Post # 1
For anyone who has had a reception at a local library, how did you manage decor set-up? We are considering getting married at our local library, but we are not able to begin decor set-up until after the library closes at 5 PM. This would only allow for one hour of set-up time before cocktail hour beginning at 6. We love the idea of a non-traditional venue at a library, but we are concerned about a potential logistical headache.
I would also LOVE any photo inspo you have from your library reception for ideas!
Post # 2
chyangra : Is there space to do an outdoor cocktail hour to allow for additional set up time?
Post # 3
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 # 4
catash : I love that the idea of an outdoor reception! That would definitely help buy us some time for set-up. I’ll look into this.
julies1949 : We will have 120 guests and 15-16 tables. We will probably have to hire a Day of Coordinator for set-up since the library staff is only there to supervise. There isn’t a kitchen area for the caterer. We’re thinking of just getting catered food delivered, then having a coordinator/family friend set it up in the designated buffet room. It’s hard to coordinate all the moving parts!
Post # 5
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
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
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 # 8
jupiterbee : Yes, I’ve looked at museums, gardens, art galleries, and similar less traditional venues, but they all cost a lot more than the local library. The library is definitely a favorite venue of mine since it’s so different, but obviously the setup costs would be significant.
julies1949 : You make excellent points. Thank you! Based on everyone’s responses, it sounds like the local library venue idea just isn’t really possible with my $15k budget–even with a Day of Coordinator. I’m assuming the savings would end up being minimal/if any after having to pay others for setup.
Post # 9
- 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:
I ended up going with map flowers for my wedding, but I LOVE the idea of these for a library reception!
Post # 10
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.