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How to Plan a Private Residence Wedding in 2021

Photographer: Lauren Odderstol

We have seen a huge increase in private residence weddings over the last few years. It seems more and more couples are choosing to say "I do" at their home or on a special piece of property.

We love this trend, as private residences offer couples a level of creative freedom and uniqueness that you don't get with standard venues. Plus, there is something so romantic about a couple looking out on their backyard, maybe watching their children play together, and remembering the day they started forever together.

Sound like like something you've been day dreaming of?

While we love private residence weddings and even have a coordination package specifically for them, there is a long list of "To Do's" and definitely plenty of "Don't Do's." This blog here is your handy dandy guide to private residence weddings.

If you're looking for some inspiration, check out these galleries on our website:

(click to view)


Yes, Go For It!

1. DO have a designated planner you trust.

We'll be honest and let you know that there is a LOT of work that goes into planning a private residence wedding. There's no vendor staff or manager that has a specific plan for that space-- it's entirely what you imagine. So definitely, definitely, definitely hire a planner to be your logistical expert.

This is less a sales pitch, and more a sign letting you know that will want somebody by your side for this. We can help you map out a fully functioning event plan, molded by your ideas, specific for the space you choose.

Why YPB for your planner? Our private residence package comes includes 3 planners onsite on the day of your wedding. Your parents or aunts and uncles shouldn't have to play venue manager all day (and if something goes wrong, we don't want that bad blood). We want everyone (you included) to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Trust me... hire a planner.

2. DO evaluate the amount of usable space for all your wedding day events.

We call this "doing a sanity check." Before you begin planning anything with the space you've chosen, you need to make sure there is enough usable space for the event you are imagining. I cannot tell you how many times we've gone through a preliminary walkthrough only to discover that the intended property could only host half of the desired guest count.

You'll want to have an accurate space assessment and design floor plans to scale. Plan for a site walkthrough very early in the process to avoid headaches down the line. If you're someone who dreams hard, we love that. But again, we recommend a planner because making a dream reality requires major logistical planning.

3. DO invite your photographer to come out and look at the space before planning.

More than likely, none of your vendors will have worked at the private space you've chosen. This is usually not a problem (vendors are professionals for a reason!), but you will want your photographer to see the space so they can:

  • scope out photo locations

  • advise on timing for lighting purposes

  • advise on locations of the alter, getting-ready locations, etc. to ensure good lighting and photo opportunities

Photographers can only do so much with mal-lit areas.

4. DO map out your electrical capabilities.

Photographer: Katy Weaver

This is often overlooked. Private residence weddings require a lot of power for the kitchen, the DJ/band and speakers, the lights over the event space, the lights in the catering/back of house area, and even lights to parking. You are going to want to know what outlets are on what circuits, as well as what output each circuit is so you can split the load and avoid blowing fuses all evening.

5. DO budget for and invest in the nice restrooms.

Portable restrooms have come a long way. There are now beautiful, clean, air-conditioned mobile restrooms that are perfect for you and your guests. If you're having a wedding larger than just immediate family, trust me, they are worth every penny. Renting a restroom avoids having to deal with any mishaps in the bathroom from overly drunk guests, your best friend's toddler, or just general wear and tear. Wondering where to rent? Check out our favorites:


You're Thanking About It, But Don't Do It.

1. DON'T assume private residence weddings save you money.

We think this is the biggest fallacy in wedding planning in general and is often the biggest mistake we see couples make. This type of wedding means no venue fee, but that fee is replaced with rental costs, bathroom rentals, home improvement projects, etc. As with any wedding, definitely have the budget-talk with your planner before you move forward so you have an accurate assessment of costs.

Don't know how to calculate all these costs? Ask us about our budget planning tool!

2. DON'T forget to plan and budget for rain/inclement weather.

No doubt about it, an essential part of a Northwest wedding plan is a solid plan B. There is more truth to this with private residences because, unfortunately, there is a lot more than can go wrong.

Photographer: Shelby Brakken

For instance, even if you tent the reception site, guests may have a long muddy walk from the parking area to the tent. Planning for how to get the guests from car to the event, dry and mud-free is just one of the details that a Plan B has to consider.

Same goes for food. When we plan a wedding, we always have a back-of-house catering tent/area separate from guests, getting the food from the service tent to the reception tent is another consideration. As you can see, there are a lot of details to consider, which is why having a planner is so important.

3. DON'T forget the basics.

We always tell our couples that happy guests only need 3 things: enough food, enough to drink and a place to stay warm or cool. Those basic creature-comforts are all you need to focus on for a truly successful event.

With that being said, we've see couples lose sight of those details as they focus on other elements. With a private residence wedding, do all you can to ensure your guests are comfortable, and that includes having clean restrooms, blankets and things to fill their stomachs. Also, don't make your guests hike a mile to that pretty tree down on the back 40.

4. DON'T ignore the pesky critters.

Bees, wasps, and flies... oh my! Pests are always an issue at an outdoor wedding, and they are especially a pain at a private residences where there isn't an established plan for preventing them. We have a ton of tricks up our sleeves to help with these flying critters, and today I am taking you to the source of our wisdom:

That peppermint trick and avoiding lavender and BBQ? Works WONDERS!

5. Avoid the chill.

As we mentioned above, you'll want to keep your guests comfortable. Northwest nights can get a little chilly. In addition to renting heaters, we also recommend having a few lap blankets on hand. Ikea and Walmart have cozy little throw blankets for under $3 each. Having a basket with these throws will keep every warm and comfortable all night long!

We hope this helps! As always, email us with any questions you have at


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