You’ve envisioned and planned every detail of your wedding celebration from the dress to the centerpieces. You can picture your perfectly decorated venue with all that joy just gushing out of your guests. Have you thought about what the room looks like 30 seconds after the party? Yeah, that’s not pretty and somebody has to clean it all up. Since you are planning to be out of the picture just slightly before the party ends, you’ve got to get a system in place to strike the site so that your personal fairy tale has a happy ending.
The Food – Confirm with your caterer that they will pack up a meal for you and your sweetie and dispose of or dispense the left-overs; they may be able to send care packages home with your BP or provision a local shelter. Whoever provided the cake should also supply a way to pack it up so you can store the top layer in your freezer (if you so desire) and get the rest of it out to your guests.
The Libations – If you provided the liquor, wine, or beer for the event and there is any left over, it is still yours. You want to collect the bevy of bottles and have them stashed in the back of a vehicle with a responsible driver of legal age who will deliver them as directed for you.
The Linens – If your venue supplied the linens, dishware, glassware, and cutlery, they will take care of collecting, cleaning, and storing them. If you have rented them yourself, your caterer may take care of it as part of your arrangement. Otherwise, you need to find someone who will do this for you… more on selecting the team in a moment.
The Décor – All those cute little signs, the guestbook, the Chinese lanterns and all that stuff that you sweated over to select or make and trucked into your venue now needs to go. It can go in the trash, into the trunk of someone’s car, or stored (briefly) at the venue to be rescued within an agreed upon time frame; like the next day or in two weeks when you come back from your honeymoon.
The Centerpieces – If you are renting the vases ask your florist to tell you when they expect them to be returned. If you purchased the floral containers, consider giving the centerpieces away as the evening goes on so that no one has the responsibility for 40 white glass budvases with puce and pink roses.
The Bridal Bounty – This is all the gifts and cards that your guests have brought to you rather than following the more traditional route of sending it to your home so that it can be displayed and not a nuisance at the wedding. You want to designate your most reliable and trusted friend or relative to manage this for you. They need to collect every bit of it, keep the cards with the gifts, and securely store all of it until you return from your overnight at the beach or your 6 weeks of backpacking in Europe.
Your Clothes – Your wedding outfits should be managed by your MOH and BM. Unless you escape wearing them, and even then, they are the go to team for ensuring your duds are properly handled.
The Tough Stuff – If you are having a more DIY kind of wedding that requires your personal crew to set up the party site and decorate, you will be the best bride ever if you hire folks to do the clean-up. Think about it, your parents have tolerated you these many years, you’ve been difficult at best to your BP for the past few months, plus everyone is going to be dressed to party and probably a little goofy from celebrating. It would be the sweetest thing to hire a clean-up crew to wrangle tables and chairs, dismantle the tent, and take out the trash.
Even if your venue does the heavy lifting, it won’t hurt to ask your wedding planner for a few extra hands that can come in to assist at the end of the party to clear out all of your accoutrements. The couple of bucks it costs to hire help is an investment in a happy married life with friends and family who still like and love you.