chris loring

wedding photographer

March 7, 2017

Planning your Private Home VRBO Wedding – Tips for Couples

I have been in the wedding industry for over 7 years now, and many of my favorite weddings were held at private homes and VRBO’s.

Private home VRBO weddings have their own rules and unique requirements, but are so worth the extra effort!

For one, couples will be able to spend the entire weekend of the wedding at the home, and celebrate over and over with the family and friends who get to stay there with them.

Two, the morning of the wedding is relaxed and fun! No rushing out to hair and makeup appointments, or meeting deadlines at wedding venues.

I wanted to offer some tips for couples who are planning private home and VRBO weddings, to get you going on the right foot! I’m also an open book, feel free to message me with your questions.

First off, the logistical stuff.

1. You will need to start a budget, and list, of small things to rent. Many items that are often included in the more traditional wedding venues may be non-existent at a private home or VRBO.

  • Outdoor space heaters, for the evening; especially if outdoor mingling or dancing is expected
  • Cocktail tables (the tall tables) for mingling
  • Tables for the guest book, gifts, and reception
  • Linens to cover all of the tables
  • Chairs or benches for the ceremony & reception
  • Dish ware, glassware, and silverware especially if your catering company does not have or include them


2. You’ll want to have a weather plan in place, and that includes renting pieces that will provide comfort to guests even in normal or inclement weather. Examples may include blankets, umbrellas, reception tents (which can be completely open air on the sides!) and large umbrellas or sunshades if the property doesn’t have a lot of shade.

3. You may want to consider professional lighting. Most wedding venues have some sort of beautiful lighting: cafe lights for example. You can hire a company to come in and string lights between trees, to make a beautiful outdoor dance floor. If you choose a white reception tent, I always recommend some inexpensive uplighting for the sides of the tent. Outdoor first dance

4. Don’t forget about parking! It can be a major headache to find places to park a large volume of cars, and the last thing you want is to have your guests walking blocks to get into the party, or worse yet. . .make the neighbors mad!  If there is a wide open dirt lot, assign ushers to help park the cars in rows while guests arrive. Or for residential properties where street parking is the only option, consider hiring shuttles to pick guests up at hotels and other locations around town.

5. Talk to your catering company about their requirements for power, heat, and a prep space. Make sure they know that your wedding and reception will be at a private home or VRBO. Additionally, consider hiring a professional chef to make your family and friends a lovely breakfast on the morning of the wedding!

6. Hire a professional bartender like Peak Beverage. Here in Colorado we have some pretty strict laws about liqueur; hiring a professional company to come in and serve drinks can eliminate some liability issues that could arise. Not only that, it’s one less thing for you to worry about setting up!

7. Talk to your DJ or band about their requirements for power, and make sure that their system won’t overload the electrical capabilities of the property. Further, you’ll want to check into the noise ordinances; you definitely don’t want to have the police at your door at 10pm when the party is still going strong! It’s also a great idea to chat with the neighbors, so they don’t file complaints about your DJ on the day of your wedding. (cookies and a lovely, hand written card are a fantastic gesture, if you want to start off on a positive foot!).

8. Be very clear in communicating the address of the property to vendors and guests. A lot of properties, especially rural ones, don’t register properly on google maps. Getting everybody to the right place, safely, is key.


9. Here is the icky one. . .bathrooms! You will likely need to rent bathrooms and a hand washing station to handle the volume of guests at your wedding. Most homes cannot handle the increased water usage from guests. I highly recommend one of the newer trailer bathrooms instead of porta-potties, but either way, make sure you have something that is handicap accessible!

10. My biggest piece of advice is to hire a wedding planner. Many consider planners to be for high-end events only, but a lot of couples who are planning low-key and relaxed weddings find they greatly benefit from a wedding planner! A good planner can actually help you save money, will know exactly what you need, and will help execute the wedding day so that all you and your family have to do is relax.

I specialize in private outdoor weddings, so private home and VRBO’s are right up my alley. If you are planning a VRBO wedding, I would love to hear from you!



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