Your big day is all about you. You really must have a wonderful time. But don’t forget. You are inviting guests and they will come to support you. They need to be kept happy too.
Let’s look at what might upset them. That way, you can avoid doing so!
If possible, don’t arrange your wedding during a major event like Wimbledon or the World Cup or over Christmas or Summer holidays. If you have to do this, then give plenty of notice. You can’t complain if people don’t attend, when they’ve already booked their holiday (and people may book a year ahead).
Don’t leave room for misunderstanding. Do you really mean for your friends’ 4-year-old child to come too? What about a “plus one”? Then, if you’re dividing the whole event up into several events (eg ceremony, drinks reception, meal, disco), make it quite clear who is invited to which.
Always a difficult one. Don’t seat wedding guests too close together. Try and be aware of who it might be unwise to seat near to whom. Even if it’s so tempting to see someone’s reaction when you’ve seated them next to their ex!
Cash bars are not popular. To reduce your expenditure, but to keep guests happy, supply a limited selection of wine, beer, champagne, and soft drinks (at the table). And try having a ceremony earlier in the day. People are less likely to want alcohol then.
Melt-down or frost
Although you can’t control the climate, you can ensure the experience does not become a deterrent. If the ceremony is outdoors and in hot weather, ensure there is sufficient shade and/or fans and arrange for cold water to be available; blankets and umbrellas could be laid on for the winter.
It’s a nice touch to find out about guests’ allergies or dietary requirements in advance. You obviously need to work with your caterers to ensure there will be sufficient food and that it is of decent quality. You can probably arrange a food-tasting in advance. (If you’re only offering nibbles, then this should be made clear on the invitations).
Children’s menus should not be too exotic, but can be a bit more imaginative than chicken wings.
Do what you can to ensure that the photographs don’t go on for ever – or the speeches. You can reasonably give instructions about this beforehand.
It is also a good idea to plan things so there are not huge gaps between, say, the ceremony and cocktails, or before the reception. Nobody likes ‘dead time’.
You’ll never please everyone all the time, but music before the dancing should be background level, and not everybody will want to have tub-thumping, ear-splitting music for the dancing. This will apply even more if the majority of guests are more mature.
If money and space allows, there could be a small room for guests to retreat to, if noise or fatigue threatens to overwhelm.
Do try and get round and speak to everybody – table to table is best – even to offer just a short acknowledgement (and it’s better than making people stand in a receiving line).
Don’t forget the thank-you cards either.
For help, especially planning the ceremony, please speak to Michael.