need to account for bathroom usage; your facilities at home may not be enough to accommodate your guests. According to ToiToil.com, a minimum of 2 toilets per the first 250 guests are needed for a 6-hour event.
3. Tableware and Seating
Depending on the reception style, you might require a special bridal table for your immediate wedding party i.e. moms, dads and other special people. You can rent exclusive -looking bridal tableware sets that seat eight to ten people, for about RM600. For your guests, very basic tableware packages can cost as little as RM100 per table (10 guests) whereas more select options come in at around RM250. Cutting back on these expenses is possible if you opt for a cocktail reception or tea party rather than a sit-down dinner.
If you’re planning for any part of your ceremony to take place outdoors, do plan for rain. The first thing to do is check weather forecasts, if rain is predicted; you might want to consider renting a canopy just to be safe, assuming it’s too late to change the date. It also functions as an additional lounge area for guests in more modest homes. Modern wedding canopies are quite beautiful and not that expensive at RM 700 per unit (seating up to forty people) with chairs.
5. Waiting staff
The number of waiters and servers needed are lower if your wedding has a more ’help-yourself’ feel to it (e.g. buffets and open bars), but you are going to need to have at least some assistance on the day. If the waiting staff is provided by your caterer, do note the number of servers and the extent of their service. On average one server can manage thirty-five guests, so do top up if your current helpers are insufficient. If you are hiring independently, expect to pay an estimated RM10 to 15 per hour for each server.
Keeping your home looking wedding-ready means that it needs to be spotless but if you are renting a residential wedding venue, the landlord usually sees to this part. Still, be sure to run a thorough inspection a couple of days before. Also, it helps to keep a cleaner handy on the day of the reception, it’ll cost around RM60 per four hours on average.
While it does seem like a bit more work, you can lighten the load by enlisting the help of friends and relatives. Delegating jobs gives a chance for everybody to be involved in the wedding, so no one feels left out.
Moreover, overall estimated costs for these at-home extras inclusive of food come to under RM15, 000 for 100 guests, which can still be lower with a little negotiation.
But an at-home wedding is not all about lower costs as it can be as exclusive or inexpensive as you want it to be. It is instead for those who want a relaxed, down-to-earth, old-fashioned ceremony that can be designed with more freedom.
If you do manage to have the reception in the home where you or your future spouse grew up, how beautifully sentimental that one of the most important days of your life happened at such a meaningful location!
(Written by: Desiree Nair, 16th August 2016)