Wedding Reception Forum

How long did it take you to set up the reception venue?

For those who're married, or who helped set up a wedding reception for a friend or relative, how long did it take to set tables, arrange flowers & candleholders, light candles, set up placecard/gift table, etc?

We are doing all of this ourselves, have probably about 15-20 tables to set up in a big empty rec hall.  How much time should I budget for this?  Workers will be me, one sister for sure, and maybe one other person. 

Re: How long did it take you to set up the reception venue?

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    I'd budget at least a couple hours, if not 4, depending on how much decoration you have to do. It will help if you have a definite plan for what goes where and you are just assembling and placing instead of conceptualizing while you are there. I know that's the ideal, and not really realistic, situation.
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    It really depends on how organized you are and how much crap has to be put out.  I would budget at least a couple of hours.

    Also, invest in some sturdy boxes and organize everything beforehand.  The best way is to put everything for one table in it's own box (tablecloth, table numbers, candle holders, candles, etc).  That way you can set up one table at a time, and aren't wasting time running back and forth to look for things. 

    And don't forget lighters, preferably the long ones that you use to light grills with.

    You can always ask the venue if they'll let you in the night before to set up.  Some will.
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    Thanks, Sarah and Tide.  I am sad to find out that we cannot get into our venue the night before - that would have been great, but they have another event. 

    Tide, that is a great idea - I never would have thought of organizing it by table rather than by contents (i.e., all the candle holders in on box, napkins in another, etc. )  That makes a lot more sense and would be self-explanatory for anyone else who comes along to help.
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    Hmm...  In my case, it took two of us two solid days to get it all done.  But then again, we knew we could take all that time, and we had quite ambitious DIY plans--80 chair covers and satin sashes, 18 centerpieces, about 15 tablecloths, 300 plates, 400+ forks, 300 napkins, 127 paper lanterns with various kinds of lighting hung from monofilament line going from wall to wall, 8 spotlights for uplighting, a DIY fauxtobooth, a chocolate fountain, a DIY cake set up under the DIY chuppah (wedding canopy) we had used for our ceremony, a display of our ketubah (Jewish wedding contract), backlit menus for our food, bar drinks, and cake layers, etc.  Our highly nontraditional reception venue (a club that was a converted warehouse) looked beautiful when we finished, but it was definitely quite a production!

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