Planning 101 4th March 2015

8 Things Your Guests Will Expect At Your Wedding

Yes, yes, we hear time and time again that your wedding is all about YOU; creating the day of your dreams, capturing fabulous memories and celebrating your love for each other. But what about those 100 odd people who are all devoting a day of their lives (and probably a fair bit of dosh) to spend it with you? It's definitely not more about them than it is you, but having unhappy guests may oput a little dampner on things for the bride and groom. Here are 8 ways to keep them happy:

1. To NOT be bored That means no 2 hour long ceremony, no 4 hours of aimlessly milling around at a 'drinks reception' and no short novel length speeches. Don't get me wrong, you don't need to plan fun activities to take up every second of the day, but do put some thought into how you'll keep the day flowing nicely. For example, if you're planning on sneaking off in your drinks reception for some time with the photographer arrange for lawn games, a photobooth, an interactive guest book or the like to be provided then, and keep this whole section of the day to not much more than an hour and a half.

2. To eat good food There's a certain level of subconscious assumption that when you're dressed nicely and at a fancy event, the food is going to be decent. People will remember nice food. They'll also remember if it was naff and they're left starving hungry. Make sure you do a tasting prior to the wedding, and that you've considered the best way to reasonably please most tastes. Good food doesn't necessarily mean expesive, it just means making the right choices!

3. To drink! Now we are NOT saying that you need a free bar. Whilst it would be great for your guests, it probably won't be too great on your pocket! What you can do though, and what your guests will expect, is offer a reception drink such as fizzy wine or pimms, a couple bottles of vino on the tables and something else fizzy to toast during the speeches. It probably won't put you too far out of pocket to make sure soft drinks are freely available throughout the day too, keeping everyone hydrated. There are some great ways to make offering alcoholic drinks at your wedding in a budget friendly manor, which you can read here.. Should I have a Free Bar?

4. To speak to you Many guests will have travelled far and wide for your big day, and they've probably been thinking about you and the wedding for some months. For that reason you need to try and make time to have a little chat with most people there. I personally love a good old fashion receiving line, but they are really for a brief little hello before everyone gets seated. A great time for a chat is between the main course and dessert! Head to tables of people you haven't really spoken to yet, and start with the ones who you envisage you won't be boogying on the dancefloor with later on.

5. To keep travel times short If you have to travel between venues from the cermony to reception, this should be easy and quick. Nobody wants to mess around with complicated directions, get stuck in traffic, or undertake an hour long car journey. This will lose the momentum and enthusiasm of the day generated post wedding ceremony. Try and plan to make life super easy for your guests to move between venues, whether that means providing transport for them, or by keeping the two venues super close together.

6. To be entertained If there's one thing that comes up time and time again when guests talk about weddings they've been to, it's the entertainment (funnily enough, they don't seem to remember the chair covers and charger plates you spent months agonising over!). Whether it's the harpist who serenaded you down the aisle, the magician who wowed guests at their tables, the singing waiters or the rocking band, people LOVE to be entertained. It doesn't have to cost a fortune either; improvise with garden games, do a quiz between courses and have a talented mate sing for your first dance.

7. To have easy options for resting weary heads If you know lots of your guests have to travel quite far to your wedding, make sure there is plenty of accomodation nearby and notify your guests of the whereabouts of these hotels early on. You can quite often negotiate a good rate with hotels which are friends of your venue.

8. For you to be happy Your guests are coming for you! They want to see you a happy, glowing couple, free from wedmin stress and enjoying your first steps on the path of matrimony. So enjoy the moment, forget about the things that might go wrong, smile and give the people what they want!