How to make a wedding porta potty less gross and more awesome

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a very romantic porta potty
Photo by Brandon Soder

To get away with the budget we've set our for ourselves, private property is a must for our location.

This means Honey Buckets for everyone.

If we go that route, how do we tactfully let guests know that's the deal?

Help!

-Jennifer E

Porta potties have gotten a bad rap at music festivals and campgrounds. Typically, the blue-water nightmares at crowded outdoor events are poorly maintained and abused by drunks, and you're more likely to find a turd on the toilet seat than you are a roll of toilet paper.

…But have you ever been in a freshly-delivered porta potty? They're actually just fine! Clean, unsmelly, and totally inoffensive.

If you get porta potties for the property where you're hosting your wedding, you'll see that they aren't as bad as you thought. But

porta potties are secretly hilarious to everyone, and your goal is to make the most of that.

THAT SAID! Guests could indeed be a little bit shocked upon arrival, so you're wise to let them know what to expect.

IDEA THE FIRST: HUMOR

A little humor can go a long way towards making it seem like, sure: you know this is a little uncouth, but we're all friends here and isn't this funny?! Because really: poo is always funny!

Make the most of this comedic goldmine, but do it in a classy way if you can.

IDEA THE SECOND: POETRY

Might I suggest a poem? Because poetry always makes feces seem classy. Limericks, especially! Perhaps something like this could be included with your invites:

A note about the facilities:
Since our wedding is on lovely but private land,
Our restroom options are limited — but we've planned
To have porta potties for all of you,
To make use of whilst you do things like pee and poo,
And we promise the potties will be quite grand.

IDEA THE THIRD: DECORATE

Then of course you'll need to follow through on your promise — “grand” porta potties? Oh YES, darling. You really haven't done wedding decorations until you've spruced up a porta potty.

You could go simple and floral. Perhaps a fish theme? (er, then again, perhaps not.) Make sure you include at least a couple strings of battery-powered Christmas tree lights, but don't go quite this over the top.

Put a few nicely scented candles inside the porta potty, and post more poetry or even the story of how the two of you met on the inside of the door where toilet-seated guests can read it and enjoy it.

Maybe decorate the outside like it's its own potty party! Something like one of these kits? (Click the picture for more info…)

But seriously: have fun with it. Go by the theory that if you make light-hearted fun of yourself first, no one else seems to gripe on their own. You KNOW the porta potties aren't classy, so gently have some fun with it them and make the most of it.

Hell, cheezy bride & groom toilet paper anyone? Why not! Find a fun way to let your guests know in advance (my poem may be way over the top, but you get the idea), and then do what you can to add a little hilarious flair to the facilities themselves.

… And if your guests give you grief for using porta potties, you just tell about MY wedding, where guests pooped into sawdust-filled buckets using a composting system my mother calls “humanure.” I am not kidding.

For a great example of an Offbeat Bride who had porta potties at her wedding, check out Katie's wedding.

sani setup

Comments on How to make a wedding porta potty less gross and more awesome

  1. I went to a wedding that had porta potties this summer, and they were actually really nice. They were very clean and decorated with flowers, and the water was cinnamony instead of having that overpowering disinfectant smell. It was even really hot outside and they never got stinky.

    • I went to a party a few years ago. Beautiful huge home, but they put nasty porta potties outside. I thought it was very rude. I have had many parties at my own home and never expected guests to go to a porta pottie. There was no way to wash your hands. If you don’t want people,in your house or using your toilet, maybe you new to rethink having people over at all.

  2. Hi Ariel!
    I’m a wedding planner in Santa Barbara and I would LOVE to get one of your books – my brides are, by and large, semi traditional, but I always (strongly) encourage them to make some new traditions/fun touches in their weddings. If you’ve got any links for Seattle based paperies, I’d love to get them – I’ve got a cool couple up there right now and would like to direct them to a cost-effective and cool printer.

    Cheers and LOVE the flickr pool!

  3. I’m getting married this summer in a beautiful grove of oak trees on a farm, but…gulp…porta potties! I am so glad to hear from someone else going that route too. We looked at a number of places that were more practical, but this place felt magical to us. However, since we met and fell in love at Burning Man, our impressions of porta potties are foul! My mom ended up convincing me that it would be fine and that clean ones really aren’t that bad.

    We’ve decided, though, that we’re not going to warn our guests. I don’t want to hear it from anyone before the wedding, and once they are at the party they’ll be having so much fun, they won’t even think about it.

  4. Aha! Julia, I see you’re using the ol’ “Don’t ask/don’t tell” method, an extremely effective way of minimizing pre-wedding back-talk from guests. What they don’t know about, they can’t gripe over! Excellent advice. 🙂

  5. I went to a wedding last summer here in Phoenix. It was in the evening, but even so, the temperature was probably 100 degrees. They had something I had never seen before, a portable toilet trailer. It was air conditioned, had decorations, stalls, lights, sinks and even the radio playing. I found a site that had similar ones:

    http://www.partypop.com/Vendors/4113087.htm

  6. Porta Potty trailers are the bomb! But if you can’t afford that, Porta Potties are really not so bad. We have our permanent one (yeah, don’t even ask; it’s for our “pretend nightclub” strung up with lights and sometimes candles and make it always smell good. It’s nice to know ahead of time so you a) know to bring something to wrap around you to go outside to use it if it’s not an outdoor wedding and b) know not to wear heels if it’s in dirt or grass.

    BTW, I love invites that specifically tell you that you might want to avoid spike heels. I’d always rather know ahead of time what to wear and not to wear.

  7. I would think it would be helpful to rent at least one of the disability-accessible double-wide type porta potties, if it doesn’t cost a ton more. It could be easier for older family members who have less mobility, and they’re less claustrophobic than the normal size ones.

  8. the port-a-potties at my sister’s wedding doubled as the perfect venue for a clambake, if you know what i mean…

  9. Thanks using my Christmas port-a-potty as a visual aid. I’m glad it continues to entertain past the holiday season!

  10. Much love for a well-placed port-a-pottie, here. One of my brides looked somewhat askance at me,

    “You. Are. Not. Taking. A picture. Of the portalet, are you?!”

    I thought it was awesome, and the mirror hanging in the tree next to it was just too fabulous.

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