I was reading a couple articles and then a smattering of comments about the challenges, expense and limitations of having a wedding ceremony at home. As with many of the articles and comments I’ve read during this wedding planning process, it was both not really relevant to us and a bit inaccurate. It did get me to thinking, however, about OUR path to making the choice in venue and all the reasons and realities with our at-home, backyard celebration.
One of Teri’s concerns when we were initially looking at venues was public vs. private and how comfortable we could be as a same-sex couple. While I tend to be quite thick-skinned about such things, I had to admit she had a point. If we chose to have our ceremony in a public garden or place, we would be subject to any hecklers or individuals who wanted to use our ceremony as a “teaching moment” or public/political spectacle. In choosing a typical venue, outing ourselves as a same-sex couple was par for the course. As I was contacting potential places: hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, etc. that was part of what I had to disclose and while I did it, there was the open potential for less-than-comfortable interactions. One of the first places we went to visit was an inn owned and operated by a lesbian couple. I had to agree with Teri when she stated that she wanted to be able to feel comfortable and focused on our incredible day—without any detractors.
As we continued our search and narrowed our choices, other limitations began to pop up. Some places, we had to use their recommended caters, other places (a couple historical ones) we were limited in what sort of food and beverages we could have because of the possible damage to historic rugs and furniture. In the process of exploring possible venues, Teri and I got closer and closer to qualifying WHAT we did want and the feel, ambiance and environment we wanted for our ceremony and celebration. It was both an “ah hah” moment and quite liberating when we decided to have the shindig at our home.
Now, we do not have a huge home and the large garden and yard is not a smooth expanse of well-clipped grass. There are vegetable beds and big old trees and winding paths over uneven terrain. We only have one bathroom and one small-ish kitchen. While we’ve mapped out where the tables and chairs will go, the reality may be a bit different than the sketches. We have estimated how many guests we can handle and if there are more, well they may have to stand during the ceremony or spread themselves out on quilts and blankets. Our mantra has become “There will be plenty of room.” We are not frightened by these articles that tell us we must hire tents and port-a-potties and get special licenses. It is not going to rain on August 13th and 70 people can take turns using the bathroom. We have insurance. If someone one block over decides to mow their lawn or the neighbor’s rooster goes on a crowing binge—it is not going to detract from our celebration.
I guess in the end, it comes down to who you are as a couple and what sort of ceremony and celebration suits you. Fortunately for Teri and me, we have been pretty darn simpatico with our wants and wishes. It isn’t as if I was craving a big formal church thing-y and she wanted to stand on a beach! The must-haves that kept coming up for us were: comfortable, abundant, warm, inclusive, private, wonderful food, participation, special and charming, but non-fussy. We discovered that we didn’t want to be limited by time constraints or unable to serve up our home-brewed beer; we loved the idea of stepping off our deck in our bare feet and lovely dresses into a garden brimming with family and friends…
That is why WE decided that the at-home, garden wedding was for us!