The last thing we want you (or your partner or your mom or your planner) to worry about on wedding day is “where in the world did the [fill in the blank: escort cards, card box, candles, etc.] go?”
At most venues, you’ll only have a couple of hours to get everything set up for your celebration. So packing your decor in an efficient and effective manner is key to avoiding last-minute stress.
Once you’ve purchased all the decor you’ll need for the day-of, it’s time to strategically pack it so setting it out on wedding day is simple and straightforward. Before packing everything up, double-check your inventory list to make sure you have absolutely everything you need for the day.
We recommend packing for the wedding day at least 2 weeks prior to your big day. Not only will you have plenty of other things to do leading up to the wedding, but this also ensures that everything is organized and you’re not throwing items randomly in a tote at the last minute. You’ll also still have time to purchase any last-minute things that you may have missed or thought of while packing up.
Below are our top tips to ensure your decor is sensibly packed for your wedding day.
Tip 1: Unwrap everything and remove any price tags or stickers.
Yes, we mean everything! Trying to rip off that annoying zip tie that’s around your cake knife on the day of your wedding is a waste of time. Unwrap everything. If it’s fragile, still open it up, remove any excess tape or wrapping, then rewrap it with bubble wrap.
Also remove any price tags or stickers that are on your decor. Have some Goof Off on hand in case you run into any stickers that leave behind residue. And don’t forget those pesky stickers at the bottom of clear vases! Even if they don’t seem very visible, you don’t want a price tag to ruin the look of your beautiful design.
Tip 2: Mark the items that are yours.
With either tiny stickers or a Sharpie, mark the bottom of the items that are yours. This will help avoid any confusion on what items are yours, the caterer’s, the venue’s, or the florist’s at the end of the day.
Tip 3: Have separate totes/boxes for each room or area of your venue.
Ceremony in one box, reception in another. If you’re having your ceremony and reception at different locations, make sure to assign someone to transfer any items from the ceremony site to the reception that will either be reused or that you’d like to keep. Let them know if there are any other items that can be thrown away post-ceremony.
If your ceremony is at the same venue as your reception but in a different room or area, it will still be helpful to separate your decor between the two rooms. This way, whoever is setting up won’t have to carry things between rooms or accidentally mix items up. If you have a lot of decor, it may even be helpful to break your items down into smaller boxes. For instance, you can divide these by areas of the reception, such as tableware, welcome table, memory table, etc.
Tip 4: Label everything!
Even if it seems obvious, label all your items with a sticky note. You can also include its desired location, set-up preferences, etc. Also label the outside of each box or tote you have. Include what room or location the box is intended for and a list of all the items inside the box.
Tip 5: Put escort cards in alpha order.
This is the most critical part of packing! If you have escort cards, make sure that they are in alphabetical order before packing them away. There is absolutely no time on wedding day to alphabetize them.
If you’re opting for place cards, organize them by table. If you’ll have assigned seating at each table, put them in order going around the table and make sure to provide a seating chart to whoever will be placing the cards. If you won’t have assigned seating at each table, at least group couples and families together so that they’re sat next to each other.
Tip 6: Have instructions for the way you want everything to be set up.
It’s likely that you won’t be setting everything up on the day-of, so write out instructions on where you want each item to be placed and how. If you can, set up your items at your house and take photos of the layout. This is the best and easiest way to convey how you’d like everything to look.
Whether you use written instructions, photos, or both, it’s always best to be too thorough than too vague. Chat through everything with whoever will be helping set-up on the day-of to clarify any points of confusion or questions.
Tip 7: Make a plan for post-reception.
Just like with set-up, assign someone to be your point person for breaking down all of your decor at the end of the night. Whether it's the same person or someone different, also have someone who is in charge of returning the items to your hotel room (or wherever they will go after the reception).
When faced with that final huge pile of wedding day decor, it can feel a bit overwhelming trying to get everything organized! By following these tips, you’ll save time and stress both on the day-of and leading up to your wedding. Happy packing!
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