When you are playing host to the biggest party that you will probably ever throw…

…it is not only vital that you and your partner have the time of your lives on your wedding day, but it is also important that your guests enjoy themselves too! Sure, when it comes down to it, your wedding day is ultimately about honouring the love between you and your life partner, but it is also an opportunity to celebrate that love with your closest family and friends (read: have one epic party!). With your guests’ experience in mind, we have put together some tips on how to leave them saying “that was the best wedding EVER!”
When you think back to your childhood and your days as a student in school, there was nothing worse than listening to a teacher drone on and on and on for what seemed like an eternity! If you are not careful, elements of your wedding day could have a similar effect on your guests. To avoid turning a sentimental moment into a painful one, it is important that your wedding day as a whole “flows.” We are certainly not suggesting that you need to rush through it (quite the opposite in fact!), but it is a good idea to keep things moving along at a reasonable pace, so that your guests’ attention will be on you and your partner throughout. Ways that you can ensure a good flow to your day would be to try to keep your ceremony and any breaks as brief as possible. A good rule of thumb is to try to aim for your ceremony to be about 20 minutes in length (excluding the processional and recessional) and to keep any breaks (such as if you are planning to do your photos in between your ceremony and cocktail hour) to about an hour and half, if at all possible.
This is a tip that you have likely heard before and it really and truly just comes down to good etiquette (or so Martha would say!). It makes no difference whether your guests have traveled a great distance to be with you on your wedding day or not, it is imperative that you take the time to greet each and every one of them. You may decide to divide and conquer during your cocktail hour, visit guests’ tables during dinner breaks, or kick up your heels with your guests on the dance floor, but no matter how you do it, it is so important for you to let them know how much their presence means to you on your special day. A little thank you always goes a long way!
Speaking of showing your gratitude to your guests, it is also a good idea to put in a little extra effort for those who have traveled from afar to be with you on your wedding day. If it’s within your wedding budget, an always appreciated gesture would be to create a welcome bag or basket to greet your guests when they arrive at their hotels. Fun items to consider including would be some snacks (bonus points if they happen to be local or personal favourites), some bottled water, a list of local amenities (such as some restaurant recommendations and where the nearest Starbucks and drugstore are located), and perhaps even a bottle of wine. Alternatively, another more budget-friendly idea would be to request that some nearby hotels set aside a block of rooms for your wedding guests. This will ensure that your guests have no trouble securing accommodation for your wedding weekend and they may also benefit from a discounted rate!
Creating a seating plan is often one of the most dreaded tasks during the planning process – organizing two sides worth of family and friends into tables of six or eight can be quite the headache to say the least! As much as you just want your seating plan to be finalized, so that you can move on to bigger and better things, it is important to take special care when choosing who sits where and with who. Grouping guests based on similar interests and backgrounds is a great way to ensure that your guests feel comfortable and that dinner conversation flows freely.
No matter what time of year you plan to say “I do,” it is important to keep in mind what your guests may need to stay comfortable throughout the day and into the evening. You can make sure your guests’ needs are met by offering up small items such as sun hats and fans for a summer wedding ceremony, wraps to pass around when the temperatures dip, or flip flops (otherwise known as “dancing shoes”) for when guests are ready to kick off their heels and kick up their feet on the dance floor! Generally inexpensive, these small details can have a major impact on your guests’ overall enjoyment on your day.
We had so many great tips to share with you this week, we have decided to split this post into two! Stay tuned for next week’s post where we will continue sharing our tips for how you can make sure your guests say, “that was the best wedding I have ever been to!”
In the meantime, we want to hear from YOU!
Using the comments section below or by tagging us on Instagram @thedesigncoottawa using #thedesigncoblog let us know what you plan to do to make sure your guests have the best time ever at your wedding!
Stacey & Erin