You want your wedding to be special for everyone in attendance. You know you want a space, decorations, and vendors that can capture and evoke your love story throughout the day. In wedding planning, it’s sometimes easy to let more practical considerations go to the wayside, but nailing down these details helps facilitate the experience you actually want your guests to have.
These tips give you an inside look at what guests secretly want at weddings to help you plan a day everyone will enjoy.
1. A short ceremony and cocktail hour.
Guests don’t expect you to hurry through your vows or rush over from ceremony to the reception. They know that the time after a ceremony is valuable for getting pictures, visiting with your family, and cherishing your first moments as a married couple. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t excited for the rest of the celebration.
If you know you want a particularly time intensive set of shots with your photographer, consider taking first look photos before your ceremony. Many photographers actually prefer this, as it allows them to be more meticulous with getting light, framing, background, and positioning picture perfect.
If a long cocktail hour or ceremony can’t be avoided, be courteous with your choices. Provide heavier hors d’oeuvres and think about entertainment options. Yard games like corn hole and special guest book displays give guests something to fixate on rather than the bar. Filling bites and hors d’oeuvres before the meal are not only a good safety measure, but also help fill the time.
2. A chance to get a picture with you.
There’s nothing worse than having your perfect ceremony shot ruined by someone’s phone stuck out in the aisle. If you prefer to opt for an unplugged ceremony, understand that guests are still excited to share photos from your day.
Be firm with keeping your unplugged ceremony, but be relaxed about taking photos with guests at your reception. If you still want guests to be more present than connected to their screens, distribute Polaroid cameras around the reception space. Not only will guests still get their memento with you, but they’ll share in an extra element of nostalgia.
3. Options for alternative diets and allergies.
Even the most meticulous bride can’t keep up with every guest’s dining preferences, and they shouldn’t have to! But if you do plan to provide options for vegetarians or those with gluten, dairy, or other allergies, be smart with your choices.
Go ahead and make your vegetarian option(s) vegan. People that are egg and dairy-free will now be able to enjoy the same dish. With most vegetable-based dishes, it’s also easy to find something satisfying that doesn’t use gluten either. This way you can accommodate multiple dietary restrictions in a single offering, anticipating minor changes at most. Try your best to offer something other than just salad to keep your guests’ appetites at bay, especially if you’re serving alcohol.
4. Communication about bar status.
Speaking of the bar, having an open bar at your reception is on the wishlist of many guests. It’s not mandatory, however. Many couples want their wedding to reflect their own lifestyles, which may or may not include alcohol.
If you opt for a dry wedding or a cash bar, it’s common courtesy to clearly communicate that to guests. so that they can prepare accordingly.
5. Weather-proof and accessible venues.
Outdoor June and July weddings are picturesque, but you may want to make special considerations for summer temperatures. The same goes for winter weddings. The right venue and modifications will ensure that guests aren’t baking in the sun or shivering in the cold while you’re trying to say your vows.
Also, consider your venue space’s walkability. For outdoor venues, rain or inclement weather can make gravel, grass, and dirt pathways difficult to maneuver for anyone, but especially for older guests and those with limited mobility.
It’s best to find a venue that can accommodate guests with accessible and easily maneuverable walkways in different weather conditions. If you can’t find one that suits your needs perfectly and your wedding is outdoors, consider renting heaters, fans, or tents for shade and protection from rain. Also consider renting transportation, like golf carts, to help transport guests to and from far off parking lots or through muddy areas.
Planning a wedding can introduce a tricky balance of staying true to what you envision, while also being respectful of those involved in the process. It is you and your partner’s day, and your guests are there to celebrate–not complain or criticize. Nevertheless, details that are courteous of the loved ones taking time to celebrate with you will not go unnoticed.
For more information on planning details or to take a look at one of Seabrook’s own South Carolina wedding venues, feel free to contact our team of wedding professionals.