Brides: Please Stop Doing This
by Shilora Jean
I see a lot of stuff–good and bad–in doing events. Weddings are undoubtedly where most of the madness occurs because people try to take on so much of the workload in an effort to save money. In a new series of articles, I’m going to address a few of the most common lapses in judgement.
#1: My Friends/Family/Bridal Party Will Handle Set-Up
If your friends, family or wedding party is comprised of event planners or those who work in a related industry (i.e., they know how to set up for parties/events) this is an okay idea. At least, it’s plausible. For other mere mortals, this is a lie that’s told up until the moment everyone realizes the room is not getting set up.
This mostly happens at unique venues that tend to rent just the space; maybe some tables and chairs, but no services such as room set-up/strike, catering, bar service, etc. When I say unique venues, I’m referring to historic sites, barns, farms, libraries; you get the idea. While I simply love working in these spaces, I cringe when I’m providing day-of service and the bride tells me she skipped the professional set-up crew.
As we’ve discussed, the only way to find significant savings to your wedding cost it to control the guest list, so cutting the cost of basic set-up is usually negligible. If you’re having an event of any size (50+), I strongly suggest you hire a vendor to provide set-up & tear-down (known in the event industry as set-up & strike).
Here’s why hiring Event Service is a good idea:
You love your family and friends. Your friends and family are there to share in the joy of your day. You want them in your photos. They may be needed for personal errands and moral support. They may have traveled long distances and/or this may be their chance to visit with family they have not seen in a long time. It’s just not fair to ask them to set up the very wedding they were invited to attend. I wish I had a dime for every “I’m soaking with sweat” or “I’m ruining my make-up/hair” or “I can’t believe we’re having to do this” I’ve heard uttered.
Consider the fact that the room set-up occurs within the last 24 hours before the wedding–when everyone is stressed out.
It takes longer than you think. Even a wedding of 50 guests takes more time to set up than you might imagine. Every venue is different and as the saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know”. A set-up crew knows how to prepare, and in the best case, they’ve set up in the venue before and know its idiosyncrasies. In cases of a large or highly detailed set-up (place settings, napkins, glassware, chargers, etc), the time investment is even greater.
Cut the Convos. I’ve seen many tribunals take place between family and friends who were debating where a table should go or how many chairs should be at each table, all while precious time was ticking away. When you hire a professional, they have an approved plan and they arrive ready to execute it.
Your other vendors will thank you. There is a flow and timeline for everything from cakes to flowers to first toast. Room set-up requires getting things done a) on time and b) in the proper order. A professional will make sure the room is ready so everyone can get their job done efficiently.
For those who have to rent tables and chairs, your rental vendor was RIGHT…THERE…
If your rental vendor is delivering to your venue, why not ask them to do the set-up? They’re already unloading the items into the facility, so request an estimate for having them put everything in place. They know how it needs to be done, they’re dressed for the job, and it doesn’t matter how sweaty or dirty they get. Since they will be back to pick up the items, get an estimate on having them strike the room as well.
Note: some unique venues require that rentals be delivered to their storage area. That means your family and friends have to move the items from storage into the event area and back again. Moving banquet tables and quantities of chairs can lead to damage of the items and to the venue as well. Any damage is your responsibility. Consider the potential for being hit with additional fees that could exceed the cost of set-up/strike.
I hope this information has been useful as you plan your special day. There are a lot of situations where set-up and strike can be handled by the host but please think it through and be honest with yourself. Like I say, request an estimate of your rental company or planner, just to see what the cost would be. You may find that it’s worth your time–and your guests enjoyment.
Weddings can be overwhelming but it’s going to be great! We’re here for you™.
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