Wedding The Complete Guide to Planning a Wedding

The Complete Guide to Planning a Wedding

Everything you need to know to get your ceremony and reception space looking fabulous!

The majority of couples wish to add an element of uniqueness to their wedding venue’s décor. For some couples, this may entail commissioning a florist to create centrepieces, while others opt for a do-it-yourself extravaganza complete with everything from personalised name cards to a self-built photobooth. However, regardless of whether you’re aiming for minimal effort or maximum impact, you’re likely to have at least a few questions about wedding planning.

If you’ve ever noticed cool signage, festoon lights, or fun wedding favours at one of our real weddings and wondered how they were created, this is the post for you. Who is responsible for setting the tables? When are the centrepieces removed? Is it possible for you to enter the room the night before? And what do you do the following day with all of your possessions? Today, we’re going to answer all of these questions and more!

  1. Communicate With Your Venue

Prior to worrying about when to deliver your bunting and who will place the cake topper on the cake, speak with your venue. Certain venue coordinators and their teams will take care of everything, while others will be more hands-off; the majority will fall somewhere in between. Inform your venue of your intentions and be specific, regardless of how simplistic or outlandish you believe your ideas are.


The following are some questions to ask your venue about the decor and setup of the venue:


  • When will we be able to enter the room?
  • When are the tables going to be set up and ready to decorate?
  • When can we drop off our décor items, and who will collect them?
  • Will anyone assist with set-up, and if so, when and how will we instruct them?
  • Are decorations or lights permitted to be hung on the walls or ceiling?
  • Are you going to deal directly with vendors such as florists, bakers, and rental companies?
  • Do we require professional assistance with specific tasks (e.g. hanging lights or ceiling décor)?
  • Is there a time limit on the take-down and storage of our items?
  • Will our room be used for events the day before or after our wedding?

2. Involve Professionals
While you may believe that hiring a wedding planner is unnecessary to hang a few decorations on the day of the wedding and dress the tables, there are numerous professionals who specialise in just that.

On the day of your wedding, wedding stylists, day-of planners, and florists can all assist with venue setup and decoration. Not only is this service frequently more affordable than you believe, but the execution will be flawless, you’ll have access to professional props and set-up tools, and most importantly, you’ll have zero stress on the morning of your wedding regarding venue setup. Professionals frequently communicate directly with the venue, which eliminates the need for you to do anything.

We’d strongly recommend hiring a stylist, or a florist or planner who styles, if you’re working with a short turn-around time at your venue, want to drastically change the look of the room between the ceremony and reception, or are planning décor that is in any way ambitious. Learn more about the roles of various professionals on your wedding day by clicking here.

3. Create a Mock-Up of Your Tables and Photograph It
Whether you’re setting up the venue yourself or delegating it to someone else, conduct a dry run beforehand to get a sense of how everything will look. Without rental props or fresh flowers, this will be more difficult, but if you have the majority of the elements, try to set up a sample table and photograph how it should look, including shots of the centrepieces or runners and individual place settings. Naoise, co-founder of One Fab Day, suggests storing the décor items in clear plastic boxes – one for each table or decor element – and labelling them with a photo of how you want them to look. This will ensure that setup is quick and painless on the day of the event!

4. Select the Appropriate Assistants (And Leave Clear Instructions)
Whether it’s your venue or a friend assisting with the wedding setup, leave a step-by-step guide outlining what goes where, and as previously stated, photos are highly recommended!

If you’re enlisting assistance or delegating venue setup entirely to a friend or family member, it’s also critical to select the right person. While your creative friend may have an eye for décor, you do not want them to take control of your wedding and decorate it according to their tastes. Unfortunately, we’ve heard a few horror stories about friends who decided to change things up, much to the couple’s chagrin. The best person to assist you with decorating is someone who will strictly adhere to your instructions. Inquire of someone who is not otherwise associated with the wedding, or better yet, who is not a guest, so they are not pressed for time to make it to the ceremony on time.

5. Maintain an Effective Toolkit
We’ve written an entire post about what goes into a professional wedding stylist’s kit, so make sure you’re prepared with all of the essentials before you arrive at your venue. Setting up your wedding décor is stressful enough without having to run around looking for white tac or fishing line.

6. Allow More Time Than You Believe

We cannot emphasise this enough: double, triple, or even quadruple the time you estimate it will take to set up your venue and style your wedding if you plan to do it yourself!

Particularly finicky tasks such as hanging festoon lights, blowing up balloons, or tying numerous bows can take an eternity.

When I married, I had grandiose plans of arriving at the venue at 8 a.m. for set-up and then leaving at 10 a.m. for hair and makeup. Fortunately, we were allowed into the venue the day before, and due to a problem with the rental tables, setting up took the majority of the day, despite the fact that we had plenty of helpers. In a nutshell, avoid being as naive as I was!

7. Make Every Effort Possible in Advance

Prepare as much as possible in advance. Whether it’s folding ceremony programmes, tying twine on napkins, or sticking tea lights in lanterns, all those small details add up, so if there’s anything you can prep in the days and weeks leading up to the wedding, do it!

8. Have a Plan for the Following Day

Taking down your wedding décor while suffering from a hangover is not something most couples want to consider before they’ve even walked down the aisle, but regardless of how you choose to proceed, it’s critical to have a plan in place. Discuss with your venue what will happen to your décor and any other items left behind following the wedding, where they will be stored, and how much time you have to collect them. Some may be quite strict about removing lights or collecting remaining décor, so before you jet off on your honeymoon, make certain you’ve delegated someone to handle any remaining collections or dismantling.