Planning a wedding is a full-fledged ordeal, as everyone probably knows. However, there seems to be one aspect of the wedding that is generally left out of the planning; the end.
And it’s left out for good reason. This is supposed to be your magical day, so it’s completely natural to not want to think about all your gorgeous decorations being ripped from the walls and stuffed into the nearest garbage can. However, that time is going to come, and unless you make the appropriate preparations, you yourself could be the one tearing down your own wedding at 1:00 in the morning, and nothing ruins Christmas faster than seeing the Christmas tree sans ornaments.
So here are some things you need to make sure to add to the wedding planning to-do lists:
1.) Cleaning up. Unless you’re having the celebration at a private residence (like your parents’ home), you need to be aware of the closing time. Some venues require you to be cleaned up and out by a certain time, while others simply require the party to be over at that time and will allow you to come back in the morning to pick up the remnants. Either way, this needs to be sorted out.
If you are planning on going straight to your honeymoon from the wedding, you need to have someone on hand that will help with the cleaning. Maybe the venue does their own cleaning (did you budget for that?) or maybe you can ask your parents and some members of the bridal party to stop by the next morning to help out.
2.) Getting guests home. If you’re going to provide alcohol at your wedding, you need to provide a way for guests to get safely home. Whether it’s a cab that has been rented out for the night, or a “tipsy trolley” (as we call them back home), which is a bus system that can be scheduled to pick up guests at a designated time and take them back to their hotel. Maybe there is a member of your wedding party that has already stated they won’t be drinking and can help out with taking guests home. Either way, it’s essential to make sure everyone gets home safe. If an accident occurs after the reception your wedding will surely be thought of as a sore subject for years to come.
3.) Getting your stuff home. A few years ago I attended a wedding where the bride and groom had everyone meet at a local beach for the ceremony and reception. As many of the guests walked, and brought their individual presents, at the end of the night there were no vehicles at the reception. This wouldn’t have been a problem except there were quite a bit of presents. Someone had to make the trek back up to the hotel, pick up a car and drive back down to get the presents. Naturally it wasn’t a huge deal, but it was still a pain in the neck.
Make sure you have a way to get everything from the reception that you’re keeping back to your home or hotel room. This includes presents, leftover cake and food (if you didn’t have a caterer), whatever flowers or decorations you need to preserve (many florists allow you to return flowers for a small refund, provided they are in good condition the next day) and anything that can’t be left in its current location (stereo equipment on a beach, for example).
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