So you’ve designed the perfect event, your wedding plans are completely in order, and now all you have to do is celebrate, right? Well, not exactly. There’s one final thing to consider before you pour yourself a glass of vino and call it a day: wedding day setup and teardown. Beautiful design details don’t just appear and disappear on their own, after all. Failing to carefully read through vendor contracts and not having a plan in place for who’s doing what means your perfectly planned day could turn to complete chaos (nooo!). Today, then, we’re breaking down all you need to know about event setup and teardown—ensuring you don’t get stuck working on your wedding day.

 

Flowers


This is one that most people fail to consider (especially with DIY weddings). If you’ve purchased everything from your florist (i.e. vases, votives, etc.) then you are responsible for clearing those things out at the end of the night. If, on the other hand, you’ve rented these items, the florist will likely have a service fee included in the contract you signed that covers teardown or “strike” (typically, they’ll send a team to get everything you’ve rented after the wedding is over). Be sure to read through your floral contract carefully and, when in doubt, ask the florist what her team’s role in teardown will be.

 

Keep in mind, if it’s your responsibility to tear down flowers at the end of the night, you’ll want to have a plan in place ahead of time for doing so—venues will often charge a hefty fee for items that are left over after the event, even things as small as vases and floral garlands. We recommend giving centerpieces you don’t want away to guests or donating them (there are organizations you can donate your flowers to, and they will come pick them up and bring them to hospitals or senior homes on your behalf).

 

Rental Furniture and Lighting


The great thing about renting wedding decor is that, because you don’t own the items, the company you rented from will likely be responsible for picking those items back up after your event is over. Typically, they’ll send a crew to come get these items at the end of the night. Be sure this is covered in your contract and that you’re aware of any fee attached to this—and also ensure that they’ll pick up the items in a timely manner, especially if your venue charges a fee for items left over after your event. Some venues may stick to a strict “everything must be gone by midnight” rule, which means your rental company needs to clear their items out by that time—otherwise, you’ll be the one stuck with the fee.

 

Trash


Pay attention to this one, especially if you’re at an unconventional wedding venue. Make sure that either your caterer or the venue itself is going to be disposing of the trash. Otherwise, you may get stuck with countless bags of trash at the end of the night or, worse, a fine for having left it. Remember to have plans for trash ironed out ahead of time--so be sure to talk to your caterer, venue, and professional wedding planner about this a few weeks in advance.

 

Miscellaneous Decor


The rule of thumb for this one is simple: if you brought it on site, you have to get it off. These items may be as small as table numbers or a welcome table, but, if you don’t clear them from the venue by the end of the night, you’ll likely be charged a fee. If you’re sourcing decor from rental companies or your wedding planner, it will typically be their responsibility to clear these items.

 

Linens


This is another one people often get stuck with. Even though linens are rented, you’re usually the one responsible for returning them. This is yet another reason having hired a wedding planner is awesome—she or he will take care of counting all of the linens and napkins at the end of the night and will ensure all of them get back to the rental company for you. Without the insurance of a wedding planner in place, you could get charged by both the venue and the linen company for not clearing/returning these items by the end of the night.


Photo courtesy Massachusetts wedding designer mStarr Design