As much as your wedding day is about you and your partner, your wedding guests still play a big role in the importance-stakes. Treat them well and they will give you great atmosphere, lots of laughs and happy memories of your wedding day.
Here are some top tips to put your guests’ needs first and keep them all as happy as Larry on your special day.
1. Keep your wedding guests fed
There’s nothing worse than being at a wedding and feeling as though you could eat a horse, and then finding out that your meal is another hour’s wait. Delving into your clutch bag or pocket for a snack to hush your rumbling stomach isn’t considered appropriate wedding etiquette. So, if you’re a bride or groom planning your wedding, keep this nugget of knowledge in mind and don’t leave guests without a canapé or two. The rule is to not leave your guests without food for more than three hours, so ensure to schedule your wedding breakfast, buffet and canapés accordingly.
2. Keep things short and sweet
If you want happy wedding guests, then don’t make them sit through a two hour wedding ceremony and what seems like an age of wedding speeches afterwards. As much as your guests want to share your wedding day with you, they don’t want to endure a snooze-fest when they would rather be celebrating. Keep proceedings short and sweet and your guests will thank you for it. After all, this allows more time for the fun stuff; drinking, eating, chatting and dancing!
3. Accommodation options
When you are sending out your wedding invitations, it’s important to keep in mind that some of your guests may have to come from further afield to your wedding. Wedding guests are faced with a list of costs when invited to a wedding, from the gift to a new outfit, so providing your wedding guests with affordable accommodation options is a good way to keep your guests cheerful even before your wedding day. If you have chosen to marry in a swanky countryside hotel, you can’t assume all of your guests will be able afford a night’s stay, so cheaper alternatives nearby (and a list of taxi numbers) is essential.
4. Dietary requirements
With the amount of new diets around and the rise in people recognising food intolerances and allergies, a surefire way to keep your guests content is to ensure there is something suitable for them when it comes to your wedding catering. Vegetarian, vegan, lactose intolerant or coeliac; there needs to be something for everyone. Discuss with your wedding venue or catering service the offered options, then include a ‘tick list’ of dietary preferences with your wedding invitation for guests to outline which option they would like.
5. Free bar
Probably the ultimate way you could keep your wedding guests happy is to pay for their drinks at your wedding reception. Unrealistic for most wedding budgets, we know, but this is probably the first thing guests would say they’d want in an ideal wedding world. Although, this can be a risk as it inevitably encourages self-indulgence which can easily lead to drunken behaviour – not the classiest wedding reception atmosphere you could hope for.
6. Noise levels at your wedding reception
You will undoubtedly love the tribute band you have hired to entertain your evening guests – the louder the better, in your opinion. But had you thought about your grandparents and other older guests? This ‘racket’ of drums, bass guitar and the enthusiastic lead vocalist may spoil the evening for your grandma. Likewise, your five year old cousin’s little ears may find it too much to handle. Leaving ear plugs on the tables is one option, or just turn down the music! Some venues may even limit the noise levels anyway.
7. Waiting around
One of the things wedding guests really do not enjoy is waiting around in between the ceremony and reception. Granted, photographs must be taken and guests greeted, but while all this is going on, your guests will become progressively bored. While having a microscopic gap between proceedings is unrealistic, providing some form of entertainment is not. Hire musicians to keep your guests content or supply some games for the children. A welcome drink and small talk between unacquainted guests can only go so far, so choose something to bridge the gap.
8. Clear directions
Guests who arrive after a stressful journey will quite possibly remain sour for some time to come. Avoid this tension by providing guests with clear and easy to follow directions to both your ceremony location and wedding reception. Consider alternative routes in case of last-minute road works and alternate public transport options too.
9. Plus ones
Some brides and grooms entertain a ‘no ring, no bring’ policy for their wedding. That is, if a guest is not married or engaged, then they cannot bring a ‘plus one’. While your wedding budget plays a key role in this decision, in order to keep single friends from being sour (or keeping them from not coming at all) then a good move is to allow them to bring a date. Your friend from university who does not know anyone will find it hard to enjoy the celebrations when they’re going it alone.
10. Seating arrangements
Large centrepieces blocking guests’ views, long tables that restrict flow of conversation and strict seating plans are just some of the ways to annoy your wedding guests. Make your wedding meal more of a fun and sociable affair (no tiffs in site) by choosing small round tables and giving your guests the freedom of choice when it comes to their table setting. If you allocate each guest a table, but then allow them to choose who they sit by, everyone will be happy.