When my son and future daughter-in-law asked to use my home as their wedding venue, I was thrilled. COVID has delayed a lot of celebrations and I, for one, am ready to celebrate again (safely outdoors with plenty of vaccinated guests, of course). As the planning began, I realized how similar preparing a home for a wedding is to selling one. In both instances, you want the home to feel spacious and look beautiful.
If you decide to host a wedding this summer, allow me to share what I’ve learned so far (the wedding is in September, so I’m still figuring out the details). First and foremost, it’s important to consider the flow of people throughout the day. How will you keep the bride and groom from seeing each other before the ceremony? Where will visitors park their cars? Can everyone navigate stairs? How will caterers transport food and drink? Will the bride appear from around the corner of the home or come down the stairs? What is the contingency plan if it rains or worse, hits 110 degrees? I quickly discovered why people hire wedding planners.
One of the great things about preparing your home for a wedding (or for sale) is that your inner procrastinator runs out of excuses to put off projects. You know that door to the back yard that requires a good shove to open? Now’s the time to fix it. You know that rub spot on the banister where the paint has worn away? Time to repaint. You know that loose brick in the walkway that catches the tip of your shoe about every third trip? Time to mortar it in. Look around for safety hazards as well as little repairs that will beautify your home.
If you’re hosting an outdoor event, remember that we’re heading into one of the worse drought years in decades. Traditionally, I’ve resisted giving up my front and back lawns, though I have allowed them to die in previous droughts. Since a dead lawn doesn’t make the nicest backdrop, I’m thinking it is finally time to replace my lawns with drought-resistant, indigenous landscaping or to paint my lawn with green lawn paint.
As you head indoors, consider taking a page from the home sellers’ manual and remove about a third of the furniture. It makes the home feel open and welcoming. This may seem extreme for a wedding, but if an indoor wedding is planned (or if the contingency plan includes bringing everyone inside), you’ll need plenty of room. Candidly, I’m a bit of a pack rat, so I definitely need to remove some belongings before the big day. Fortunately, I have a warehouse where I can store things for a while. If you don’t, you may be able to move furniture into your garage or into a room to remain off-limits on wedding day. Worst-case scenario may include imposing on friends or family to store things at their place for a short while or rent a self-storage unit.
If you have firearms or valuables, it is best to secure them so they don’t fall into the wrong hands during the event. A toddler who likes the sparkly things may pocket your great-grandmother’s diamond necklace, and I don’t even want to contemplate a firearm in a curious toddler’s hands.
Once you’ve prepared your home for a wedding (or for sale), you may find you like it so much you don’t want to go back to the way it was. I know people who planned to sell their house because they thought they needed more space, only to discover that when they got rid of a third of their furniture and did a few repairs, they remembered how much they love their home and decided they didn’t need more room after all. I have no plans to sell my home, but I can imagine that when forced to remove some of my belongings to make room for wedding guests, I may just find I can live quite happily without all that stuff.
Although weddings are a lot of work, they are worth it. I admit, I’m looking forward to having all the planning and preparation behind me so I can sit back, enjoy the ceremony, and welcome my new in-laws into the family.
If you have questions about property management or real estate, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 462-4000. If you have an idea for a future column, share it with me and if I use it, I’ll send you a $25 gift certificate to Schat’s Bakery. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 45 years.