Reception at Local Library?

posted 12 months ago in Reception
Post # 2
1141 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

chyangra :  Is there space to do an outdoor cocktail hour to allow for additional set up time? 

Post # 3
47187 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

chyangra :  How many guests will you have? How many tables? You won’t need any decor other than centerpieces, and a few pieces for the gift and guestbook table.

If you have professionals to do the table set up: tables; chairs, dishes, cutlery, glassware, and have the centerpieces all set up and ready to go, it should be doable.

Is there a separate area for the caterer?

Post # 5
47187 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

chyangra :  You will need more than a DOC to set up 16 or 16 tables.One person can’t set up 16 tables, 120 chairs, place 120 tablelcoths including last minute steaming if necessary,  120 place settings, 120 napkins and 16 centerpieces, PLUS set up your head or sweetheart table, gift and guestbook tables and some sort of seating chart or escort card table  in 60 minutes. Not possible.

The caterer will still need equipment to keep hot food hot and cold food cold, or you risk food poisoning for your guests.

Post # 6
7002 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

You will definitely need a DOC/planner. We have a couple venues like that in my area and you pretty much have to have a planner. They are there to oversee setup, arrange the tables/chairs, and put the linens on. Then the florist puts all the centerpieces on, and catering does the silverwear, glasses, etc.

Post # 7
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2018

Wow, love the idea of a non-traditional venue like the library.  Honestly, 60 minutes is not possible, at least not with your guest number.  Have you considered other venues like museums, botanical gardens, or art galleries?  They are used to hosting events after hours, plus they usually have preferred vendors that are used to working there too.  All of that helps.    

Post # 9
2217 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

chyangra :  You might try looking at your local parks and recreation website for options. I know where I live, you can sometimes rent facilities from the county, city, or state for a VERY low cost – like a couple hundred bucks.

For example the water beaureau where I live has a beautiful building with views of the river and banquet facilities. The local natural history museum, as well. Anywhere that might have lectures, or events should be a good place to consider. 

Depending on how open minded you are, there are sometimes historical residences you can rent (which have kitchens) or park facilities with places for caterers to manage food prep etc

Also, don’t give up on the library just yet! I’d check around with coordinators or your catering company – sometimes they can provide or recommend staff that could handle the set up or breakdown of decor for less than you might think to pay a separate wedding coordinator/planner.

If you DO end up doing the library – I have been OBSESSED with these:


image 0

I ended up going with map flowers for my wedding, but I LOVE the idea of these for a library reception!

Good luck!


Post # 10
220 posts
Helper bee

my venue was very similar to how you describe the library–it had chairs and tables and a kitchen, but all the decor had to be put up by my DOC, her assistant, and the staff we’d hired.  The only venue staff was just there to make sure venue didn’t get damaged.

My suggestion is you do the cocktail hour elsewhere.  Outside, if its legal to drink outside the library, or in a side room if the library will allow it.. anywhere, really, to give your DOC and whatever staff you hire to help her 2 hours instead of 1.  The longer you give, the fewer people you have to hire.  (Having 6 people work for 1 hour is more expensive than 3 people work for 2 just because many companies will not agree to send anyone in for a single hour of work, so you’d have to pay those people for the minimum # of hours, which may be 3-4 hours even)

Worst case: don’t do the cocktail hour at all.. go straight from ceremony at 6 to dinner at 7.

FWIW between the bartender, 2 staff, my DOC and her assistant, and the florist it took them about 2 hours to do all the set-up for my 40 person wedding.  That said, I am pretty sure DOC and her assistant spent basically the whole time stringing up lights and stringing up some of the DIY stuff I gave them (I mean I have no real way of knowing, but I’d imagine that was one of the most time consuming tasks I gave them and is def. a two person job).  So I think the same number of people could set 15 tables in 2 hours, if you have minimal DIY decor.

Also/alternatively, the simpler you want your setup, the faster it’ll be. (Duh?) You want chargers and flatware and so forth?  That’s gonna be a lot slower than if its just a tablecloth and centerpiece and people pick up their plates and cutlery at the buffet line.

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