Your wedding day is about sharing your love and commitment for your fiancé with those closest to you. You want it to be a memorable day filled with love and joy from all who attend. Well, if you ask anyone who has been married they will tell you that you can’t control everything and especially not how the day goes. You can’t control rain, sickness or a broken dress straps but you can be proactive in making sure it’s the best experience for not only you and your future husband/wife but also those who have come to share their love with you on your special day. Here are 10 common complaints from wedding guests and how you can help head off some of these potential sticklers.
1. Don’t pick an inconvenient date
I get it, getting married on Valentine’s Day sounds ridiculously romantic. Becoming husband and wife at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve would be a memorable event. It’s an incredibly romantic gesture for you and your fiancé but it’s not as fantastic for your guests. It’s important when considering your wedding day to remember commitments that other may already have. Here are some dates that are best to avoid. If you are still really set on a specific day here are a few tips to help ease the stress of loved ones.
– Take to your wedding party and close relatives before finalizing your date
– Let your guests know well in advance, send out your save-the-dates as soon as possible
– Check your local calendar to avoid conflicts in the area such as a local parade, outdoor music concert, or large event in the area
2. Be clear about invitations
One of the most stressful tasks you will do while planning your wedding will be deciding on the guest list. Even more frustrating when someone assumes they get a plus one or worse a plus 5. Here are some tips in dealing with this tricky topic.
– Address your invitations clearly.
– Write the names on the RSVP card. Avoiding any potential confusion by writing in the names on the response card allowing them to check off their response.
– Be up front. Wedding websites are a great way to inform your guests of hotel locations, important locations and special instructions. One of the most common RSVP blunders is a guest assuming their children have been invited. If you have decided to not include children at your reception your wedding website would be a great place to bring this to your guests attention.
– Address the issue head on. If there was a miscommunication its best to address it immediately.
** As a general note it is customary to give an unmarried guest with a long time significant other a +1. **
You always want to make sure your guests are comfortable. When your guests are enjoying themselves they are more likely to stick around to enjoy the night. Most important things to remember are:
– Make sure your guests have enough room. There is nothing more frustrating then having to move your chair every couple minutes so guests can get by. Or to be knocking elbows with the person next to you.
– Keep arrangements out of eye level. Keeping your table arrangements either low or high allows for your guests to freely communicate without leaning to the side to see one another.
– Assignments. Guests prefer not having to worry about seating. So, if it’s an option plan to assign the seating. Also, when assigning the seats consider which guests would enjoy sitting near one another.
4. Avoid Cash Bars
Just watch wedding planner David Tutera’s reaction when we asked him about them and see for yourself.
– If you can’t afford to have a fun bar invest in supplying a few specialty drinks, cover wine and beer, or be creative and have a free coffee bar.
5. Check the Weather
If you live in a location with unpredictable weather or have chosen a season that tends to be particularly hot or cold make sure to include in your budge accommodating for this.
– Convert your programs into fans for guests to use during the ceremony
– Make sure there is shade for your guest
– Provide cold drinks or a cool place for them to relax
– Especially if you are considering an outdoor wedding, I would recommend investing in an outdoor heater
– Provide guests with free shawls
– Have a bon fire or a heated area for guest to take a break from the cold
Most importantly, make sure your quests are aware before hand so they can dress appropriately. This also is true for beach weddings or a location that requires a lot of walking for guests.
6. Provide Friendly Food
I went to a wedding recently that my husband ended up eating a piece of bread and some fruit. He is allergic to nuts and every items at the reception had walnuts drizzled in the food. It’s important to consider big food allergies when planning your wedding such as nuts, shellfish and fish. If these are some of your favorite food not a problem, just make sure to include some allergy free options as well. Same goes for vegetarians and gluten free option. If you know a large portion of your guests have diet restrictions you should try to accommodate that will at least one option for them.
7. Excessive Break between Wedding and Reception
I have to admit that I had a three-hour gap in between my wedding and reception. Knowing this would be a problem for some of my guests with small children I included in our invitations places near by to visit in between. It happened to be in a metro area, walking distance from the free public zoo. Ideas:
– If you know that there will be a large gap make sure your guests have something to do in between. Such as yard games, or local restaurants.
– Provide them with local brochures for activities in the area.
– Make sure the reception is available in case they want to arrive early.
8. Don’t offend Grandma with Kanye West
Sure, you might love to dance to “Gold Digger” but that doesn’t mean your grandma does. Keep all guests in mind when selecting music for your reception. Here are some easy tips:
– Don’t seat elderly guests by the speakers
– Play music that is easy to dance to
– Never play music with inappropriate language
– Stay with slower, safe songs and move to the louder music to later in the evening
– Play music at a reasonable level. Weddings are a great opportunity to catch up with friends and family so make sure your guests can still enjoy one another’s company.
9. Disorganization to the max. I once attended a wedding where the cocktail hour became two-and-a-half hours long because the bride and groom wanted more photos in the moonlight. Imagine the look on guests’ faces when we finally sat down to our seats and waited another hour and a half before dinner was served.
– Create a timeline of events and assign someone responsible for keeping you on track
– Don’t be a Bridezilla. Yes it is your day, but there are potentially hundreds of people that are spending their day celebrating with you. So make sure to keep them in mind as well.
10. Don’t forget to do thank you’s
It is so easy to watch the day just pass you by without getting a chance to talk to everyone. So take a break from the dance floor and chat with your guests. Even a quick hug or thank you for coming will be enough to make your guests feel appreciated.
Thank you cards: Even if you had a chance to thank everyone at the wedding for coming, you must send thank you cards. This is something that everyone expects and because some guests make special arrangements to be at your wedding be sure to make the card personalized. My tip for you is to split the cards up between the two of you and tackle a handful of cards every day. Most people don’t expect a thank you card for a month or two.