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The Exit Strategy... not from the Marriage, but from the Wedding


Even if you tried to avoid them, you probably have a bunch of wedding guide books - either purchased or given to you as "helpful gifts" from your friends or recently wedded acquaintences who are trying to clear out debris.

One critical topic that I never saw addressed was the Wedding Exit Strategy.

The fantasy of riding off into the sunset in your car dangling tissue paper and aluminum cans is (hooey).

In real life, you've got to deal with leftover food, some cleanup (who gets those bouquets and table arrangements... and all of that booze), and a lot of gifts.

... and you are dead on your feet, your face hurts from smiling, and your feet remind you that you may be tired, but they aren't dead with their continuous throbbing.

We thought we had this totally under control by donating our leftover food to our church... we really did not spend too much time thinking about the rest.


1. Our caterer gave us a "doggie bag" which was great so we could actually remember what the meal tasted like. I probably would have asked for a bit more so that we would not have to worry about cooking for the first couple of days after the wedding (we did not honeymoon immediately).

2. We asked one of our guests to take the leftovers to our church, but I would think a shelter or other location could be even better. Of course, this depends on what food you purchased. I think this was more work than they anticipated (our caterer was generous). We also had to deal with people asking us for leftovers which was a bit awkward.

The Exit Coordinator

1. While you have plenty of help carrying things in, there is not a similar plan to escape. Everyone is tired, some people are going to leave early. I would suggest picking several responsible people to help make sure that everything gets picked up and moved and that you have a list of what goes where and how.

2. Get a van and a garage. We had an evening wedding. My new wife and I were wiped out. We neither wanted to load nor unload anything. But we had to. We convinced some of our friends to load up their cars to get everything home, but since we didn't have a secure garage to use, we had to unload everything immediately. I would rather have thrown everything in a van and parked it in someone's garage until I, or our friends or family, could have dealt with everything the next day. (and there is nothing like a bunch of visitors at your place on your wedding night... we did not want to talk with people any more, we wanted to collapse).

4. Have a plan. One of the small items we had ordered were some cocktail napkins with "Eat, Drink, and be Married" - cute, but we don't have any as they disappeared. If we had been thinking, we could also have recruited some of our friends to help tear down the decoratations, figure out what needed to be saved, and discarded the rest (I would love to have found someone to donate the flowers and other decorations to).  Your florist is probably long gone when you are cleaning up.

5. Gifts. People give you stuff. Its great. They also give you checks or mysterious envelopes. Also great. Have a plan for securing all of these items from the time that they are received until they are back at your home.

6. Wedding Night Hotel. If you travel for your wedding, I can certainly understand the hotel, but for us, we got married a couple of miles from our home. Everyone asked us about a wedding night hotel. Madness. The idea of packing up for one night in addition to all of the other things that you are trying to get done is crazy. And for what? There is nothing like sleeping in your own bed.

Just some thoughts. This is something I would really have like to have done better. We planned everything else pretty well, but our exit strategy was more of a mess than we would have liked.

Best of luck!

Last Updated: December 4, 2009 at 6:27 am
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