Homeward Bound

Continued (page 2 of 3)

What you wear on your feet definitely depends on the flooring. Feel free to step out in stilettos if you're holding the reception in your living room or in a tent with a wooden floor. Planning an open-air affair? Give high heels the boot (you'll sink into the grass all day long) and opt for shoes with a wider width that are lower in stature.

Neighborhood Watch

Even a small influx of people—and cars—can cause a big commotion in the neighborhood. What's the best way to ensure that the block association doesn't revoke your membership? Invite your neighbors to the wedding. Even if they don't come, the gesture of goodwill will go a long way toward ensuring their cooperation (maybe they'll even volunteer to help out with the parking situation). Let them know as soon as you've set a date, and offer to accommodate them in any way you can.

Next, consider parking. Your first call should be to the local police. They'll advise you on parking regulations and whether or not you need to obtain any permits. If guests will be parking at a nearby school or church, you might hire a valet service and even a shuttle van. Otherwise, post brightly colored signs to let guests know exactly where to leave their cars once they get close to your house. You don't want Uncle Joe pulling his Hummer onto your neighbor's lawn because he didn't know where else to put it.

Supply and Demand

Often, home weddings can be more expensive than even a lavish bash at a hotel. How's that possible? Blame it on rental costs, which can take your cozy gathering from cheap to steep in the blink of an eye. The list of supplies you'll need may be a long one. Make sure you have extra extension cords, generators (a must if you're having a band), and climate-control equipment (air-conditioning, fans, or heaters) for a tented reception. You'll likely also need basic dinner party items like linens, silverware, barware, tables, and chairs. And don't forget lighting.

"Expect to spend at least $2,500 on rentals per hundred guests," says Joyce Scardina Becker, president of Events of Distinction in San Francisco. It's also a good idea to reserve your rentals early—at least three to six months prior to your date. Call the American Rental Association for referrals (800-334-2177). When you approach rental companies, have the date, time, address, and square footage of your location at hand, as well as an estimate of the number of guests. You'll also want to describe the kind of event you're throwing (seated dinner versus cocktail reception).

Bowl Them Over

If you want to score a royal flush at your party, invest in portable toilets. "They'll prevent guests from wasting time waiting in endless bathroom lines, no one will track mud into your living room, and your septic tank won't overflow," points out Anderson. Porta Pottis have improved a lot since your last Lollapalooza concert. These days, you can get everything from the basic construction version (the big, green closet style found in parks) to the Rolls-Royces of portable bathrooms, which come in a trailer with several separate stalls, sinks with running water, and mirrors.

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