Wedding Touches Your Guests Will Love-And Hate-You For
If you’re planning a wedding, the mere title of this post may upset you. You’re probably thinking, “I’m over here, spending my life saving’s and then some, working around the clock talking to vendors early in the morning, on my lunch break and late at night and my guests feel like they could use a little help enjoying my wedding?” Well, yes. They do. Regardless of how expensive, laborsome and time-consuming this wedding is for you, that does not eliminate the fact that it is still, on a smaller scale, all of those things for your guests. Don’t get us wrong—they’re excited to celebrate your big day and they will have a blast. But just as you have asked them (for the last eight months of wedding planning) to empathize with you, they’ll love it if you could put yourself in their shoes, and choose some elements of the big day carefully, with them in mind. Here are wedding touches your guests will love you for…and hate you for.
Love: Complimentary shuttle service
Between rehearsals, rehearsal dinners, activities you’ve planned during downtime for those not included in the rehearsal and the actual wedding day itself, people need to move between their hotel and other locations a lot. They could end up spending another $100 each just on taxis and Ubers. Your guests will love you for setting up a complimentary shuttle that will take them from their hotel to the planned events. You only need to offer one pick-up time and those who don’t make it, can take a cab. But it will be greatly appreciated.
Hate: a no-shot rule
If you’re going to have an open bar at your wedding (p.s. please have an open bar at your wedding) don’t mandate that the bartender cannot pour the guests shots. Your wedding day is a celebration! People like to take shots during celebrations! And when your guests are told certain items are off-limits at the bar, it can feel like you are enforcing rules like a parent on them.
Love: Dancing flip-flops
You want your guests to all to wear gorgeous, formal footwear, but you also want them to dance, right? So meet them halfway and have a basket of complimentary flip-flops by the dance floor. If you order them in bulk online, you can wind up getting a hundred pairs for just a few dollars per pair. They’ll also serve as a little souvenir from your wedding that your guests can take home.
Hate: A rushed reception
However you need to make it happen within your budget and the schedule, make sure you have the reception room for at least four hours. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being rushed from one room to another like cattle on what’s meant to be a momentous day. Four hours is the right amount of time for people to dilly dally in getting to their seats, take a long time to eat because they are talking and drinking, allow people to give toasts at their leisure, and get in some good dancing time.
Love: Advil and Gatorade in the room
If you are going to send welcome bags to your guests’ hotel rooms, these items will be much-appreciated: Gatorade, Advil, peptobismol, bandaids (for dancing blisters) and condoms. Hey—you never know who in your wedding party will hit it off.
Hate: a lengthy ceremony
Look. We understand. Everybody wants to do a reading at your ceremony. And you’ve selected a minister who means a lot to you, so you want to give him a chance to stretch his legs with what he has written. But to put it simply, people stop enjoying themselves after about 45 minutes. We are doing you a favor by telling you! So keep the ceremony short, and allocate some of that precious paid-for time to the fun part—the reception!
Love: A child-free wedding
Many guests will greatly appreciate a child-free wedding. Parents with kids may enjoy the chance to take a short break from parenting and have an adult event, where nobody is drawing on the tablecloths or climbing around on the floor. Everyone will appreciate that a baby doesn’t scream and interrupt the heartfelt toast the father of the bride tediously prepared. You can also prevent a few spills, and get back more of your cleaning deposit.
Hate: A child-free wedding
There are two sides to the child-free wedding coin. You also have guests who will think, “I’m already spending a ton of money on the plane ticket, hotel room, and gift, and now I need to pay for a babysitter the whole time I’m away?” A nice compromise could be allowing children at the other events (rehearsal dinner etc.) and arranging for on-site childcare during the actual wedding. This allows parents who are traveling for your wedding to bring their children but still leave the kids with a babysitter during the big day.
Love: Travel coordination
If there isn’t a train or bus station, or airport, anywhere near your wedding destination, you probably have a lot of guests trying to figure out how to get there without breaking the bank. Renting a car at the far-away airport could cost them a fortune. Sit down, take a look at your guest list and determine who is traveling into which airport, on which day. Put guests in touch who could benefit from splitting the cost of a rental car. Or, again, have a complimentary shuttle pick people up at the airport. Just a couple of pick-up times will be greatly appreciated—people would probably rather wait an hour at the airport for the shuttle than pay $250 for a rental car.
Hate: A pushy/over-choreographed photographer
Give your photographer instructions to keep it loose and capture plenty of candids. When your guests are enjoying themselves, they don’t want a photographer showing up, asking them to rearrange their seating, stop eating and smile for 12 photographs.
Love: A photo booth
A photo booth is fun for you and your guests. Most people today don’t take the time to print out photos—they’ll have thousands of photos sitting in their phones that they’ve been meaning to print for years. A photo booth finally gives them some physical prints, along with a souvenir from your wedding. Furthermore, most guests leave some photo strips behind, leaving you with some goofy, endearing memories of your big day.
Hate: a no song requests rule
Your friends are going to want to request songs—it lets them feel like they’re a part of everything. They probably have nostalgic songs from past trips you’ve taken together, birthdays, college days and so on. We understand that you have your carefully curated playlist for the band or DJ, but don’t give them a no-requests rule. Hey, most of your friends will be too busy to request a song, so they probably won’t take over the playlist.
Love: An agenda, with all info, in their rooms
We understand that you put all of that information on the website. And we understand that you’ve had multiple conversations with your guests about the agenda. But come your wedding weekend, people will have been traveling. They’ll be exhausted and may forget information. Their phones could be dead or not get service. The Wi-Fi in the hotel could be having problems so they can’t access the website. Adding a simple, physical card with the times and locations of each event to their welcome bag will ensure everybody gets to where they need to go.
Hate: Hard request for monetary gifts
Can you welcome monetary gifts? Of course. Can you require them? Sure, but your guests will hate you for it. Many guests cannot afford to give you a lot of money for your wedding. But, if they’re allowed to give you a gift, who knows? Maybe they know a guy who can hook them up with a deal on beautiful China or crystal. But only accepting money is a bit tacky because it requires your guests to reveal how much they spend on you.
Love: Budget registry options
If you’re going the registry route, your guests will appreciate one high-end option and one budget option. For example, you could register at Williams-Sonoma, as well as Bed Bath & Beyond. Only registering at a pricey place forces some guests to buy the cheapest item on your registry, which they don’t want to do.