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Thank You and Goodnight: Have you thought about how to conclude your wedding?

You have everything planned and your wedding day will be magnificent! But have you thought about how you will end your wedding and farewell your guests?

A send-off is a rite of passage and planning your farewell is key to ending a successful day the right way! It’s really important to wrap up your night safely and ensure your guests move on while everyone is still in good spirits or things can turn messy. After taking part in 400+ weddings, I’ve seen the best (and worst) ways to complete your special day.

Photo By Philippa Enid

Most popular ways to farewell your guests:

Farewell Circle

Pro: You can thank every person who attended.

Con: It will eat 15 minutes of your dance time.

Guard of Honour (The Tunnel)

Pro: A quick exit and effective way to include all guests.

Con: Sometimes inebriated guests can be a little rough with you as you run through.

Sparkler Exit

Pro: It can look magical.

Cons: Drunk people + fire- what could possibly go wrong?!

-You'll have to scrap it if there's a total fire ban.

-Plenty of venues don't allow it.

-If your guests chuck their burnt sparklers in the grass you might cop a littering/clean up fine from your venue.

Tip: If you are going ahead with sparklers get 90 second burn or more. Little sparklers from Woolworths or Coles won’t work. They fizzle in less than 15 seconds! Also remember to provide multiple jet-lighters.

Idea: Opting for a 'glow stick exit' can be a great, safer, alternative! Any ornate exit will be pretty, though you might not be to concerned with doing one if your photography package ended earlier in the night, as you might not have anyone to capture it.

'Glow stick Exit' Photo by Jessica Ryan

See Out Your Guests (Last to leave)

Pro: Standing at the door to wish your guests well as they walk out could be a very effective way of getting everyone out so you don’t incur an overtime fee from your venue.

Con: You’ll already be tired and being last out might exhaust you.

Kicking On (After Party)

Pro: The party never ends and no one feel disappointed about leaving the reception area.

Con: There’s no way to control how messy things get from there on out.

Things to think about and Plan in advance:

-The car taking you home/to your hotel.

Don’t: hail a taxi or book an Uber, both are known to be unreliable and you need to secure your sweet gifts.

Do: Hire a professional in advance. It's worth every cent!

-Your wishing well.

Don’t: leave it overnight at the venue, or try to take care of it, by yourself, 'on the night' when you're tipsy/preoccupied.

Do: Designate someone trustworthy to 1) take the contents safely with them or 2) get it all back to your room ASAP.

-Checking your things (and selves) into your room.

You'll probably have different accommodation arrangements on the night before your wedding to the night of your wedding.

Don’t: just rock up after your wedding and expect to get into your room. I personally know couples who have been locked out of their hotel on their wedding night!

Do: If you're checking into a new hotel entirely, please consider that you may arrive at 1:30am the morning after your big night and the reception desk might not be 'manned'. Sometimes the venue will allow a family member to collect your key, but your best option is to explain to the venue that it's your wedding night and ask them how you'll get access to your room.

-Packing down items.

Don’t: try to do this by yourself or with your family on the night.

Do: have a super talented florist/stylist who will remove all the instillation bits & pieces after your wedding. Some venues allow you to return the next day, however, most need to turn around the function room that same night for another wedding the next day. Double check. It can also be heartbreaking to watch the room torn to shreds only hours after your first dance, so get out of there and have a team take care of it!

- Left over cake.

YUM. You really have 3 scenarios:

  1. There is no cake left :(

  2. There's a moderate amount and you take it with you/collect it next day.

  3. There's a truckload left and now you need to hold an arvo tea in the next 48 hours so it gets eaten.

Don’t: pack it into someone’s car and find it the next day.

Do: pack it right. If you are taking it home, you can save the chef from a headache by supplying a few mega sized Tupperware boxes to get it back to yours. I've seen cakes transported between paper plates and over-wrapped in foil and the icing gets ruined. Ask your cake maker if your leftovers should be stored in the fridge or a dark cupboard at room temperature. No one likes a sticky, melty cake.

-Your flowers.

Don’t: Bin them.

Do: Decide early if guests are allowed to take centerpiece flowers with them. If so, your MC can instruct your guests/you can arrange some brown paper & twine for a flower wrap station.

Even if your bouquet is looking worse for wear: take your flowers with you. To keep them alive: cut the stems by about 5cms and place them in fresh water with a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt, hopefully they will recover. Otherwise you might wish to dry your flowers and have them framed.

Bouquet by Floral Ink Photo by Thomas Stewart

Your wedding is a one-time event and should finish the way it started: joyfully. I hope these notes will help you to organise a beautiful end to a brilliant day.

Writer: Kate Tomlinson

Kate is one half of the successful wedding music duo ‘White Clover Music’.

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