June 01, 2022 2 min read

Bride’s Guide: What Permits Do You Need for a Home Wedding?

You might be planning a backyard bash for your big day to save money and enjoy a more intimate setting. However, you don’t want to start your married life facing a lawsuit over liability for something that occurred on your property. Staying in compliance with local ordinances prevents the authorities from interrupting your ceremony.

What permits do you need for a home wedding? It varies, but here’s what you need to know.

1. The Noise

Unless you invited all your neighbors to your wedding and they RSVP’d “yes,” you should pay attention to how loud your festivities get. Bands and DJs often pump up the volume, but doing so could get you a noise citation.

Almost every municipality has noise ordinances, but your property may be even more restrictive. For example, some HOAs have rules dictating that homeowners keep musical instruments and other noise below specified limits not to disturb others.

Your best bet is to be proactive. Contact your county regarding ordinances and your HOA to see if you need to obtain a one-time waiver to avoid issues.

2. The Food

You don’t have to worry about contacting the authorities if you plan a potluck. It becomes your responsibility to label foods and keep them at the right temperature to prevent guest illness.

However, many brides decide to rent a food truck or caterer. Ensure they have the correct operating permits to avoid potential liability if a guest gets sick. For example, trucks require staff to have food handlers’ permits and health department certification with a business and vehicle license.

3. Guest Safety

You also need to ensure guest safety. Although you don’t typically require a permit for a backyard gathering, some jurisdictions will need a fire inspection if you rent a tent, as they classify these as temporary structures.

Furthermore, you should take commonsense measures to prevent potential liability and keep people safe. For example, if you feature fire pits in your decor, you should keep an extinguisher or two on hand to tackle any unexpected blazes.

Another note on fire: Depending on where you live, burn restrictions could impact your ability to use fire pits and some types of patio heaters. Contact your county to be sure.

4. Parking

Home weddings mean crowding your street with unfamiliar cars. Naturally, some neighbors will become upset if vehicles block their driveways or take their usual spots.

Additionally, some locations require parking permits during specified hours. Contact your city to see if such rules apply. Otherwise, speak with your neighbors and agree on where parking is OK.

Pave the Way for a Home Wedding

Home weddings entail bringing outside vendors and visitors into residential areas. Depending on where you live, you may need permission.

Talk to your county and HOA about what permits you need for your ceremony. Avoid liability by staying on the right side of the law.