Lara Sargent, Houzz contributor
Whether you’re sticking to a tight budget or celebrating your big day with just a few guests – or, indeed, have a huge home – holding your wedding reception (and perhaps the ceremony itself) in your own home has so many advantages.
It’s free, of course, but it also means your wedding day will be filled with a charming, homespun ambience that many locations and restaurants just can’t achieve.
And being familiar with every last inch of your house and garden will make the decorating that much easier. Be inspired by these style tips and get your home ‘wedding-day ready’ in no time.
Make your own favours
You don’t have to fork out a fortune for elaborate his ’n’ her favours. I love this simple yet effective modern rustic look, where each table setting is finished off with a single tealight holder (embellished with twine) and a fragrant sprig of lavender.
For me, this beats bags of sugared almonds and mini whisky bottles hands down…
Festoon with flowers
Hand-picked blooms from the garden will enhance the homespun nature of your wedding day. For a striking table setting, arrange a single variety en masse, or mix a few different ones – and don’t be afraid to clash colours against an all-white background (I love the vibrant mix of yellow and purple here). You can easily pick up inexpensive bunches of seasonal flowers from the supermarket, too.
Arrange in a mix of metal troughs, vintage glass vessels and even pretty china cups (ask friends and family to dig out their most beautiful pieces) for a look that’s high on design but easy on the pocket.
Stick to simple and stylish
Fingers crossed, the weather will hold out for your summer wedding at home and allow the wedding breakfast or buffet to be eaten outdoors.
Don’t overcomplicate things: stick to a summery, bleached-out palette of pale, sugary hues and chalky whites. Cover trestle tables with linen cloths and pair with fold-up garden chairs for a sweet, unassuming look. Fill jam jars and old bottles with billowy clouds of gypsophila and light clusters of chunky church candles as evening falls. Who needs a fancy restaurant when your garden can look this beautiful?
Browse more ideas for a gorgeous garden party
Create a cake table
While the traditional wedding cake is by no means dead and buried, it’s quite fashionably fun these days to put on a dessert table instead. Get friends and family to bake their best home-made sponges, cupcakes, scones and sweet treats and arrange on pretty cake stands and glass platters.
Transform an ordinary table with a lace runner or offcuts of vintage fabric, and be generous with bunting – it adds an instant feel-good factor everywhere.
Mix and match
For a small wedding soiree, don’t feel pressured to go out and buy a whole new set of matching crockery and cutlery. Use what you already have and let the eclectic, pick ’n’ mix style wow your guests. Think colourful glassware, vintage china and relaxed bunches of flowers. The look is vintage meets Indian Summers, and spot-on for a wedding filled with colour and happiness.
Channel more of the Indian Summers style
Spruce up your seating
If your dining chairs are looking a tad tired and shabby, disguise them with simple, chic slipcovers.
Plump for hard-wearing cotton or linen in plain white or cream that can be chucked in the washing machine after the big day is over. If you’re a dab hand with a needle and thread, you could try making your own (if your numbers are small, that is). Otherwise, consider hiring covers and get a professional finish to your seating plan.
Light it up
As your big day spills into the night, don’t forget to illuminate the evening celebrations with an array of outdoor lighting.
Sprinkle surfaces and paths with rows of twinkling tealights and decorate trees and tables with strings of multi-coloured fairy lights and white bulbs. Hang up glass lanterns in jewel-bright hues to instil the most magical of memories of your special day.
Chill the champers
Last but not least, make sure you have plenty of good fizz on tap for the very many happy toasts and tipples that will take place throughout your day.
Stock up in advance by keeping tabs on great supermarket deals and remember to have a plentiful supply of crushed ice on hand to keep your fizz nicely chilled.