Many couples on a budget (or even with unlimited funds) want to get married at a private home. Maybe your parents' home, or perhaps the house where you met on a blind date, or a friend's house with the great sea view. Some people choose a home wedding because they think it will be less stress, only to find that they have taken on more than they can deal with.

Getting married at (a) home can be a cost effective way to have a fantastic wedding, but unless you hire professionals to handle all of the details for you, you'll probably be putting in more work than you thought. Professional wedding vendors can be worth their cost in stress-relief alone. However, if budget is the main issue, check out the tips below:

Starting on time :
If you want your wedding ceremony to begin on time, tell your guests that "the event" starts half an hour before. Even if you've sent out formal invitations, guests are much more relaxed about arriving on time for a home wedding.

If you *must* have children there :
If you have your wedding cake where small hands can reach it, small hands will reach it. Hire a nanny for the day, or make sure that someone you trust is designated to supervise the children. They are often overlooked in the relative chaos of a home wedding unless someone is specifically tasked with their supervision.

Music :
If you are using recorded music, make sure the speakers are correctly placed and the volume tested prior to guests arriving. Get a friend to be your "DJ", and make sure they know which tracks are to be played at what point in the ceremony. Ask someone who is familiar with the sound setup you will be using and have him or her practice pushing the right buttons well in advance. Music is a common cause of last minute rushing about that delays home weddings.

Even better, find a live duo or trio to start off on the right note. Many music schools will have capable string and wind instrument players who will only be too happy to play for free (with the prospect of exposure, and free food and drink!), or perhaps you have a talented friend or relative?

Keeping the costs down :
Don't be afraid to ask friends and relatives for assistance. They will probably feel honoured to be needed and thrilled to help. You can probably get just about everything you need from the people nearest and dearest to you. Make a list of everyone you know and what skills, talents and resources they have that you might need. Only then think of buying or hiring stuff.

Don't be the isolated bride :
If you follow the superstition that prohibits the groom from seeing the bride in the dress before the ceremony, the bride is often hidden in a bedroom, with the result that the bride feels isolated from the party atmosphere in the rest of the house. You may have a few friends with you - and will almost certainly have a steady stream of visitors coming in and out, but after awhile, that can get annoying - especially if something substantially delays the start of the ceremony.

Consider getting your hair and makeup ready early and then mingle among your arriving guests until almost the last minute, and change into your wedding dress shortly before the ceremony is scheduled to begin.

Cleaning - before and after :
Who wants to clean house on the day of their wedding, either before or after? Think about hiring a cleaning service to prepare the house before, and to clean up after, or ask friends and relatives for help. You really don't want to be vacuuming or cleaning the windows just before your guests arrive.

Put together a schedule for the three days - the day before. the wedding day, and the day after - that allows plenty of time for everything that is required to be done. Plan to have everything done at least two hours before your first guests are due. A bride or groom running around cleaning up, replacing toilet paper, filling ice buckets etc. makes for stress.

Think of the Neighbours :
If you don't already know the neighbours, now might be a good time to meet them. Let neighbours know when you are getting married and how many cars to expect. This might avoid things like mowing lawn during your ceremony or blocking the road with their own party guests. You may even be able to use their driveway(s) for guest parking. If you are lucky enough to have the use of neighbours' driveways, use them for specific guests. In other words, tell the people who should use the driveway parking where to park.

Safety :
Take the time to walk through the property a few times and look at it with several perspectives in mind. Are there hazards for small children who may be present? Is it accessible to guests with mobility issues? Will there be any electrical or plumbing issues for the number of guests expected to attend? Will parking in some areas restrict easy access to the home? Is there a pool that would pose a problem for children and non-swimmers? Are there scruffy areas or garden debris that may attract unwanted indigenous creatures?

Delegate! :
Whether you are hiring musicians, caterers, maids, photographers etc., or are doing everything yourself, the biggest mistake you can make is not to delegate. Make sure other people know your basic expectations and your grand plan. Do not think of yourselves as the hosts, even if you are paying for everything yourselves.

Have someone else fill that role to free you up to be the bride and groom. You do not want to be micromanaging details the day of the wedding. Plan in advance, delegate to trusted individuals and relax. Your wedding will be what it will be and it will be wonderful.