Want to give your guests the ultimate wedding day experience? A wedding is based around the wants and desires of a couple: their love and commitment; their theming style; their ideas on how to celebrate with family and friends. Sometimes, however the couple forgets to really consider what would be best for the hundreds of guests.
We’ve seen couples so determined to have outdoor weddings that their guests are left sitting in sweltering heat with no shade or umbrellas for over an hour. Believe us, they weren’t quite so joyous by the end of it with their make-up dripping and soaked in sweat!
So here are a few tips to keep in mind when considering your guests:
Entertainment between the ceremony and reception
It is really important that you provide an option for your guests whilst you are having your photos taken. We’d suggest you arrange a venue next to or at the reception venue so they can have drinks, listen to music and have entertainment. There is nothing worse than being all dressed up and sitting in a dodgy RSL club or chicken shop whilst you wait for the reception to begin.
We’ve written about quirky quest activities.
Make the reception close to the ceremony
Have your ceremony venue reasonably close (ideally walking distance) from your reception venue. This makes it much easier for guests to commute in between the two locations. We’d also suggest that you leave no more than 2 hours in between the ceremony and reception, as guests will be bored or very intoxicated by the time you’ve arrived.
We’ve been to weddings where the ceremony finished at 1pm and the reception didn’t start until 6pm. This meant guests would have to go home or wait for hours in their formal gear until they could have their dinner. I personally went home, had a sleep, got dressed again and then went to the dinner for one wedding I attended. By the time we got to the reception it felt like the day had been going forever and that the event was very disjointed. Was far too much effort for the guests and I felt very sorry for those who had nowhere to rest!
We’ve written about ceremony music to evoke the best response from your guests…
Give your out of town guests a range of hotel options. We’d suggest three options: one cheap, one middle range and one expensive. Call the hotel and reserve rooms at each so your guests don’t miss out. Make sure all the options are reasonably close to your reception so they can easily travel two and from the wedding.
We love an open bar! A wedding without an open bar is like a dog without a bone - it’s bored and sad.
We’ve written about cocktails here….
The music and entertainment are integral to setting the mood and exciting the guests. If you want your guests to party into the evening, feel the love in the air and remember your wedding as the ultimate day then we’d suggest you ditch the crappy jukebox and get an awesome band, piano man or live DJ. PLEASE leave the “Chicken Dance” and “Macarena” for your grandma’s 90th!
We’ve written about entertainment here...
Whilst the food doesn’t always need to be fancy, it definitely needs to taste delicious and be served as a decent portion. Always do a taste test before your book in your caterer/venue and don’t be afraid to ask for something different if the quality isn’t up to scratch. We’d also suggest considering your theme when picking your menu so it all flows nicely. Try to also pick dishes that are palatable for your guests – avoid really complex or foreign foods that may not appeal to many people.
We’ve written about catering here...
This is REALLY important. I’ve been to weddings where guests have got up and visited the toilets during the groomsmen speech. One man went twice! It’s really important to keep each speech less than 5 minutes and no more than 4 -5 speeches.
Thoughtful seating arrangements
We’d suggest you assign your guests to a table and let them choose their own seat. You are giving them enough choice to make them feel like an adult and happy with who they are sitting next to, but not enough choice that it is a huge debacle whilst everyone tries to decide on a table and seat. You’ll also save on printing out place cards! It’s also a great idea to think about who would like to sit together and put those who don’t like one another (e.g. personality types, disgruntled or divorced family members) on the opposite sides of the room and without making one feel they are more important than the other. We’ve written about seating arrangements here...
We've written about a similar article before: '25 steps to create the best wedding for your guests'. Click on the link to find out more things you can do to impress your guests!