Our at-a-glance guide to the pros and cons of six different types of wedding venues.

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Good news: If your goal is to have a family-oriented, non-cookie-cutter wedding, you can't do much better than hosting the event at your or your family's home. With no required vendors or set menus, you'll have the chance to make everything feel homespun and personalized. And with friends and family pitching in, labor will be minimized.

Bad news: Despite the lack of space rental fees, hosting a wedding at home can cost more than a lavish bash at a five-star hotel if you're not careful, since the list of rentals will be a long one: linens, silverware, barware, tables, chairs, a dance floor, generators, speakers, and portable toilets (at least one for every 50 guests). You may also need to get a professional landscaper to fill uneven ground or plant grass. Hiring a skilled planner to coordinate the wedding is a good idea, since a lot of logistical planning will be required: calling the local trash collector to ask about special pickups, acquiring parking permits for your street (or finding out if guests can park at a local school and use shuttle vans), asking the police about any noise ordinances or curfews, and informing (or inviting) neighbors.

Margaret Sison Photography

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