When you are planning your wedding day, everyone you speak to will be very focused on the two of you and that is a good thing; it’s your wedding and it should be about you. But if you want your wedding day to be one that everyone remembers and talks about for years to come, you should make it about your guests too. Your guests are the people you love and care about and have chosen to share this day with you. Some will travel distances to be there. Other will have made sacrifices in their own lives in order to show up, because you are important to them. Showing your guests some love and appreciation is a nice thing to do.
And if you want to ensure you wedding day has a great vibe and that everyone is in the mood for celebrating; including some special touches, just for your guests will do it.
There is quite a bit of down-time at weddings for guests; waiting for your arrival at the ceremony, waiting for you to have family photos and leave the ceremony, waiting for you to get to the reception whilst you have more photos and freshen up, etc. Often guests are standing outside during this time and this can become uncomfortable, particularly if its hot, wet or cold. Consider your guests’ comfort by thinking about the elements and the times that guests may be standing around waiting. If it’s hot, have a water station and umbrellas. If it’s cool, have blankets and heaters spread around (especially if your wedding is outside). And as part of your wet weather plan, have umbrellas on hand so guests can get from their cars to the venue without getting wet (your Wedding Coordinator and their team can help with this).
As I highlighted above, there can be a lot of down-time at a wedding for guests. Pre-reception drinks are a standard way to entertain guests as they wait for you to get back from photos, but consider adding in something fun like games too. Games will not only keep guests entertained, but may also slow down the alcohol consumption rate as well. If all guests have to do whilst they wait for you is drink, you may not have the vibe at your Reception you hoped for.
Background music is also appreciated by guests and helps to get the party started ahead of your arrival.
Another great use of this time is ‘house-keeping’. Your MC can take control of the crowd before you arrive and warm them up with some funny stories and general house-keeping, so everyone knows where everything is and what to expect for the rest of the evening. At the I Do Crew, we find that older guests particularly appreciate, ‘being in the know’.
If you have a big guest list and a lot of people who don’t know each other well, roving entertainers like magicians are an excellent way of keeping people entertained and engaged and it gives them something to talk about with their neighbour, even if they have never met before.
You don’t have to ensure that everyone at a table knows each other well, but it does help if there are one or two connections at a table and the people seated together have something in common. For example, you may each have a married cousin who know each other a little. One of these couples has children. Seat this group with some of your co-workers and their partners of a similar age. Whereas, your older relatives will appreciate being with members of their own family, unless they know the other side particularly well. The trick to getting this right is to take a little time to consider the dynamics at each table without sweating it too much.
Your guests with little ones (and even big ones who are prone to boredom at weddings) will love you for this! A kids table with games, colouring in books and snacks is a great idea. If you have mixed ages when it comes to young guests, consider giving the older ones some ‘jobs’, such as setting up kids games, or a kids disco; this will keep them occupied too. We have even set up an outdoor cinema complete with movie snacks; this was a HUGE hit with kids of all ages.
A babysitter is also a great idea if you really want the parents to be able to relax and have some fun.
I don’t think any couple intentionally ignores anyone at their wedding, but it can get busy and tempting to gravitate towards the people you are closest with. But everyone you have invited to your wedding should mean something to you, which means they will enjoy your wedding so much more if you do take time to talk to them. You don’t have to devote huge chunks of time talking to each and every guest. Your guests understand that you have a lot of guests to talk to. But you should mingle at your wedding and make an effort to speak to everyone there at least once, for a few minutes. This is a great way to ensure your guests feel appreciated and take home good memories from your wedding.
Your guest list will likely feature people of different ages, tastes, backgrounds etc. Whilst your wedding is about you, if you want people to get up and party with you, play a good mix of music that they can all enjoy. If the dance floor is pumping everyone tends to want to join in anyway; regardless of whether the music is to their taste or not.
Increasingly our couples are including this option for guests, especially if there are no time restrictions on when the reception ends. And if your guests have been dancing, drinking and having fun with you, they are going to need something to keep them going. Anything bite size is perfect and will be devoured – this is often one of the most appreciated parts of the night! And if you found it hard to sit down and eat dinner, you will enjoy a late night snack also.