Sometimes couples planning a wedding forget the meaning of the word guest. While your wedding is certainly one of the most important days of your life, you still have a responsibility to those you’ve invited to join you for the occasion.
What do wedding guests care about? Simply asking yourself that question is a powerful way to begin the process of really trying to anticipate things that might take even a bit of the shine off your big day for some of your guests.
Here are 10 common wedding guest questions, concerns and complaints along with advice on how to please your guests on your big day and put their minds at ease beforehand.
1. What’s the dress code?
How clear is your dress code? Spare your guests the embarrassment of showing up to your wedding wearing the wrong clothing.
Indicate on the invitation whether the event is upscale or casual. If jeans are appropriate, let people know.
Brides and grooms too often assume that this kind of information will be available to all guests, but they forget about people who are not close to the wedding.
2. Who’s invited?
Literally spell out who is invited on your wedding invitations. If the family is invited, list each one of the children. If single people are allowed to bring a guest, indicate that.
Sometimes people assume that if they are invited to a wedding, their children are invited too.
It’s okay to decide you don’t want children at your wedding, but the invitation should make that clear if it’s important to you. Are your invitations vague or confusing in this regard?
3. Finding their way inside the venue
Don’t assume that once guests reach the venue, they’ll know where various things are inside.
If your wedding venue is large, signs are especially important. Be sure to create signs directing people to the ceremony and clearly stating the location of the restrooms, bar and other areas guests may need to find.
4. The temperature of the venue
Is the wedding venue too hot or cold? Do everything in your power to create a comfortable environment for your guests.
If your wedding is outdoors in the heat of the summer, provide fans and water.
Have blankets and a warm fire in the colder weather. Think twice about a summer venue with no air conditioning. This is especially important to your older guests.
5. A cash bar
You wouldn’t invite your friends to your house and then charge them for drinks. Wedding guests should be no different. If you can’t afford an open bar, offer a signature drink or provide only beer and wine.
If you must have a cash bar, at least let your guests know ahead of time and provide an ATM.
6. Ample seating
Overcrowded venues quickly take the fun out of a wedding reception. Be sure to reserve a space big enough for all of your guests, and arrange to have enough seating for everyone.
It is a mistake to assume that half your guests will be walking around at any given time.
7. Waiting time
You need to provide something for your guests to do for the entire time they are attending your event.
That means that if you are going to take 3 hours for pictures between the ceremony and reception, you need to do something to keep them occupied.
That might consider setting up a room for cocktails and appetizers, making arrangements for tours of a local tourist attraction or even offering horse-drawn carriage rides around the block.
It’s rude to just leave your guests hanging.
8. Guests get hungry
Many wedding complaints concern the food.
Don’t book a caterer without sampling the food available, and make sure you are offering several options for your guests to choose from. Servings should be big enough that people are not leaving the reception hungry.
Guests should also be offered something to eat if there is a delay before dinner is served. No one wants to be left hungry while waiting for a bride and groom to arrive at the reception.
9. Pictures are not allowed
It is understandable that you don’t want your wedding video cluttered with images of people holding up cell phones, but remember the sacrifices that your friends and family made to be with you on your special day. Your relatives want pictures of you at your wedding.
If you can’t handle the thought of them taking pictures during the reception, be sure to provide everyone attending with at least one picture from the ceremony. Do not make them pay the photographer to get pictures of your wedding.
10. Expressions of gratitude
Your guests aren’t your fans, and they aren’t your servants. They took time away from their busy lives to attend your wedding because they care about you, and you should be thankful for that.
It’s imperative that you show that gratitude by thanking everyone for attending.
You don’t have to have a formal reception line, but you should make a point to go around the room and let all of your guests know that their presence was meaningful to you.
As time consuming as thank you notes may be, you must send a thank you note if you accept a present. And it should be signed by hand.
Your wedding is naturally an occasion for you to focus on your love for your spouse-to-be, but don’t forget about the people who are there to support you.
Wedding guests care about one thing above all others, of course-your happiness on your wedding day and the chance to share it with you. Keep your guests’ comfort in mind as you make decisions about your big day, and you will all have wonderful memories of your wedding.
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