You’ve made your guest list, and checked it twice…now you’re sure you’ve got the best crew ever coming to support you on your wedding day. You love them, and you’d like to keep them happy. Every guest is different, but there are a few time-tested touches that will leave even the most fickle guests grinning from ear-to-ear. Here are our top six suggestions…
1. Offer them a warm welcome.
Guests are generally aware that you’ve been very busy with planning for the last year, so when they arrive to some sort of warm welcome from you, they will be tickled pink. A few ways to do this? You can do something more involved like a welcome bag or a Guesterly book, or just let everyone know where to meet up for a drink the evening before the wedding. These gestures help guests feel connected to you and your nuptials.
2. Keep them in the know and keep them comfortable.
No one will care if you plan a gorgeous affair if they are confused about parking, are freezing during the ceremony, or are getting eaten by mosquitos at the reception. So make decisions with your guests’ comfort in mind, and add details about the weather, directions, etc. to your wedding website so they can plan accordingly.
3. Give them a bite to eat.
After the pomp and circumstance of the ceremony but before sitting down to dinner, guests are sometimes left milling about no-man’s land while the bridal party has their photographs taken. Planning a light cocktail hour with passed appetizers (or even inexpensive snacks like cheese and crackers) can really take the edge off. You know how your Uncle Steve gets when he’s hungry.
4. Set the mood with great music.
This is subjective, of course, but putting a little extra thought into your playlist or setlist can have a big impact. Your grandmother may not appreciate “SexyBack” and your girlfriends may not love “Moon River,” so doing some research on the most danceable or just beloved tracks will help you strike a happy medium. If you hire a DJ or a band, make sure they share your vision for the reception’s vibe—whether you want everyone on the dance floor or just want a more chill, lounge-esque vibe. And remember that volume plays a big part too, so make sure the music is at a level that allows everyone to socialize.
5. Keep the speeches short and sweet.
We know there’s no stopping dad on his baby’s big day, but it is possible to put in a request with your speech-givers to (pretty please!) keep it to just a few minutes. Most of your guests know the story of how you met, and many don’t need the story of “that one night in college.” Your guests should be enjoying their dinner and gearing up for the dance floor; they didn’t come here hoping for a TED talk.
6. Make a point to greet everyone.
Yes, we know it’s exhausting making the rounds on your wedding day when you just want to relax and enjoy it, but your guests will be bummed if they come to your wedding and don’t get any face time with you. So put on a big smile and start making small talk as soon as possible at the reception.