Your guests have probably gone to many weddings before yours, so how do you ensure that you give them a memorable experience?
You're probably heard this before, but I will say it again. It's all about the experience!
Well, you may be thinking, how do I create a one-of-a-kind experience for my guests?
By being a thoughtful, gracious host/hostess!
To start, think about your experience at a guest at someone else's wedding or party. What impressed you, and what turned you off? The simple, little things MATTER! Here are five tips to making your guests feel great at your wedding:
1. Arrange for your guests to be GREETED by a live person, whether it is a catering staff with a tray of passed drinks, a family member, or an usher.
Pet Peeve: Arriving at a venue feeling unwelcome and confused, unsure if I am even at the right place.
2. If you are having an open bar, make sure it's fully hosted and that there are enough bartenders working at the bar. If you don't have the budget, you may want to consider doing a few passed drinks only.
Pet Peeve: Being asked to pay for my own drinks, or waiting in a long line at the bar.
3. Do your very best to start your ceremony on time.
Pet Peeve: Making a conscious effort to arrive to a wedding early or on time, and end up waiting for a long time. Note: Do not have a 'false' wedding start time on your invitation, unless you have very special reasons for doing so.
4. Make sure there is enough staffing at all times to direct guests to all the different parts of the party. Always be one step ahead of the guests to take care of their needs before they ask.
Pet Peeve: Being confused amongst all the other guests after the ceremony, not sure what is happening or where we should be going. Note: Guests need to be TOLD what to do at all times. Otherwise they just stay put.
5. Express your gratitude and appreciation at the wedding. Make the effort to go around and say hello or thank each of your guest. If there is no time to do that, at least make a short thank you speech during the reception or after your cake cutting.
Pet Peeve: Attending a wedding and never got to say hello or hug the bride and groom; feeling as if my attendance didn't really matter.
Ofcourse, ultimately the wedding is all about you as the bride and the groom, but if you want your guests to leave happy (making it worthy for all the money you've spent on the wedding!) then you must be considerate of their needs as well.
A little detail goes a long way in helping guests remember your wedding. For a recent wedding we named each table after a flower, and had the family's mural artist use watercolor to paint the actual flower on the table name card. It added a very personal touch to the dinner tables, making guests feel special.
Another fabulous idea for the same wedding was having a Quilt Sign In Table instead of a traditional guest book. The fabulous Nancy Liu Chin provided different heights of Apothecary jars filled with spools of ribbons and thread. We had quilt patches and special pens ready for guests to write their well wishes on. The signage told guests that the patches would be made into one beautiful quilt by the groom's mother, and the family's mural artist again did her magic by drawing the quilt out!
For Katie and Eric's wedding last September, we created cute little cheese baskets placed on top of each guest's place setting. It made quite an impression on everyone.....much more creative and personal than having the traditional cheese platter displayed on a table!
Top photo by Kevin Chin www.kevinchin.com
Bottom photo of cheese basket by Angie Silvy www.angiesilvy.com