How to organise ?

Am so enjoying everyone's posts... it's totally addictive. Please forgive my complete rambling and train of thoughts but any replies would be fab. 
So after just 2 months of a three year engagement I have booked the Chester town hall and a lovely village hall in Eccleston. And am so excited however it's hitting me that with the village hall it will all have to be ordered in. Other than a few tables we'll need everything! We're doing our own gin bar and will have bought a lot of wine and prosecco etc...  I want to do the flowers on the trestle tables in bud vases and have started collecting. I'm quite crafty and will create a book and flower wall for photos, and have started some bunting. I have done a table plan I'm happy with. But feel a bit overwhelmed as we need to be as savvy as possible to be on budget but I'd like to create an outside area within two gazebos one with comfy seating for older people to avoid the disco when needed. Are there any good ways to go about outdoor seating ? Should I hire or buy and sell on ? Or jazz up some hay bales ?
 I would like gold cutlery but is it really expensive ?  Will hopefully get free glass hire at majestic to keep prices a touch lower.  
I hadn't bargained on having to spend so much on the ceremony room flowerwise and need the pieces to be moveable to reception venue so any suggestions on that would be great!! 
Back to the food ... do caterers tend to do tea and coffees or is that separate? Odd question but it doesn't say on many websites. 
I think we'd like a red bus to take us from a to b but would need it to do 2 journeys the short distance. Is there any suggestions on how to best organise 110 people into 2 buses equally without chaos? 
Last question . How have people found the set up doing it all themselves and more importantly the tidy up !?? 

Many thanks in advance. 


  • Ooh one I can answer. I'd say a lot of caterers can do tea and coffee. My paella guy could (and I wish I'd asked him too). 
    Re. organising people on bus, I gave a friend the list of people who'd be coming on a bus and asked her to check everyone was on it. 
    You sound amazingly organised. I was organising this stuff about 2 weeks before my wedding so I think we are at oppostie ends of the organised spectrum. That said, doing all the craft stuff nearly killed me, and I love a bit of craft. We roped in friends and family to help set up the day before, then on the day, I paid a friend to be a kind of wedding planner - she told the caterers etc where to go. That night, when we were all pissed, cleared away most of the stuff, and then the next day everyone helped out moving boxes, washing up etc. Was a group effort! 
    I'd definately recommend having a go to person on the day. paid or otherwise. If you book a proper venue, you'll get one, but DIY weddings obviously not. Otherwise you can spend the day fielding questions and helping people when you shoudl be enjoying yourself. 
  • OmRumOmRum Posts: 893 New bride
    We set up and tidied up ourselves at a town hall. We hired in a bar, caterers and chair coverings, but did everything else ourselves. So here's some of my top tips:
    • If at all possible, hire the hall the evening before to set up and ask people to help. People love setting up a wedding, so you're bound to get plenty of volunteers (we got some pizzas delivered to the hall to thank them). Similarly, see if you can keep stuff there overnight and tidy the next day, although most venues would want you to remove any food and alcohol before leaving for the night, and you'll need to make sure all the presents and cards go somewhere safe.
    • It's obvious, but write a list of what you need to do, as in the excitement you might forget something, which would be really frustrating if you only remember it in the middle of your wedding!
    • Work out how much of the decorations you can set up at home before taking them to the hall. Sort them into boxes based on where they will be located and label the boxes (e.g. centre pieces, gift table decorations, cake table, etc.).
    • Take a supply of scissors, cable ties, string, gaffer tape, blue tack, drawing pins, etc.
    • To save time, do as much of the prep at home before going to the hall. For instance, if you have fairy lights, put the batteries in them at home, as this will save so much time at the hall (also make sure you have spare batteries). Also, practise things like centre pieces at home and photograph them so you or anyone looking at the picture can reassemble them at the hall.
    • If you're hanging stuff up high, remember that if people are taking them down at the end of the night they may have had a few drinks. If you can work out pulley systems to get stuff down without ladders, that might save some aggro!
    • You mentioned you were providing your own drinks, but if this is for budgetary reasons, consider hiring a mobile bar. Our one took a deposit which they gave back to us after our guests brought over a certain amount of drinks, so it cost us nothing (although we bought some drinks vouchers for guests so that they could have a couple of drinks on us!) The bar brought their own glasses, so it took away the hassle clearing them up and washing them at the end of the night. Obviously, you'll need to check the hall's licence to sell alcohol if this is a route you choose.
    • If you have to tidy up on the night, designate someone to be in charge (preferably who helped set up!) to organise people to help. Most people will stay to the end of the reception and won't mind chipping in. Have lots of bin bags and accept that stuff might get broken, chucked or misplaced, so point out to the Lead Person anything special that you definitely want to keep whilst you set up. Make sure someone who can drive has a car nearby to put everything in, and if you've already left make sure they have a key to your house or wherever all the stuff is supposed to be stored until you're ready to deal with it.
    • Make sure the venue has a broom and cleaning stuff for spillages, plus a step ladder if needed.
    In terms of caterers, most offer hot drink options later in the evening. I expect they'll want to bring their own cutlery, but you can always ask if they had a gold option. I'm afraid we didn't do buses or outdoor seating, so I have no no advice for those!

    Sorry if this has turned into a boring essay, but you sound super organised and I thought you would appreciate the tiny details that really made things so much easier at my wedding!
  • Thanks for the responses. 
    We will have the hall from 2pm Friday until 2 pm Sunday thankfully.  Bit some great tips for set up and tidy up. 
    I think my 'man of honour' would be happy to be helpful on the day. 
    And I've managed to find a caterer who is settling some of my worries. Xx 
  • It all sounds lovely and all the planning, crafting and work will be worth it. 

    Re the flowers, I asked my florist as we have a barn for the wedding and then a few minutes walk away a barn for the reception.  She said they can move the flowers to the reception venue (flower arch, pew ends, milk churns and a table arrangement) by coming back after the ceremony.  If they can't, we'll just ask groomsmen/friends to help out. 
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