Conducting a Ceremony at Home

Feb 26, 2013

Home or garden-based ceremonies are becoming more common. I’d like to suggest a few tips to make planning the occasion less stressful.

I am assuming that there will be a celebrant, and that they will plan the actual ceremony with you in advance as well as, on the day, meeting with participants, to confirm their roles.

The Venue

You will obviously need a suitable-sized room or garden to accommodate the number of guests you are inviting. In the event of bad weather, in consultation with the celebrant, you must be ready to hold the ceremony indoors.

You will need to consider the age and health of your guests, and the length of the ceremony, but you will need adequate chairs (and a table available for the ceremony). Consider wheelchair access, if appropriate. You might need to provide cover from sun (or rain!), at least for the main protagonists.

Make sure everything is laid out well in advance of the first guests’ arrival.

 

Disturbance

Outside ceremonies in particular can be liable to all manner of disturbances, such as aircraft, lawnmowers, animals, neighbours etc. You can ensure that your pets are shut away, if they are likely to disturb the ceremony. You cannot control external noise, but if there are regular disturbances (eg you are on a flight path), it may be better to hold the ceremony inside.

Alcohol should not be served before the end of the ceremony. There is nothing worse than rowdy guests spoiling the atmosphere!

If laying out chairs, try and leave some at the back for latecomers. If VIP guests are late, it may be possible to delay the ceremony (at the celebrant’s discretion), but you won’t want to leave guests exposed to whatever the climate is doing for too long – or to keep children fidgeting too long.

Health & Safety

Your domestic insurance will need to cover third party liability to visitors.

You’ll have to ensure entrances/exits are clear and safe, and that any garden structures (eg marquee) are safe and secure. Electrical equipment must be safe, with no trailing wires/cables. Water features should be treated as a hazard.

 

Quite a lot to bear in mind, but with planning and consideration, there is no reason why you cannot hold a wonderful ceremony in your home.