10 Tips for Wedding Setup & Cleanup

Tips for wedding setup and cleanup, flowers by Fields in Bloom, photo by Brandi Potter Photography
Tips for wedding setup and cleanup, flowers by Fields in Bloom, photo by Brandi Potter Photography

Wedding setup and cleanup can be a major source of stress.  Even if you have excellent vendors and a solid team of helpers, someone still has to have a plan and execute that plan.  We have put together 10 tips for wedding setup and cleanup in an effort to keep all you soon-to-be brides sane as your wedding day approaches.

  1. Do as much as you can in advance.  Time to slip by since the wedding planning process is so lengthy, but if you plan on spreading out the tasks throughout your engagement you won’t be overwhelmed in the end.  If possible avoid doing any assembly, crafting or shopping the week of the wedding.
  2. Organize your STUFF.  It is really helpful to label boxes as to what they contain and where they go at the venue.  For example, use the general labels categories prep, ceremony and reception or use more specific labels like guestbook table, cake table, etc.  You can also print/draw pictures of exactly how you want things setup and/or inspiration images and put the images in the box so that anyone can handle the setup.
  3. Create an event floor plan.  It is much easier, for most point, to visualize the space from a floor plan with all the tables and chairs in place.  Putting lots of labels and descriptions on the floor plan can help eliminate a bunch of questions and thus save you time.
  4. Have a schedule.  Everything will take longer than you think so create a conservative schedule of what needs to be done when and who is responsible for doing it.  It is also a good idea to add an hour of cushion time for the unexpected. You want to leave plenty of time to relax and get ready before event starts.
  5. Be smart about delegating tasks.  Make sure you are assigning tasks that fit the person’s skills and abilities.  It is important not to ask too much of any one person since you want all your guests to be able to enjoy the celebration.
  6. Create an operations center.  Find a central location at the venue to keep commonly needed items (scissors, tools, tape, etc.), checklists, schedules and the floor plan.  All your helpers will know were to go to find what they need.
  7. Know the venue rules and expectations.  Read your venue contract, ask questions and get advice from the venue staff.  You don’t want to plan something only to find out that it won’t work at your venue or it isn’t allowed.  All venues have different rules on how the venue can be altered and how it is to be left at the end of the night.
  8. Don’t underestimate cleanup.  We find that our clients oftentimes don’t allot enough time to pack up all their belongs and don’t request enough help.  By the end of the night people are tired and the logistics of what goes where can be complicated.  Labeled boxes and checklists help with cleanup just as much as they do with setup.
  9. Coordinate the transportation of STUFF.  Plan how everything will be transported to and from the venue.  Provide adequate packing materials and overestimate the space you’ll need in order to prevent issues.  Remember, don’t count on your car if you are not staying to help clean up.  Also, you will have some items like flower arrangements and leftover food that came from vendors, but will need to have a place to go after the event.
  10. Take care of your team.  Food, fun and appreciation go a long way to show your vendors and helpers how thankful you are for their assistance.  Have snacks and water available throughout the day or even plan to feed them a meal while they’re working.  To keep the mood stress-free and upbeat play some tunes.  And last but not least, don’t forget to express your appreciation so how.

Find more tips on how to manage wedding weekend helpers in a previous blog post.

Outdoor Wedding: Planning is Key to Success

Outdoor Wedding Planning Tips

The first time I wrote about outdoor weddings the article was in the inaugural issue of Bridal Bliss Magazine. I’ve spoken on the same topic once before for couples at Simply Love Studio and will do so again this week. I’m sure there are many wedding planners and wedding venue owners that have more experience in the outdoor wedding department, but let’s be honest, I’m very familiar with outdoor weddings and can offer some pretty good advice if I do say so myself.

Chances are you’ve spent a bit of time on Pinterest, daydreaming about your big day. While Pinterest is a wonderful hub of ideas, it can create a false sense of security after looking at all the beautiful images of outdoor ceremonies and receptions. On Pinterest, and even within this blog, you’ll see beautiful images of outdoor weddings, but what you don’t see is what you need to plan for. And as a public service, I’m writing this to help anyone who may be planning an outdoor wedding, not just those who are having their wedding at Warrenwood Manor.

Consider starting the process by hiring a wedding planner or working with a complimentary planning service like Simply Love Studio. Next, find your venue. Some venues offer complete planning services and day of coordination, while others just turn the keys over. Be sure to determine what’s included with your rental package and what services you can add. Along those same lines, think about these four biggies as you select your venue:

Season

Your number one concern when planning an outdoor event should be the weather. Not your heels sinking in the grass, not your hair, not your whatever, I’m telling you, it’s the weather. Outdoor wedding season in Kentucky is considered to be April through October, mainly due to weather concerns. Confirm a venue specific inclement weather plan BEFORE booking the venue. Some venues offer free backup options, but you’ll need to make sure it accommodates your guest count. If you plan on reserving a tent, do so very early in the planning process and check with the venue concerning tent restrictions and fees. While planning for rain, be sure to consider the extreme summer heat too. For those outdoor, summer weddings in Kentucky try to set up in the shade, rent fans and make sure there’s plenty of water for everyone before, during and after the event.

Location

Not just a real estate adage, “location, location, location,” has wedding planning implications as well. While some venues offer breathtaking scenery, it’s important to consider the logistics of getting yourself, your vendors and your guests safely to and from the venue of your choice. Consider venues that will be easy for your guests to find. Or, maybe budget for shuttles so that your guests don’t have to worry about finding your venue down an unfamiliar, curvy road. Consider the venue’s proximity to local amenities and accommodations. I can’t think of a single wedding that didn’t require a quick trip to Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart.  Thankfully, Warrenwood is within three miles of multiple hotels, Hobby Lobby AND Wal-Mart…what more could a bride possibly need? Oh, Liquor Barn, yes, it’s within three miles as well.

Accessibility and Comfort

While your big day is all about you and what you want, it’s still the right thing to do to consider your guests and their needs on your wedding day. There are countless stunning backdrops for pictures in Kentucky, but sometimes those places really lack when it comes to the logistics necessary for a successful event. We’ve talked about how you want to accommodate your guests in inclement weather, but it’s also important to think about boring things like electric, running water, restrooms, lighting, handicap accessibility and the list goes on and on! Don’t get discouraged though. Almost all obstacles associated with barn and outdoor venues can be easily overcome, but please remember that doing so may come at a price.

Seating for outdoor weddings is something that you should take into consideration because certain chairs work better in grass than others. You’ll want to select chairs that down have thin legs so that they don’t sink in the grass. Oh and speaking of grass, we spray for mosquitos every 22 days at Warrenwood. I’ve never seen a good lookin’ bug bite!

Over 43% of U.S. couples have an outdoor wedding ceremony! That’s a lot of outdoor weddings! Special request for you outdoor wedding planning people: please make sure guests can actually hear what’s being said at your ceremony! Talk with your DJ about how to best amplify the ceremony. I recommend that at the very least the officiant has a mic. And here’s another little tip for you. Talk to your DJ and officiant about trying to add a mic either in the binder or iPad the officiant is holding in order to pick up on your voices.

Parking

Parking…sounds so simple, right? Unfortunately, there are many things to consider when it comes to parking for your outdoor wedding! Ample parking is not uncommon with primarily outdoor venues (farm and barn venues in particular). But, what if it rains for two days straight before your wedding and your parking was planned for a field that’s now better suited as a mud-wrestling pit? What about lighting for people to be able to find their vehicles after the reception? Is there enough parking based on your guest count? Is there parking within close proximity of the event or do you need to consider shuttles? Oh and don’t forget about all those fun people who were hanging out at your open bar all night. How will they get home?  Are they allowed to leave their vehicle overnight? So many questions! Warrenwood Manor provides a gravel parking lot that is lit up like the sun for you, your guests and vendors. We also encourage people to leave vehicles overnight if necessary. It’s my understanding that not all venues operate this way so just be sure to ask and plan accordingly.

Now, calm down, I’m here to tell you that everything is going to be just fine. Do not stress. Instead, plan.

Tips for your outdoor wedding

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