How to increase your guests comfort and experience at the wedding
When I meet with clients, one of the first questions I ask is “what is most important on the wedding day”? Of course, having everything run smoothly, stay within your budget and have not having family or friends lift a finger for the wedding top the charts. More often than not, I also hear couples say that their guest experience is very important.
In the past few years I have noticed an increase in brides/grooms adjusting their schedules to ensure their guests have the best experience possible. Personally I think it’s fabulous. Your guests have probably attended dozens of weddings in the past few years; why not make yours stand out as the BEST?
Here are 7 tips and tricks to ensure that your guests have the most amazing time at your wedding.
- Timing is everything.
Work with your venue and your planner to make sure that you use your time as accurately as possible so there are no large gaps of time between the ceremony and the reception. If you do have an extremely long gap make sure that your guests are well fed and hydrated during this time. If you are having an outdoor ceremony, consider bringing some lawn games to occupy the guests during the cocktail hour! Provide your guests with clear directions on where to go and when so everything stays according to the timeline. Confused guests are unhappy guests.
- Provide your guests with transportation.
While I understand that the budget is so important, so are your guests comfort and safety. If you are getting married at a venue that is outside of a taxi district consider providing your guests with group transportation in lieu of party favors. Generally couples are spending between $5-7 per person on party favors anyways. If you have an average of 150 guests, pop that $1000 into transportation to ensure that your guests have a safe ride home.
- Don’t have a cash bar.
Once again I am coming back to the budget, I know that this isn’t feasible for everyone and that’s ok. If you decide to have a cash bar, have other beverages readily available to your guests. Punch station, mobile coffee cart, wine on the tables, a water station stocked with garnishes (lemons, limes, and oranges) or complimentary pop and juice at the bar. If you are able to fit it into your budget, having wine at the tables during dinner or offering your guests complimentary drink tickets upon arrival prior to heading into the cash bar is a nice touch. If you must have a cash bar, be sure that your guests are well aware of this prior to the wedding so they can be prepared by bringing cash to the wedding.
- Be appreciative of your guests.
While we all know that you appreciate the people attending your wedding or you wouldn’t have invited them, everyone loves to feel special. Include your guests in your speech, even if it’s for a brief moment. Everyone takes the time to thank the wedding party, the vendors and the out of town guests but what about the guests that didn’t come from far away but are still in attendance? If you are not doing a receiving line, take a few minutes after dinner, before the speeches to quickly snake the reception space to say hello to your guests. You could also spend a bit of time taking photos with your guests after your first dance. Once the wedding day is over, send out those Thank You Cards as soon as possible!
- Small touches mean more to your guests than you know.
If you are getting married outdoors in August in Winnipeg, the chances of the weather being extremely hot and humid are VERY likely. Offer bottled water to your guests while they sit at the ceremony space. You may also consider putting together bathroom baskets offering essentials such as hair spray, Tylenol, tampons, etc… Your guests probably brought their smallest purse or clutch and they may end up needing these items during the course of the evening. Consider blankets as party favors for your outdoor winter wedding or a hot chocolate bar!
The seating chart will be your biggest headache during the planning process by far. It’s so easy to “give up”, get frustrated and place the guests all willy nilly just to complete this daunting task. I beg you to spend a bit more time on this task, and thoughtfully place your guests. Even though it’s only during dinner, no one wants to sit at a table with a dozen people they have never met- I promise you that. Consider having rectangle tables that could accommodate up to 24 guests, or 7 foot round tables of 10 guests to group multiple families together.
- Be accommodating.
I understand that every task throughout the planning process things seem to get a bit out of hand but try your very best to be accommodating to your guests in regards to meals and dietary requirements. So often, I hear couples saying “if we have vegetarians attending the wedding that’s too bad, they can eat salad off the buffet!” I know how much work it is, asking on the invitation, making a place card, letting the venue/planner/chef know about the requirements and potentially incurring an additional cost but your guests will sincerely appreciate having a full belly at the reception!
If you have a suggestion on something that you did at your wedding to increase guest comfort and enhance their experience, we would love to know. Email us!
- Tricia xoxo