Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rationale for an At-Home Wedding

Aside from the fact that an at-home wedding is a lovely intimate idea, and a perfect example of keeping it simple and stunning, there are actual historical reasons for having an at-home wedding.

In 1653-56 in England, when the Puritans had overthrown the monarchy for a while and were in charge of the country, a law, "the Civil Marriage Act" was enacted. (Here is an excellent article on its impact on church marriages.) It stated that Justices of the Peace were the only officiants permitted to marry couple and because of this, weddings took place at the bride's home. Even though the Puritans were eventually ousted and the rule of the monarchy returned under Charles II, their short lived influence remained.

Since many in America were Puritans, this notion of an at-home wedding under the offices of a Justice of the Peace, (you can find one for your wedding here) remained a fixture of early American life. Another reason for this ongoing influence is that at the same time as the Puritans were doing their bit for the at home wedding, Native American populations were also celebrating at home weddings as well. Algonquin women were escorted in a ceremony to their groom's homes on their wedding day.

Add that sense of special intimacy (as well as history) to your wedding by planning for it to be at home. Whether in your own home or that of a dear friend or relative, at-home weddings are perfect for couples who wish to have an intimate wedding ceremony and reception. They are also a great idea for couples who have a smaller wedding budget, but still want elegance and style.

Depending on the size of your home, the number of guests you invite can be anywhere from 10 to 50 generally speaking. If you are able to accommodate more by incorporating a tent in your yard, you can increase that number, but for the most part an at-home wedding has fewer than 100 guests.

Create your own wedding invitations using handmade paper and printable downloads. You can make them as formal or as casual as you like, as this will set the tone of your at-home wedding. Just because you are at home doesn't mean that you can't incorporate formal touches and traditional wedding activities, such as dancing, place cards at formal place settings, wedding toasts and so on.

The time of day when your wedding ceremony and wedding reception happen is your choice. You are not limited to church hours and/or how long a wedding reception at a party center or hotel would be. You can have a wedding brunch, luncheon, tea or even dinner.

If you are cooking yourself, select foods that can be made a few days or more in advance, such as casseroles that can be frozen. This will save a lot of time on the actual wedding day so that your servers (remember to hire them) can heat up the food and put it on the buffet as other servers circulate with drinks.

A good caterer will take all this pressure off you, so really consider this as a major wedding budget item. They will also bring glasses, china, tables and napkins if you want - and you don't have to wash the dishes either!

Delineate your space by placing your wedding decorations wherever the guests are going to be during the wedding ceremony and wedding reception. For instance, you may have one bedroom assigned for coats and a guest bathroom. Decorate these areas and close all the other doors so that snoopy guests don't go in and find out that this is where you stashed the living room furniture and collectibles!

Go for that at-home wedding and keep a good old American tradition alive and well.

1 comment:

Maui Weddings said...

That's a great story! I can't believe no one has posted a comment here about it yet! Keep up the good work!