How to ensure your event starts and ends the right way

This story first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Columbus Weddings, published December 2018.

Your good friend is getting married, so you volunteer to help her do some setup at the wedding venue. But when the end of the night comes, the bride and groom leave with no plan in place for teardown.

So what do you do? You could clean up yourself, or alert family members or the bridal party that they need to jump in.

That’s why setup and teardown logistics—both for ceremonies and receptions—are imperative to determine long before the big day.

When you book an event space, one of the first questions you should ask is whether the venue handles setup and teardown, or if you’ll be responsible for it. At the Makoy Center, a Hilliard wedding venue, the staff will take care of everything for the couple.

“They’ll have hair, makeup, pre-pictures and more important things than worrying about setup and teardown,” says Clay Daniel, general manager of the Makoy Center. “We have an eye for detail … so we have the experience that the couple may not. That attention to detail is key.”

Also verify if you can drop off or even set out items before the wedding day. At the Columbus Museum of Art, there’s a fee based on how early you want to set up. But you can ensure your decorations will be safe from any elements.

“One really cool thing is our dock is in a garage, since we are an art museum,” says Susan Brehm, director of event sales at the Columbus Museum of Art. “If it is snowing or raining, your décor isn’t ruined, because you’re pulling into the garage.”

Teardown time is also key—many locations ask that all decorations and items a couple brings in be out of the space the evening of the wedding. Other venues, like Heritage Golf Club, aim to make things a little easier on the newlyweds.

“We want to make sure that our brides and grooms don’t have anything to worry about at the end of the night, so we give them the opportunity to pick up everything—from their centerpieces to any other décor that they have—up until the following Tuesday. The only thing that we ask of them is that they pick up their gifts the night of,” says private events director Sierra Ridenour. “We want to make sure that we are the ones packing up everything for them so they don’t have to worry about it.

Most importantly—whether you’re taking care of setup and teardown or delegating it to a friend or venue staff—ensure a plan is in place and everyone knows that plan.

“When the day comes, I don’t want there to be disappointment,” says Brehm. “I want them to know what is going on.”