Over the past year, there have been more home weddings in Chicago than ever before. Research has shown this spike as a result of the sour economy and the growing dissatisfaction many people are developing with churches who embrace same-sex marriages. With the month of May starting the summer wedding season, couples should consider five things before planning their special day.

1. Guests: The first big consideration is how many guests do you plan to be in attendance? Do you have enough room for them all? Are there enough restrooms? Where will they sit? Where will you have the ceremony so everyone can see? Where will you set up the food tables for your guests? Where will you put everyone if it rains outside?

2. Seating: Next, you have to think about seating. You must plan where to situate tables, sheltered from possible disruptive weather but still aligning with the restrictions enforced by the city of Chicago or county where you live. Rentals can get expensive. Will you need a tent? Depending on the size, you are looking at $500 to over $3,000 to get a pretty tent with enough room for your party, dance floor, food tables, etc. And that is before you rent any tables, chairs, linens, decor items, dance floors or lights.

3. Proper Planning: Consider where you will store all of the trash until it is time for it to be picked up by your sanitation department. What about parking? If you are serving alcohol, will you cut off service before it’s time for the party to end so your guests can travel safely back to wherever they are going?

4. Changing Your Home: Your home will have to be transformed long before the wedding day. But doing so can be a challenege because it requires you to manage both the changes taking place for the wedding and also keep tabs on where things, like furniture, are being temporarily moved to so it can go back after the wedding. Ensure you are taking the necessary preparation precautions to make the transition after the wedding as smooth as possible.

5. Bad weather: You’ll need a tent for outdoors, but what if the ground becomes a hazard for walking or dancing? Consider the most efficient ways to clean up any unexpected weather so your wedding continues to run according to plan. You spent a lot of money on that gown and don’t want your train to get an ounce of dirt or rain on it.

The following local businesses may be able to help you get started:

Big City Bride
954 W Webster Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 525-7526

Big City Bride knows how to do a home wedding. Use their expertise to help plan yours.

Engaging Events By Ali, Inc.
3862 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 777-2299

These guys have been planning weddings for years. Consult them for any wedding uncertainties.

Recycling Systems Inc.
3152 S California Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 579-0100

Dispose of all leftover party remnants in an environmentally-friendly manner.

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For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit CBSChicago.com/YourHome.

Wendell Hutson is an award-winning journalist based in Chicago with 20 years experience covering the Chicago market. Hutson, a 2009 and 2010 A. Philip Randolph award recipient, which is sponsored annually by the National Newspapers Publishers Association, is a senior contributing writer for the Chicago Crusader, a 71 year-old weekly, community newspaper. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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