It is pretty much carved into stone that the wedding day is all about the bride and that it is her big day.
Some brides have been dreaming about and scrap-booking wedding ideas from an early age.
Whereas some throw together an entire wedding plan in just a few months and then some just want to keep things quiet.
In an age where it seems your wedding has to be bigger, longer and grander it is vital for brides (and grooms) to not lose site of the importance of your guests and consider their experience on the day.
Your guests will be happy as long as the day finishes with you married to your dearly beloved but it was T.S.Eliot who said
“It is the journey, not the destination, that matters.”
This guide should help you give your guests a comfortable, relaxing, fun, enjoyable and awesome journey resulting in them absolutely loving your big day!
1. Where and when at your Wedding!
It is becoming more common nowadays but make sure you tell your guests exactly what the plan is for the day.
This is easily achieved with a blackboard (or ideally two in different places) with the planned timings for the various parts of the day.
As a side note to this – if you’re getting married at a large or “labyrinth-esque” venue then make sure you also tell there guests WHERE they have to be too.
There’s not much more annoying than not knowing where and when you’re supposed to be somewhere and it’s such an easy way to improve your guests experience.
(NOTE – Also if you’re getting married somewhere fairly remote then weddings signs with your names on along the road on the way is a nice way to let people know they’re actually heading in the right direction)
2. Book Afternoon Entertainment!
Your timetable is different to your wedding guests – show your guests that you’ve thought of them.
Well it’s not completely different but it is different enough to warrant a mention.
When couples speak to me about wedding entertainment they will typically tell me they’ve got a band or a DJ for the evening – let’s say they kick off at 8pm, that means that your guests will have waited around for up to 6-7 hours before any entertainment starts – afternoon entertainment serves a massive purpose on the day in terms of guest experience
Let’s look at your wedding timetable to show you what I’m on about.
You’re all going to be there at the ceremony and after that you and your partner will, traditionally, be going off to have photos taken – your guests won’t be.
Your guests will typically stood around sipping a glass of champagne/prosecco, eating a few canapes and making small talk…….for up to 2 hours, occasionally longer, potentially feeling a little bored and possibly even feeling undervalued having made the effort to dress up and look their best, travel to your wedding, maybe paid for accommodation too.
You’re all together again for the Wedding Breakfast, you are sat directly with family (normally) and your guests are sat with people they hopefully know, possibly in need of an ice-breaker to get the conversation started.
After the wedding breakfast there is again typically up to 2 hours before the evening reception kicks off, perhaps you and your partner are having more photos taken, perhaps you’re heading off for some alone time away from the franticness of the day.
Your guests are again stood around waiting for the next part of the day to start and typically head to the bar.
These natural lulls that occur are more-or-less unavoidable but it is what you do for your guests in these lulls which make the difference between your guests liking your wedding and absolutely raving about it.
3. This is a big one, on your wedding day – DON’T BE BRIDEZILLA!
So you’ve got your schedule set out for the day, this includes having photos on the lawn outside of the beautiful castle you’ve always wanted to get married in, it’s the middle of the summer and out of nowhere the heavens open and there’s no possible way for the photos to take place.
Time to throw a strop and a hissy fit, right? WRONG!
Is the day ruined? No.
Is anything going to improve by being annoyed? No.
Are you risking the enjoyment of the day for you and others by acting up? Yes.
We’ve all at some point in our lives been in a room or at an event where we know someone is in a really bad mood, you feel it in the air, the ambience of the room disappears, the tension is almost palpable – does that sound like an enjoyable space for your guests to be in?
“But it’s my wedding day?” – I hear you cry, why yes it is and you’re incredibly fortunate to have it – this brings me to one of my all time favourite quotes from the Stoic philosopher Epicurus
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; what you now have was once among that which you desired.”
What does this mean? It means be grateful that you’ve even got a wedding day, be grateful that everyone who came to your wedding came, be grateful for everything that you have because everything you have was once something that you hoped for and to spoil those things by desiring just one more thing whether it be the rain not falling or a drink getting spilt or anything else is ludicrous.
You can only concern yourself with those things which you have control over.
Hopefully absolutely nothing will go wrong on your special day but remembering what you can and can’t control and keeping things together if anything doesn’t go perfectly will go miles towards ensuring your guests have an unforgettable time at your wedding for the right reasons.
For much more on this this please check out this blog
6. Give them something unforgettable!
When was the last time you left a party raving about how good your chicken meal was, how well the ceiling was decorated or what colour the tablecloths were?
If the answer isn’t “never” then I’d be surprised.
Give your guests experiences that will be truly memorable from your big day, this can be a whole host of different things, cool and different entertainment, a choreographed first dance by you and your partner, find an exciting and different way of making your entrance, have a confetti drop at your first dance, cut your cake with a massive sword (you really can do that at some places)