Hannah Campbell joins us for another fabulous guest post, and this time, she gives some tips on avoiding your first married row.
Don’t clear up the wedding at midnight in your dress! You may think this is an irrelevant issue to you – if you’re lucky enough to afford a beautiful venue with catering staff, then of course, you won’t have to worry about washing up after dinner or returning glasses the next day or generally clearing the venue up after a party. These are all things people who have opted for a budget-friendly affair have to consider. There will still be some midnight logistics to consider, such as tasking a relative to get all your gifts from the venue to your home. Or making sure your luggage for your wedding night, the morning after, or even your honeymoon are all ready to go and in the correct vehicle before your guests prepare to give you a confetti-filled send off.
I’m pretty sure most of us would agree, we don’t want to still be worrying at the end of the longest (and best) day of our lives, exhausted and probably a little worse for wear, about being responsible for remembering to organise various tasks and to-do’s. Nor would we want to start being frustrated at the end of such a beautiful day with our husband’s apparent lack of ability to take charge or remember his own duties (this is realism, not pessimism!). You don’t want your first row to be about him leaving his luggage at home, or not doing anything to help with clearing the glasses up for the morning.
Even if you have planned a gorgeous wedding on a budget, and so will be directly responsible for returning glasses or emptying the rubbish in the hired hall, you still don’t want to have to put in a lot of elbow grease at the end of your party – carting gifts, decorations and tableware home, or washing up 150 champagne flutes! I’m not saying a budget wedding can’t work, not at all. But to ensure you don’t get bogged down and that nothing gets in the way of your fabulous send off, just make sure you’ve planned to cover all of the clear up so that nothing gets left to you on the night.
Even though you shouldn’t have to worry about any washing up or rubbish collection etc. at a catered venue, there are some things you may want to plan in advance.
If you were allowed to bring any of your own alcohol to the wedding, you don’t want to forget any unopened bottles of decent wine or champagne that you’ve paid for. You might think to leave it all there after your send off for your guests to enjoy, but it’s better to task someone responsible who will be driving home after the party, maybe yours or your husband’s parents, to make a concerted effort to check in with the venue staff for any leftovers, and to take them home for you. It’ll be nice to save some money on future nights with friends, and what’s more, it’ll be great to save some of the wine or champagne from your wedding for significant anniversaries, or the birth of your children for example.
Your gifts will need to be taken great care of. Some hotels or venues will offer to move gifts to your room if you’re staying with them, or to look after them, but this will always be at your own risk of loss. Additionally, if you’re going straight on honeymoon you won’t want to leave all the gifts in your car boot at the airport, nor with the hotel for a couple of weeks, for security. Again, the best thing to do is to task a friend or family member who’s driving to take them all home, and to lend them a key to your house and have them all ready for your return from honeymoon – a lovely way to get over the end of honeymoon and back to work ‘low’ that you might otherwise encounter!
Perhaps you can ask the trusted person to deliver all the envelopes to your honeymoon suite before your send off, in case there’s spending money for the honeymoon etc. You probably don’t want to be caught at the reception looking through all the gifts yourself as it seems a bit greedy, but with anything which is honeymoon-focused, it’s actually much better to know!
As already mentioned, try to make sure that both yours and your husband’s luggage are both in the appropriate place/car to be with you as soon as you leave the reception. I’m sure there’s nothing worse than trying to spend your first night as a married couple and not being able to brush your teeth or freshen up! On a similar note, I doubt you want to take your wedding dress on honeymoon with you! So ask a close friend or family member to meet you the morning after before you head off, so you can hand over any belongings used for getting yourself ready at the venue, and yours and your husband’s outfits.
In a similar vein, for any suits or bridesmaids dresses that need returning, make sure either the individuals themselves are aware of where and when they are required to return the outfits to, or task a responsible person to be in charge of getting them all together and returning them in one visit.
If you’ve opted to have a much more hands-on role in planning and executing your wedding, in addition to the above reminders, I’ve got some more which are more venue and catering based!
As I’ve mentioned a few times – if you’ve hired glasses from a supermarket or even used the venue’s own glassware and crockery etc., it’ll need washing up. There are a few options, you could ask some real trusty friends and family who would all be happy to help out for 20 minutes after dinner and speeches etc., to do some washing up and drying up. A lot of people are used to helping out, will have had people help them out at their own wedding, and of course love you enough that they won’t be offended or put out at all! Even then, you’ll need some people who at the end of the night are happy to collect and wash the final glasses.
Another idea is to get a cleaning service for an hour, ask someone responsible like your mother to oversee, and they all come the morning after the wedding and clear up the whole place, from washing up to rubbish collection and hovering etc. For an hour’s work for a couple of cleaners, it won’t cost you much and you can avoid then having to ask wedding guests to take time out of the party. You’ll still need someone to return the glasses to the supermarket the next morning, but that’s nowhere near as big a job as washing up everything that’s been used. Of course – for the option of clearing up the next morning, you’ll need to check with the venue what their restrictions are on time frames etc. Even for clearing up after the party’s over, there may be a specific time the venue wants you to be out and locked up, so do check and plan around these times.
If you’ve spent a lot of time and effort decorating the venue, with centre pieces, or bunting, or gorgeous flowers, you might want to hang on to a few bits yourself. Your guests may feel the same, I’ve got a gorgeous line of bunting from my sister in law’s wedding which I was thrilled to keep as a reminder of their day. Your guests may not know that they are welcome to keep some bits of the decorations! Why not put little notes with rhymes or quips about them being welcome to take mementoes of the day – and ask that for each table they take what they want and chuck what they don’t? Task someone to be aware of what you do want to keep and to stow this away for you at the end of the night, and to actively encourage others to ‘take or trash’ the rest. Alternatively, if you’ve got a decent amount of different decorations which you don’t want to keep, why not keep them and consider selling on ebay and making some of the cost of the wedding back?
Even though you don’t want to be doing the clearing up yourself, it would be good to check prior to the day what facilities the venue has, i.e., does it have a broom or dustpan? Does it have a hoover? Will there be washing up liquid, tea towels, bin bags? These are all things that you can task to other people to bring with them, but preparation is key so that no disasters arrive and you end up being charged a penalty for not having cleared up all the confetti from the floor, because your cleaners/guests didn’t have the right tools.
This all sounds so dull, and far too much like normal domestic life to be what you want to be worrying about on your fairytale day. But of course, as with the rest of your wedding which you will have planned and executed to a T, the clear up needs planning as well so that you’re not let down in the final stages of the day!