Sunday, March 30, 2014

How to Get Out and Make a Timely Appearance at The After-Party

In addition to writing Wediquette, I am also a contributor to another incredible events blog called The Event Crashers. A few months ago, as the last wedding season was wrapping up, I thought back on what was on my mind as a recurring concern/issue that would be pretty easy to fix with some planning, and wrote a post called 'A Planning Step Not to Skip'. It just came to mind and I wanted to share the content with Wediquette readers too, so here it is. If you're planning a wedding or party for which you're bringing items that will need to be brought out at the end, you need a plan for them to ensure that they--and you-- get out in a timely manner, even in the midst of all of your end-of-party tasks and goodbyes. Check it out, share it and be sure to browse The Event Crashers blog sometime!  

Last wedding season, I saw a number of brides & grooms essentially ‘stranded’ at the reception venue at the end of the night, long after the party ended.  This should never happen. Whether the guest shuttle ran out of room and it took a long time to get back for them, or the bride and groom weren’t quite ready when the last shuttle left and then waited until it (hopefully) returned for them, it was sad to me that they were sitting around waiting, when they could’ve been enjoying the after-party with friends and family.  While you’re planning, consider two very important end-of-reception points to help you wrap everything up and get out the door as quickly (yet efficiently) as possible:
A Planning Step Not To Forget | The Event Crashers

 1) If your venue does not allow you to leave all of the things that you, your florist and your guests brought in (decorations, centerpieces, guest book, parent/grandparent wedding pictures, toasting glasses, gifts, cards, etc.), you must have a plan to get them out at the end of the night. Although you and your parents may think you’ll be able to do it, keep in mind that you’re going to be saying goodbye to all of your guests, taking care of tips (consider asking a parent, your best man or maid of honor to deliver these for you) and payments (try to get as many of these taken care of in advance as possible) and getting your own things together. You’re not going to want to worry about all of the ‘stuff’ that you need to take with you. Have a plan for where it’s going and ask one or two people who are willing/able to help out if they would take charge on those things.  Even if you are able to leave most things, it’s likely that your venue will not let you leave gifts and cards overnight. Have someone reliable who can take care of those, or take them yourselves. If you’ll be leaving for your honeymoon right away, consider sending gifts and cards home with a set of parents or siblings, to be picked up when you return.

Flowers- Communicate with your florist about what will happen at the end of your event. Sometimes, they use vases that can go home with guests. Sometimes, they need the stands for the flower arrangements back. Be sure to communicate with your guests (or have your band/dj announce) that they can take centerpieces home. Otherwise, you may end up with lots of beautiful flower arrangements that you’ll have to transport out. In any case, the centerpieces should be removed from the guest tables as soon as possible, to allow the staff members at your venue to clear the tables and in some cases, prepare for another event.
If you’re getting ready at the venue in a bridal suite- You and your girls will have clothing, shoes, beauty supplies, purses, hangers a music docking station and more that have accumulated throughout the day. My biggest tip to bridal parties as they arrive at our venue is to have each girl keep her things in one place, and to have everything ready to go before they even leave the room for the ceremony or reception. The day will fly from that point on and at the end of the night, in a blur, they’ll be able to just grab what they need and go. Even better, if they have a car at the venue, they can bring their things out before the excitement picks up and not have to worry about collecting it all at the end of the night. If you’re looking for a good gift, consider tote bags or duffels with each girl’s name so they can literally keep everything in one spot.
If you are able to pick things up the next day, gather a few helpers- it’ll go faster that way and be more fun!
A Planning Step Not To Forget | The Event Crashers
2) Have a plan for how the bride and groom will get out, and have a timeline in mind. If you’re staying overnight at the hotel where your guests will be, let them know where and when everyone can gather for the after-party. Then get there as soon as possible! The longer you wait, the fewer people will be around when you arrive. Whether you plan to hop on the shuttle or get a ride with parents/friends, know what you’re doing and don’t ‘miss the train’! If you’re going home or heading right to the airport for your honeymoon, consider asking someone to drive you, or better yet, renting a limo. Plan so that if you are the last ones out of the venue, it’s only by a few minutes. Then relax and enjoy the party!
A Planning Step Not To Forget | The Event Crashers

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