There is nothing more beautiful and unique than hosting your wedding on a family estate. This creates a personalized wedding reception that will be solely yours and will leave lasting memories every time you visit the property. I married my husband on a private estate at his grandmother's home nine years ago this August. She purchased a home in Rancho Sante Fe right when we got engaged and we just knew right away we wanted to host our wedding there. Yes, there is nothing better than a venue that you can do whatever you want at BUT they pose their own challenges as well. Also, couples tend to think these weddings are less expensive but in reality they end up costing close to the same as a wedding at a venue.
Over the years I have created weddings on many different private properties and have become an expert on the things you need to do to ensure an event that runs smoothly. I have done weddings at family homes and on completely empty land where we had to bring in everything including electricity and water. I personally love these weddings and it challenges me in creative and logistical ways.
Tips on how to Plan a Private Estate Wedding:
1. Hire a planner right at the beginning, don't plan on taking on this challenge alone. Hire someone that has experience in private property weddings as they have their own set of obstacles not typical at venues that do weddings weekly. Don't be afraid to ask these questions while interviewing and make sure you book the full service package. Your planner will need to know every detail of your event to make sure nothing is missing. They will also be on property multiple days prior to the event during tent and rental installs. You want to make sure they bring extra staff day of to make sure all details are taken care of.
2. Hire ALL professional vendors from catering, to entertainment, rentals, florist, baker and photographer. Each vendor will know how to handle unique situations and adapt where needed. It is very important each vendor does a walk through with the planner to ensure they know where power outlets are, the layout of the venue, load in instructions and any pertinent information they need to know to be prepared properly. Each vendor will also give the planner and couple their list of things they need to ensure they can deliver their services.
3. Hire a full catering company and bar staff. I can not tell you how many couples opt to have family cook and serve food or hire companies that only provide the food but not clean up. This leaves either the guests cleaning up their plates or staff that is supposed to be doing other services cleaning (such as the planner). It is very important your catering staff brings all their own equipment, sets the place settings, fills water and buses the tables. This allows your guests to be completely taken care of and relaxed. This includes your bartender. Hire a company that can service all the couple and guests needs such as bringing in ice, buckets and supplies. It is completely okay to buy your own alcohol just make sure your planner and bartender give you proper quantities. Make sure your contracts include them removing all the trash at the end of the evening or putting in a large dumpster. If you don't have a dumpster on property it would be a good idea to rent one.
4. Have back up power even if the home seems to have enough. I say this again, have a back up generator that runs on gas to make sure even if the power supply goes out you will be safe! Ask each vendor how much power they are needing, know how many outlets they need and plan accordingly. Over plan on this area. Even if you never use the generator it will put everyone's mind at ease.
Also, bring in toilet trailers to ensure no bathroom problems. I am not talking porta potties like you see on the side of the road, I am talking pretty fancy trailers that look just as nice as venue restrooms. Check out this amazing company to see what I am talking about, Five Star Event Trailers
5. Get creative on the layout and design. Go all out on pretty chairs, linens and place settings. Design your heart away and make it unique to you as a couple and the property. These are the small touches that guests will remember. You want them to walk into your wedding and feel at home and as if they walked right into your love story.
I can't wait to see all the pretty weddings you plan!