Wedding Setup and Cleanup: Important Tips You Must Know


No matter how simple a DIY wedding you may have planned, you still need to make important decisions as far as the wedding setup and cleanup is concerned. In this guide, we will discuss all you need to know to ease this process, especially considering the fact that not all wedding venues offer help in overseeing these matters.

Wedding Setup and Cleanup: Important Tips You Must Know

A Wedding Pack List You Need to Know

A wedding pack list can be a couple’s best friend on their wedding day. This list can help you stay organized especially if you are DIY couple doing the entire wedding without the help of a planner. A wedding pack list helps you allot tasks to your bridal party for the wedding setup and cleanup after guests have gone home. Here is a list of items to be included in the wedding pack list:

To go:

  • Décor box – This can be assigned to bride/groom’s sister. It includes place cards, guest books, pens, flags, card baskets and table numbers etc.

  • Florist items – These include vases and décor/centerpieces which should be taken to the venue. Assign the task to friends/bridesmaids.

  • Food and beverages – Food and drinks can be packed up and distributed to immediate family members.

To take home:

  • Wedding gifts – The bridesmaids/groomsmen can help load wedding gifts in your getaway car. Make sure you ask them before designating this task, so they know they have to stay back until the end of the evening.

  • Your DIY items – These include heirloom items like the knife used for cutting the cake, ring bearer pillow, DIY projects and so on. Sometimes, these could be left behind at the venue so you can collect them later. In any case, make sure you assign this task either to the bride/groom’s brother or sisters or friends.

  • Leftover food and beverages – Extra food and drinks can be assigned to an uncle or to the best man to take home. The venue usually provides a box for leftover cake. If not, talk to your cake supplier/bakery to provide you with boxes to distribute it to bridal party members or for you to take home.

  • Trash – Small trash items like disposable silverware, flowers and napkins can be disposed of on the same day at the venue itself. For larger items, you might have to hire a waste disposal company. Sometimes, caterers account for the trash if it is in the contract.

Wedding Setup: Important Practical Tips

Setting up a wedding is best left to expert wedding planners, but for DIY couples, it is important to know important tips for wedding setup and cleanup in order to prevent hassles on the day. Venues charge by the hour, so you might want to consider simpler décor which can be set up and removed within minutes. Here are important considerations to make when it comes to setting up the wedding:

  • Seating arrangement – If the venue has this covered, you need not consider it. If not, add at least 45 minutes to set up tables and chairs.

  • Table centerpiece considerations – Unless you are having a single table with a tablecloth and place setting cards and few centerpieces, you might want to do a sample setting first to see how the tables look.

  • Other décor considerations – Complex décor like a floral arch or gazebo underneath which to take the vows, DIY floral walls etc. are very popular DIY wedding projects. They also make a great backdrop for photo-shoots. Consider adding small tea lights on each table, dessert structure table for the cake and a photo-booth for guests to take pictures.

  • Food, beverage and DJ playlists – Assign someone to take care of these. The father of the bride/groom can oversee this. Talk to the DJ about the songs you want played. If you are providing the food and wine, set aside some time to set up tables with the food. Assign a friend to oversee the bar, food and dessert stations.

Wedding Cleanup: Important Practical Tips

Wedding cleanup is much easier than its setup as long as you have sober friends to help you out. Make sure you talk to your venue coordinator about rules concerning wedding setup and cleanup as stated in the rental agreement. Most venues expect you to leave the venue in the same condition as it was before the ceremony- so you should be prepared to do some heavy duty cleaning with the help of friends and family. Here are 5 important tips that can help you with the wedding cleanup:

  • Wedding cleanup logistics are the last thing you’d want to think about on the night of your wedding. So talk to your parents or siblings whether they would be comfortable taking up this important job on your behalf.

  • DIY couples can benefit greatly if their guests take away the flowers and other little centerpieces as it means fewer things to haul back home. So, unless you want those keepsakes from the wedding day, you can write a sign at the exit asking guests to take home vases, centerpieces or flowers.

  •  Food and beverages, especially leftover alcohol, can be taken home but make sure there is adequate room in your car to do so. Assign a responsible person who can oversee this task. If there is no room for large beer cases, you might want to be generous and tip them to catering staff or waiters who would be more than happy to accept.

  • Keep extra boxes and bags on hand to haul away trash and other items.

  • As stated before, make as detailed wedding pack lists as possible so you do not miss out or leave anything behind.