Image: Atlanta Wedding Photography/Pinterest
You sometimes hear couples saying things like, what matters is their love, not the wedding so much or the wedding day is our day, we're not throwing this wedding for our guests. I think these approaches are great, in the end it is about the two of you, but I wouldn't say this is exactly how we feel about our wedding.
We're really excited to get married, it's a huge deal for us to say "I do" and commit to each other also in an official way. I think this is obvious, that's why we're getting married, but just to be clear I thought I'd start with that :D It is, however, really important for us to celebrate it with all the people in our lives that are important to us. We love throwing parties, brunches, dinner parties, really whatever we can think of. The thought that this one time we can have all of these wonderful people that mean so much to us, under the same roof and we can plan an amazing day for them, that feels so incredible. Of course we could have a party with any excuse and we could get married with just 2 witnesses but it's the combination of the two that's so important to us. Getting married and having all our close ones there, on the (so far) most important day of our lives.
So what can you do to make sure your guests will be enjoying the wedding? I made a list of things that have occurred to me, they're not in any specific order. It isn't always possible to do everything, and people also want different things for their weddings so don't think that the list means that if you can't check every point, your guests wont enjoy themselves. It's more of a list of ideas that could make your guests happy if you've been able to arrange at least some of them.
- Transportation. If the wedding reception is far, it's kind to offer a ride to your guests. This also applies to a ride back from the reception and this is the part that people sometimes forget. Otherwise your guests are stuck in the middle of nowhere having to choose if they leave early and catch a ride, not drink and drive, pay a fortune for a cab or just settle in there for good because it's not like you're ever getting back home...
- Open bar. I've mentioned before that having an open bar at our wedding is very important for us, but I can understand that it isn't possible for everyone, especially if the wedding is at a restaurant.
- Food. Even if you have trouble understanding why somebody doesn't wanna eat steak/want's to eat steak, when your invite people as your guests it's polite to make sure they're getting the kind of food they'll enjoy. Then again, especially if both parties of the wedding couple are vegetarians for ethical reasons I think they can serve all vegetarian food, it's something everyone can eat. I'm a pescaterian and it's very important to me that vegetarians and vegans get proper food at our wedding. While I can eat fish, I often choose the vegetarian option and if something gets me annoyed it's being served food without protein. I still haven't gotten over the fact that at one wedding venue, their main course for vegetarians was APPLE AND CELERY. It's polite to make sure that vegans, vegetarians, celiacs all get something tasty and nourishing to eat. If your only dessert is a wedding cake, if it isn't vegan/gluten free, make sure they, and people with allergies, also get something to eat. A candy buffet is an easy option here, just remember to mark which candies are vegan and which are gluten free :)
- Live band. Live music just gets people on the dance floor and puts them in a party mood. If a band and dancing isn't your thing maybe you could consider hiring a jazz band or a pianist. Live music just adds to the lovely wedding atmosphere. Then again if you are really into DJs and know that your friend's are too, then a DJ probably does suit your wedding better than live music.
- Time for guests. This can be a bit tricky if you have 200 guests and would like to spend time with your brand new spouse too. A one good option here is to have all people come in one at a time and have a few seconds to hug and congratulate the couple. With corona virus still out there, some couples have decided to replace this with arranging a slot of time when people can come and congratulate the couple with no physical contact necessary. Don't get offended if some guests won't want to do that either at the time of corona.
- Entertaining guests during photo session. If you don't want to see each other before the ceremony there will be a somewhat long wait for the guests while you're out taking pictures. You don't have to bring a whole circus there to entertain your guests but a little something would be considerate. Most guests will be happy with a few drinks, a guest book they can sign and if you can put some music on the background, even better. Remember to have a few seats for the older guests. Some also offer some finger food for their guests. If there are kids at the wedding this is a good time to arrange something fun for them as well.
- Small gifts for guests. In my opinion this is the least important thing. I can't imagine anyone's feelings about the wedding changing because they got a few heart shaped candies to take home with them. If you have something really fun and useful, I'm sure it'll bring some joy to the guests, then again giving people useless junk might just annoy some. I'd say here there's no obvious choice, see how you feel. If you're having an adult only wedding and a lot of your guests have children, it could be a nice idea to get something for the kids as a thank you gift, that way you've acknowledged them too.
- Entertainment for the kids. If you have kids at your wedding, make sure they're having fun and let their parents have fun too. There are several ways you can help kids enjoy the wedding: have kid friendly food, a place for the kids to play at, some program just for them and you can even hire a nanny to entertain them.
- Participation. Your guests might want to participate in your wedding in many ways. A guest book is a nice way of saying that it's important to us that you're here and we'd love to have something to remember you by when we look back to our wedding day. Giving a speech can also be important to your guests, and it's such a great moment for the couple to hear people say nice things about them. If your guests don't know each other games or fun tasks can help breaking the ice. Remember though that not everyone will want to participate so participation should always be completely voluntary.
The thing that will make your guests feel good at your wedding is that you're happy. Don't worry about any minor details that may have gone wrong but just enjoy the day and your guests will too. In the end all that matters is that you're with the people that you love. And for guests, it's a great honor to be invited to a wedding and they are just excited to be there with you :)