It’s vitally important that you enjoy your big day. But if you invite guests, it makes sense that they are kept happy too. Here are a few things that tend to interfere with their pleasure – and you may easily be able to avoid these.
If possible, don’t arrange your wedding during something major like Wimbledon or the World Cup or over Christmas holidays. People often take the whole Christmas period off and go away, so, unless you give a lot of warning, this may not work for them. Similarly, if you don’t give enough notice, guests may have already booked their summer holiday by the time your invitation arrives.
Make sure you specify whom you actually wish to invite. Do you really mean for your friends’ 8-year-old child to come too? What about a “plus one”? Then, if there are several events (eg ceremony, drinks reception, meal, disco), make it clear who is invited to which.
An impossible one to perfect, but don’t seat wedding guests too close together. Try and be aware of who it might be unwise to seat near to whom. Resist the temptation to score points off people!
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).
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 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.
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.
As this is my last blog for 2014 – may I thank you for reading and wish you all the very best seasonal greetings. I look forward to being back with you in 2015.
Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made civil ceremony in or around London or, indeed, in Europe.