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…
An inconvenient date.
Before you choose a date close to a holiday 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.
No Table 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 tables, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Limit sunset photos to 15-20 minutes while guests are eating dinner. The fact is, if the couple is not even there for a long period of time, guests often take that as an opportunity to leave.
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.
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?
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. Consider an outdoor draped entrance that you can "hide" behind before you are revealed at your big moment or not having your entire family walk down the aisle...just your wedding party.
Long Drawn Out Cocktail Hour or Reception.
Those cocktail hours that feel like they should be renamed Cocktail HOURS because the couple didn't do their family photos earlier in the day or the reception that seems to become an all-nighter because reception events are all so far apart. These will kill the vibe really quick and you will lose guests, early! Consider doing a first look with your fiancé so you can knock out your romantic photos and formal family photos earlier in the day, so you can join your guests much sooner for your reception. Also plan your reception events earlier in the night so that guests who don't want to stay until the end don't feel obligated to do so in order to be part of it.
Outdoor Ceremonies/Receptions 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? And have you ever tried to eat a hot meal outside in 30 degree temps? And don't, PLEASE don't book a venue or invite so many people that there isn't enough room for everyone to sit inside sit inside! If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding, 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!
If your venue doesn't have another room or space large enough to accommodate your guests, don't even consider trying to flip your ceremony space into your reception. This just looks bad! Having guests standing around a room while people are scrambling to put up tables, move chairs and decorate. It may sound crude...but it also makes you look cheap, like you didn't want to spend the money on a venue that could accommodate both your ceremony and reception without having to do all that. Ultimately this will cost you more money because you are going to have to hire people (or pay the venue) to do the flip, pay your vendors to have extra staff to set up in a shorter than normal period of time, pay your florist to stay to place centerpieces and pay your decorator to stay and set up your décor. Don't assume that this is something your wedding planner will do because that is almost never going to be the case!
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 waste 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, batteries and expired coupons.
Yes, we know! You and your sweetie have a list of your favorite songs on your Spotify playlist that you want the DJ to play all night. That's great, for you...but what about your guests? If you have an off-beat music taste, that may not be conducive to a celebratory vibe that will get your guests having fun on the dance floor. Take advantage of your DJ's experience and let them have a little freedom with the playlist for the night. You can still have your special songs for those key moments like your first dance but your DJ has likely worked about 100 weddings and knows how to read the crowd and adjust the music accordingly. Tell them the kinds of music you DON'T want played, like songs with curse words or generally inappropriate language.
Overly Intoxicated Guests/Wedding Party
We all have that one friend or two (or ten!) that can't seem to hold their liquor. The guy that is becoming belligerent or the bridesmaid who is in dry humping the dance floor with her dress hiked up for all the world to see! Eeeek! All the while, your families and boss are sitting there in shock saying..."These are their friends?!" Keep this from becoming a problem by limiting the amount of alcohol served at your wedding. Your goal should be for everyone to have a good time, not to get plastered. Save that for an after party at a bar or club.