As your wedding approaches and your checklists become more and more complete, there is something that you absolutely cannot forget. A clean-up plan.

Remember that yours is likely not the only wedding happening at your venue that weekend and that at some point, all your beautiful decorations, gifts, flowers, and accessories need to make it from the venue – to not at the venue. This is usually early the next day, but sometimes venues require you to clear your belongings that night.

Now before you think ‘that’s fine, I’ll do it myself’ – stop, no you will not. For a multitude of reasons, hiking up your dress and packing up your wedding is not an option.

Utilize Friends and Family

Often, a couple has a surplus of people who volunteer to help with their wedding day. Before you dismiss those offers, keep in mind that people want to be involved in your big day – in fact, they crave it. What’s key is giving them enough time to properly prepare. Does your bestie’s boyfriend drive a big truck that can carry all your gifts? Cool, make sure they come in his car, not the little hatchback.

Here are some ways to ease the clean-up for everyone:

Incentives for Helpers:

Cleaning up after a party isn’t glamorous. A little appreciation goes a long way. Consider offering your helpers a post-wedding breakfast or a small thank-you gift to show gratitude for their time and effort.

Backup Plan:

Life happens, and sometimes even the most enthusiastic helpers might need to leave early. Having a backup plan can alleviate stress on the big day. This could involve hiring a small professional clean-up crew for a few hours or designating a trusted friend as the sole point person for delegating tasks during clean-up.

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Next, Have a Plan

It is important to know where things are going and who is in charge of what. Have boxes clearly labeled and accessible so that the person in charge of them can grab and go without having to ask any questions.

Have a copy of this plan handy for your day of coordinator so they know who is in charge of what.


Have a point person in charge of clean up who has a copy of the plan and who will keep everyone on track. We suggest an aunt or close friend rather than your mom.

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Don’t forget the Flowers

Rather than simply expecting your flowers to get scooped up by guests, have a plan for them. Since your guests may be from out of town, the last thing they want is to be carrying a vase back to their hotel and then onto a plane.

To save your flowers simply being tossed out at the end of the night, opt instead to give them to your vendors. Another great idea is to have someone collect them at the end of the night and donate them to a retirement home or hospital. Contact the place of your choice beforehand to ensure they can use the flowers and then feel good about bringing a little joy to someone else’s life.

Communicate with the Venue

For a smooth clean-up, start by clearly communicating with your venue. Understand their breakdown process expectations, including what their staff will handle, such as garbage removal and table breakdown, and what will be your responsibility, like decorations and personal belongings. Knowing this upfront helps you plan your clean-up crew effectively.

Some venues offer overnight storage for decorations in a designated area, which can be invaluable for couples needing a quick turnaround. If your venue provides this service, inquire about any additional fees.

Packing Tips

Pre-planning can make a world of difference in clean-up efficiency. Here are some packing tips to keep things organized and ensure a smooth breakdown:

Pre-pack and Label:
Instead of scrambling to pack everything up at the end of the night, pre-pack any decorations or personal belongings you won’t need throughout the evening. Clearly label boxes with their contents and destination (home, specific friend’s car, etc.) to save time during clean-up and ensure everything gets where it needs to go.

Designated Donation Boxes:
Planning to donate your flowers or leftover guest books to a good cause? Having clearly labelled boxes for these items will make it easier for helpers to identify and gather them at the end of the night. This eliminates confusion and ensures your donations reach their intended recipients.

Don’t Underestimate the Clean Up:

It is likely that you spent months gathering all the little bits that go into your wedding. It is also likely that because of this you are underestimating the amount of stuff you have actually brought to the venue. As such, be sure you have enough people to help with the clean-up and that you leave enough time for it!

To Sum it all up!

A successful clean-up isn’t just about packing boxes and clearing tables. Consider delegating some small farewell tasks, like returning rented items or thanking vendors, to trusted friends or family members. This will help you avoid post-wedding overwhelm and allow you to truly relax and enjoy the start of your married life.

Remember, a well-planned clean-up allows you to focus on what truly matters – celebrating your love and beginning your new chapter together.