Post # 1
We’re having our ceremony & picnic reception next month in a park. The whole thing will be pretty informal, picnic foods, no power (other than a small battery powered speak/amplifier) but there will be about 80 guests and mason jars and salad bowls and cake stands and drink dispensers and so on and so forth and I don’t know exactly how to orchestrate getting all packed up with the least possible damage.
The tables and chairs will be rentals, so the rental company will take care of those (though we’ll likely need to fold them down), but I was wondering if anyone had any pointers for the cleanup?How much time should we allow? How many hands will it take to clean up the remnants of an 80 person event? What’s the best way to minimize breakage as far as the glass elements go? There is no water/tap near by.
Our budget is VERY limited, so I don’t think hiring anyone is an option.
Any advice and/or feedback from other Bee’s outdoor weddings would be greatly appreciated!
Post # 3
Start by being organized in how you take things to the wedding site.
Have the items separated in plastic milk crate type containers or rubbermaid bins (with lids as appropriate) that are stackable. For the breakables use containers with dividers-like wine boxes or liquor boxes. Label each container with what it contains.
Start by collecting any garbage off the tables in large plastic bags. If there are any smokers at the wedding empty ashtrays into a tin container with a lid- like a paint can- to ensure that no one just tips the ashtrays onto the tablelcoth, or into the garbage- especially of you are using paper or plastic. I once worked at golf club which burned down because a caterer’s helper did that.
Have each person collect one thing- glasses, dishes, ashtrays, candles, candleholders etc- work your way down to the tablecloths.
Fold the tablecloths- they will take up too much room otherwise. If you bought the tablecloths, bring a container of spray stain remover and have someone spray the spots before you fold them. Ensure that you have a plan for who is going to be responsible for washing and drying the linens the very next day so they don’t mildew.
Relax. It dosen’t take nearly as long to clean up as it does to set up. Just make sure you have your volunteer list nailed down ahead of time and have one person in charge.
Post # 4
I’d estimate a half hour to an hour for clean up depending on how much is there and how many people help. I usually find that people are happy to help clean up at the end of the night so I don’t think it should be too much of a problem. I would scrape off any plates and stack them in the same containers that were used to bring them to the site (so choose washable plastic or disposable cardboard). Same with glasses. And have a truck or a mini van or SUV designated to haul trash.
Post # 5
And with that, you calmed nerves that were starting to knot up @julies1949, thank you! Time to start collecting containers and crates.
Post # 6
Thanks @JenGirl! My Fiance is worried that it a horrible imposition to expect guests to help with the tidy up, but I think most of our loved ones will be happy to help.
Post # 7
@julies1949: I couldn’t agree more! Especially about the tablecloths. Ours mildewed and man, I owe my mom BIG for getting those cleaned up!!
Lots and lots and lots of rubbermaid bins. I’d bring some newspaper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies as well to pad and clean up any of your breakables, bowls and cakestands. Ask whoever is helping you set up if they can stay and help you tear down as well. Don’t worry, there will be lots of hands available! Our tear down was a few hours (130 people), but that was the breakdown of a whole outdoor kitchen for the caterers, tables, tent, chairs, etc. I don’t think it should take you more than 2 hours at the very very most from what you’re describing!