Don’t Forget The Guests
We’ve all heard it before, “it’s your day”, “just enjoy the moment”, “everyone is there to celebrate you”. It’s all true of course, but there are a few simple things you can do to ensure your guests have the best possible time, and it all starts with communication.
Going with the flow, seeing what happens, skipping the seating chart, all seem like tempting options when planning a wedding. But here’s the thing – at weddings, people like to be told what to do. They like to know the schedule, they like to know where to sit, they like to know if the cake is coming out later because it determines how many pieces of pie they eat for dessert!
Let’s start with the seating arrangements. Some top tips: treat anyone 16+ like adults, don’t seat them at the kid cousins table, they’ll thank you for it; seat families together – yes, it’s your day, but sometimes a wedding doubles as a family get together, and adult children may like to sit with their parents; don’t play matchmaker – this isn’t the time to try and create new friendships and divide up your college crew and mix them in with your cousins. While your college friends might think Cousin Mike is a cool guy, they’ll be bummed if they’re not all sat together; and, if there are logistical considerations, meaning the Smiths can’t all sit together, or Cousin Steve needs to be added to your work friends table, loop everyone in on the plan – they’ll all appreciate the heads up.
The day’s schedule can be daunting, and while it will go so quickly for you, most weddings feel like marathons not sprints for the guests, and it’s nice to be prepared. Is the ceremony still outside even if it rains? How far away is it from the ceremony to the reception? How early can guests arrive to the reception? Do they need to kill some time in between, and are there any local activities that you suggest? Is Uncle Jeff hosting an informal cocktail hour at his place beforehand because it’s on the way? Is there a bus booked back to the hotel? How far away are the closest hotels? Can cars be left at the reception venue? If it’s a 4pm ceremony, should we expect a late dinner by the time you get done photos? Is it a cash bar? Toonie bar? Is there an ATM on-site? So many questions – but your guests will feel so much more comfortable and prepared if they know the answers! Some couples opt for a wedding website with an FAQ section, others include inserts with the invitations, or a mass email or Facebook message would work. Make sure your wedding party is in the loop as well, as they can help field questions day-of without you ever knowing that Aunt Elaine didn’t read the email!
It is your day, there is no denying that, but spending a few hours in your guests’ shoes during the planning will not only save you from having to answer all these questions during your special day but also drastically improve your guest experience – and happy guests make for fantastic celebrations!