10 Things Your Wedding Guests Will Hate
Ok, maybe hate is a strong word...maybe strongly dislike is better?
Ultimately, yes, the day is about you and your honey getting married. But if you’re including guests in your celebration, you will also want to consider things that will make their experience memorable. So if you want to be gracious hosts for your wedding guests, you may want to steer clear of the following faux pas, in no particular order…
1. An inconvenient date.
Before you choose a holiday weekend or a day in the middle of the week, double check with those that are most definitely mandatory to attend. Nothing is worse for a guest than having to take extra days off work, or having to miss their favorite holiday traditions to make your wedding. Also keep in mind local area event calendars, you wouldn’t want it to be impossible for your guests to get a hotel room or complicate your wedding by adding extra local event hustle and bustle to everyone’s schedules.
2. No Seating Assignments.
Groups are like sheep. They need direction. Your planner will definitely help provide day-of herding, but it will make everyone’s experience more enjoyable if you direct them where to go. Nothing is worse than all your guests standing at your reception entrance with a blank stares and nowhere to go. By creating the (sometime dreaded, and yes, semi-complicated) seating chart, you’ll 1) save on the number of tables you’ll need to have (If you are having unassigned seats, you should increase your number of seats by 15%, as people will inherently sit with the people they know and will not fill up some of the tables) and 2) give your guests some direction and provide them with a little fun while seeking out their designated seat. Remember to make sure there aren’t too many people per table… you want to prevent elbow knocking and uncomfortable closeness between your guests.
3. Bad food and/or not enough food.
One of the things that most guests remember the most from a wedding- the food. And remember that one bad food experience you had that just made the evening awful? We’ve all had one. Make sure you taste the food you are planning on serving- simple enough. And when you’re working with your caterer, please, oh please trust them when developing your menu by considering options that hold up well in chaffing dishes, or need to be served on time if you chose a plated option. Caterers know what they’re talking about based on experience and it’s a simple fact that some foods just don’t hold up well in banquet situations. The second part of this equation, is to make sure that there will be enough food to sufficiently feed your guests. No one wants waste, and that includes your caterer, so listening to their suggestion on the quantity to order would probably be your safest bet.
4. Cash Bars.
Yes, open bars are expensive. So if you’re working with a limited budget, it’s completely ok to sponsor just beer and wine, or a specialty drink and offer the rest of the bar on a cash basis. This is what many do to manage costs, and it still gave their guests a way to enjoy a beverage without exponentially increasing the budget. You could also set a dollar amount on an open bar and switch to cash after reaching that limit if you don’t want to limit your guests choices. But requiring your guests to have to pull out their wallet is just a party hosting foul.
5. Never-ending toasts and/or photo montages.
Avoid them. We have worked many weddings that have had the most long winded- and if we're being frank- boring toasts… which ends up being pretty annoying for your guests. Prevent this from happening to you by telling your toast-makers they’ll have 3 minutes (or however long) to give their toast or have your DJ cue the music when their time is up. I would also strongly caution you from allowing an open mic – you never know what people will say, and how long they’ll take to deliver the message. If there are other important people that would like to offer you a toast, invite them to do so during rehearsal dinner or at your engagement party. Now don’t get us wrong here, photo montages are great. Just not when your guests are required to sit through 20 minutes of you and your sweetie. If your Aunt Mary and future Mother in Law spent time creating one, offer to show it during cocktail hour on loop so your guests can watch it at their leisure and depart when they’ve had enough.
6. Disorganization and Lulls.
Some of the biggest complaints come when there are extended lulls in between events and your guests have to wait for time to pass. We all know you’ll be busy with pictures and other bride and groom duties, but your guests will get incredibly bored, tired, and cranky with nothing to do while they’re waiting for you. This rings true if you have an elongated break of multiple hours between your ceremony and reception. Disorganization equals confusion and disjointed events. Hire a planner. We are specifically experienced with organizing (and managing) big events, it’s our professional career. And chances are that you have not planned a wedding before, so quite simply, you couldn’t possibly know all that is encompassed in executing a wedding.
7. Inconvenient Location.
No one says you shouldn't have the venue of your dreams but the location of your venue to the nearest "metropolitan" area or city and hotels should be a considered factor when choosing your venue. This is even more important when you have a large number of out of town guests. In general, it can be frustrating for your guests to have to drive an hour to your ceremony/reception venue that's in another city or out in the middle of nowhere! Who wants to make that kind of drive late at night or in an area they are unfamiliar with?
8. Really Long Processionals.
Ever been to a wedding where the processional is longer than the actual ceremony or the bridal party is entering from a football field away and it takes 3 songs from the violinist just for them to get there? If you have, you know that is NOT very enjoyable and takes away from the enjoyment of the moment. This most often occurs with outdoor ceremonies where there isn't really a clear or short path to the altar. Consider an outdoor draped entrance that you can "hide" behind before you are revealed at your big moment or alternative locations at your venue for a shorter route down the aisle.
9. Outdoor Ceremonies In Hot or Cold Months.
Living in the wacky weather south, we know HOT & HUMID...and we know FRIGID temps too! If your guests are uncomfortable, they aren't going to enjoy your wedding. Who wants to have wet sweat tracks down the back of their dress or the sounds of teeth chattering drowning out your wedding vows? If you have your heart set on an outdoor ceremony, choose months with the mildest temps. March, April and May are among the most amazing times of year in the south. It's not cold and it's not hot. It's juuuust right! Likewise, early October is extremely pleasant weather wise and the leaves on the trees are beginning to change which makes for stunning scenery! With that said, these are the reasons these months are the most popular wedding months in the south and why you should book your venue and vendors fast!
10. Useless Favors.
A fancy soap might seem like an excellent idea for the beautiful soaping-loving couple, but for most of your guests, it’s the adult equivalent of getting raisins on Halloween. One in 50 will love it; the other 49 will dump them on your lawn. Guests aren't interested in the monogrammed trinkets, cups, sunglasses, key chains, coozies or jars of your grandma's apple butter. Be honest, do you have coasters or candles on your coffee table with your friend Jenny's wedding monogram and wedding date on them? If you said yes, you're one in a million. Guests don't care about favors for the most part. If you want to give favors, make it something that your guests will actually want like a late night snack of cookies/popcorn/donuts in a cute little box...this will give you your favor-fix by adding a monogrammed label to seal the box. Mini bottles of champagne or wine for the after party are also a hit! In short, don't wast valuable wedding budget funds on useless favors that will either be left behind for you to store in the hall closet at home or will just end up in your guests junk drawer behind the assortment of pens and last years unread mail.