It’s a tricky balance to achieve, a wedding to suit the wants and whims (and financial sustainability) of the Bride and Groom (or Bride and Bride/Groom and Groom), and one that their guests will talk about for years.
Why do you want to know what guests like at a wedding? Isn’t this ‘YOUR’ Big Day?
Yes, YOU (both) are the centre of attention. Yes, you can (mostly) tell everyone what to do, and they’ll probably do it. However, these particular wedding guests are your favourite people, you’ve asked them to be there to celebrate there with you, so why not make it fun? I don’t understand the logic by it being all about you, these people are not the extras in ‘Your Big Wedding’
– they’re your friends and guests, and it’s easy to get caught up in the details of the dress, the flowers and the favours, and not focus on the celebration of love that it is. So make it a fun celebration (for everyone)!
– While constrained by your budget, you should make your guests’ comfort and enjoyment one of the main priorities. Everyone has different priorities, and different levels of guest comfort v your budget and preference, but these are my opinions. I personally think that it’s tacky to spend a fortune on yourself and then skimp on your guests’ comfort. If I had to choose between buying enough bubbles for my guests to enjoy for toasting, and having my hair and make-up done, I’d choose the Champers.
What does that mean?
– Delicious and plentiful food over glitzy centrepieces: Whether you can afford a backyard wedding or to hire out an Island, don’t skimp on the food. That’s after-ceremony canapés, a filling dinner, and something to eat between dances, if possible! It doesn’t have to be fancy filet mignon.
– Wine & Beer over monogrammed napkins:
It’s the ‘Open bar’ issue again. No, it’s not a must. However, if you can cut out the monogrammed napkins, expensive menus and useless favours, do so if it means you can treat your guests to some bubbles for toasting, and drinks with dinner. To make my point…. here’s wedding pro
David Tutera ‘Open Bar vs Cash Bar’ and an article by The Knot which states “a cash bar is never a good choice. When you have a wedding, you’re inviting people to a party, and they shouldn’t have to pay for anything while they’re there. Yes, it’s true that when you have a bash in your apartment and invite all your pals, you say “BYOB” but it’s not quite the same at a formal event.” (P.S. – from me, it’s certainly not the same when you’re asking them to spend a lot of money on the alcohol!)
– Somewhere affordable to stay: If it’s a destination wedding don’t make the only option the Four Seasons (unless you know everybody can afford it, weddings are an expensive exercise even for guests, and if they can’t afford to come, you might miss out on having your best friends there. If it’s not too far from home.
– Good music: Carefully curated iTunes list; DJ or band, keep the mood upbeat with some great music that starts shortly after dinner and continues into the small hours! Make it a night to remember with your favourite songs, and don’t cut out the feel-good anthems that everyone knows.
– Thoughtful seating: Of course, all your guests are lovely, but why not seat like with like, and give some thought to who best your guests will enjoy being seated with. That’s no ex-boyfriends, no single-ladies dumped on the kids’ (or oldies’) table, and no quarrelling relatives in close-quarters, please.
– Short speeches: Yes, you were cute growing up; No, your guests don’t want to hear your entire life story just because it’s your wedding. Perhaps have the opportunity for others to speak at an evening meal the night before, rather than making the wedding an open-mic night (especially if people are waiting patiently for food).
– Minimal ceremony to reception time: While you’re getting your photos done, give a thought to what the guests are doing post wedding ceremony. Provide food, drinks, seating and entertainment (games, music, etc) if you’re going to take 2 hours + before arriving.
Spend some time with your wedding guests: This is a simple, but also difficult one, but your guests will truly appreciate if you take the time to come to their table and say thank you for their attendance, plus you’re sure to enjoy compliments at the same time!