Things Your Guests Do Care About

Today, a quick look at things your guests appreciate to follow up on an earlier blog on stuff that your guests don’t really care about.  As different as each wedding can be, these are things that are consistently wished for by guests.

1.  Feeling welcome. What do I mean by this? Think about the guest experience from their point of view.  Easy parking, a place to drop a gift or a card and a greeting from a family member or someone in the wedding party. It also means keeping the temperature in mind – offer an umbrella and cold water on a hot and sunny day or a warm drink and a light wrap on a cooler day.  Also, make sure you have enough seats for everyone at the ceremony. No one wants to stand.

2.  Open bar. This probably should be listed first ‘cause it is so important.  Open bar = relax, have a cocktail and hit the dance floor.  When guests have to pay for their own drinks, mumbling and grumbling ensues and most guests will leave right after dinner. Cut the guest list before you cut the open bar. Seriously.  This doesn’t mean you have to have 7 hours of open premium bar, but find ways to keep the booze flowing especially in the beginning of the reception. 

3.  Food.  Obvious, right? Make sure you have good food. Notice I didn’t say great.  Catering for 200 people is hard and I think expectations have to be realistic. This isn’t a wine-pairing dinner for 8. So good food with creative choices for people that eat gluten-free or vegan (enough with the portabella mushroom, already) and  appropriate quantities. No one wants to leave a wedding feeling like they need to grab some take-out on the way home.  Consider your schedule. If people will be on the dance floor for more than 3 hours after dinner, think about a late-night snack as well.  You usually don’t have to purchase this for everyone, just your family and friends that you know will be there until the very end.

4.      Music.  The bulk of the reception will be spent dancing. Make sure you have a band or a DJ that can emcee in the style that you want, but can get and keep the crowd dancing. I know it’s tempting to list out three hours of music in the order that you want, but don’t. Let the experts manage the energy for the evening.  Just go kill it on the dance floor.  When you dance, your guests dance.

Really, just give some thought about weddings that you've attended and really enjoyed - and make sure that you incorporate these elements into your big day.