All good things must come to an end; this includes your wedding reception. In all our years of planning, we’ve realized that most couples have no idea what they should do before hopping into their getaway car. There are things that may need to be broken down, decisions to be made about décor items and centerpieces, and what to do with cards and gifts. We’ve complied a list of 6 things that all couples should think about once their reception ends.

6. The Necessary Rentals

From chairs and tables, to linens and tents, to cupcake towers and décor items, you probably rented at least one thing for your wedding. Make sure to read through the contracts to see what you’re responsible for breaking down, if the company will come and break it down, and any pick up or drop off instructions. Many rental companies won’t pick up until the following Monday, so keep this in mind if your venue requires you get everything out that night. You will likely need to pay an additional fee for late night or Sunday pickup.


5. The Most Expensive Dress You’ll Probably Ever Own

At some point at the end of the night you’ll be taking off your perfect wedding dress. Regardless of where you’re changing into something more comfortable remember:

-Hang your dress inside of the garment bag.

-Trust someone (a parent or wedding party member) with making sure it gets back to your house, hotel, parents’ house, etc. You wouldn’t want your dress to get wrinkled, torn, stained or lost.


4. The Top Tier

If you and your partner plan on enjoying the top tier of your wedding cake on your first anniversary, it takes some planning. Have a trusted friend (or your caterer) take the time to properly package it and get it into the freezer stat! And make sure you have a plan to get it home. You may be leaving for your honeymoon early the next day or not going straight home, so it’s important to figure out who is responsible for taking it home for you. 


3. All of Those Flowers

Florals are typically 8% of your total wedding budget, so do you really want to just throw them away? Here are a few ideas of what to do with your wedding flowers at the end of the evening:

-Give them as a favor to guests that want to take them.

-Use them to decorate any post-wedding events (brunch the next day is a popular option).

-Bring them back to brighten up your house/parents’ houses.

-Dry and press them for a wedding album, shadowbox, etc.

-Offer them to the hotel your guests are staying in.
-Donate them to a local hospital or nursing home.


2. Your Amazing Vendor Team

Your wonderful vendor team made your big day possible. Make sure to give them credit where it is due for extraordinary service. Try to take the time during your reception to thank all of your vendors verbally. If you decide to give gratuities at the end of the reception, have the checks written out before hand or cash in a sealed and labeled envelope, and give them to a trusted and responsible friend (or your wedding planner!) to hand out.

1. All of Your “Stuff”

You’ve made every checklist and to-do list to make sure all of your personal items make it to your wedding venue, now it’s time to make sure they come home. Give a wedding party, family member or wedding planner the task of collecting your guest book, wedding gifts and cards, leftover food, décor items, and any other odds and ends. Make sure you have a plan to get it all back home.