Thursday, July 1, 2021

Chicago weddings are an important milestone in a couple’s life, and planning the perfect wedding day can take a lot of preparation. From planting shrubbery to installing a fresh coat of paint, there are many details you may not have thought of to ensure your space looks beautiful and the event runs smoothly.

If you’re about to get married and are wanting to create an intimate wedding at home but don’t know where to start, look no further. We reached out to expert Chicago wedding planners and professional wedding photographers across North America, from Portland, OR to Toronto, ON, to share their best tips on how to transform your home into an intimate wedding. Read on to see what they had to say.

Check out our last article: 7 Things to Know before Hiring a Chicago Wedding Planner >>

The cost of an intimate Chicago Micro wedding at home

While in some cases the all-in cost is lower after you factor in costs often associated with a private event (ie. valet parking, staging, rentals, tenting, and landscaping) the cost can rival or even exceed that of a wedding at a traditional venue. – Eva Clark Events

Start with a great base. Clean cut grass, well-manicured landscaping, and open wide spaces are all key to executing a wedding well in a backyard. Also, work with the space to give you important elements. Do you have a 100-year-old tree in your backyard? Add fabric to it and anchor it with some floral arrangements to make a statement ceremony space. – Details Wedding Arizona

Consider the floral season. Refresh your landscaping with plants and flowers in your wedding color palette that will be blooming for your day. Plant a mix of flowers and foliages that can be used by your floral designer as inspiration for your arrangements for a chic and effortless look from garden ceremony to tabletop design. – Britlyn Simone Floral

Make sure your area is flat. If the land on your property isn’t completely flat, consider having sub-flooring built to level out the space. Don’t forget to account for additional space for the caterer’s prep and cooking area, restroom trailers, and a generator, which most weddings will need. – Sarah Kazemburg Events & Styling

Take proper measurements. Ensure you have correct measurements so you have enough space for your guests to be comfortable and don’t forget to take into consideration that you need room for people to walk around. – Ebeling Events

Have the proper infrastructure. Do you have enough power, water, trash cans, restrooms, etc.? If not you can bring in power via a generator, you can bring in water via the caterer, and you can bring in restroom trailers. – Jove Meyer Events

Create a color-neutral yard. Then you can design your events any way you want. This way you can create a colorful soiree or a monochromatic dinner party and neither option will compete with the home’s built-in surroundings. – Crain and Co.

Allow your guests to come in through the side entrance. Design the walkway with flowers, lights, and drapes matching the aesthetic of the wedding. Feel free to add a welcome sign or little goodies placed on a table as well. – Tum Hi Ho Events

Consider laying out pavers in areas that will see a lot of foot traffic. Any rain or moisture will turn a grassy yard into a muddy mess with guests. Utilize what you already have to decorate – shrubbery, plants & features can be easily cleaned up to give the space an extra touch of class, and I always say “the more string lights, the better” to keep the space lit for photos as you celebrate into the evening. – Wild Coast Photography, LLC

Use plants to create a natural arbor or statement piece. Ornamental hedges or a climbing plant like Star Jasmine will elevate your wedding ceremony and potentially your home value. – Chris Brodell

Consider long term lighting and audio. Think state of the art speaker system, festive market lights, uplighting the trees, pool lighting, etc. These can be enjoyed for the event, but also for future evenings around the fire pit and backyard gatherings for years to come. Fire pits are always a fun and functional place to gather as the evening continues – Bello & Blue

Rent glamorous overhead and property lighting. Chances are most homes are not equipped with this feature. Bringing this rental item in through an outside company may hurt a client’s budget, however, creating the mood and setting an intimate scene is crucial for creating ambiance. – Iman Lee

Focus on soft lighting. Installing bistro lights over a patio or reception area will not only transform the entire mood, but will also create an intimate atmosphere by creating a ceiling-like effect under the stars. –  Kreate Photography

Try Edison or Portofino lighting. One of the best ways to create an intimate wedding at home that will make it look and feel like a unique space is to remember the lighting. Incorporate Edison or Portofino lighting throughout the room, balcony, or trees some lanterns that create a light glow. – Wedding Collective NM

Light up your interior. When creating an intimate wedding at home, don’t forget about lighting. For indoor events, mix it up with some colored uplighting, lamps, and twinkling fairy lights, or even a disco ball. Avoid exclusively overhead lights which create harsh shadows and are unflattering. – Zoe Larkin

Shade is crucial. Keep your guests comfortable with lots of natural shade by planting large sweeping shade trees like Salix, or installing a large trellis arbor with posts. Keep things simple by adding micro clover to your lawn to keep it green all year, and add affordable annual border plantings or hanging lanterns you can move later if you decide to host other gatherings. – Events by Emily

Set up a dance floor under the pool. Their closest friends can have a sleepover under the stars and they all can keep celebrating the following day with a more intimate brunch. While an intimate wedding at home is a more personalized space, it is also a lot of work and logistics coordination as everything needs to be rented out, delivered, and set up so having a great team of professionals will make the design and planning process very easy and fun for the couple. – BWeddings Chicago

Build an acrylic sturdy platform above your pool. You and your guests will be in for a grand entrance surprise. Worried about not having enough lighting in the backyard, add some illumination by installing einstein string or fairy lights. You’ll feel like you’re dancing under a million stars. – Passionate Weddings

Timing is key. Choose a location and time in your backyard where the sun isn’t hitting you directly in your eyes when reading your vows. – Earth Below Photo

Always have a firm weather backup plan. We recommend clearing out all furniture in one part of the home just in case it has to be the weather backup for the ceremony and/or cocktail hour and removing the furniture makes it seem more event-appropriate. – Ohana Events

From Redfin:

Additional Reading:

5 Types of Weddings in Chicago You Need To Know About >>

How to Hire a Wedding Planner in Chicago >>

5 Tips by Top Chicago Wedding Planners and Vendors >>

Wedding Planner Chicago >>