I know, I know it is YOUR day. But, if I'm being honest (and when am I not honest!?!), your wedding guests come first. This is a little tidbit of wedding planning advice that’s really popular and people say it, but what does it really mean? Today, I’m giving you my five bestest tips for taking care of your wedding guests and making them feel appreciated and special. These are FREE, yes, free things that you can do to show your guests a little love and make them feel amazing.
Yes, you read that right. Making your guests a priority and making them feel special and taken care of is not something that needs to cost a lot of money. I know that’s hard to imagine when you are planning a wedding, it feels like everything costs a lot of money.
Not everything in wedding planning costs money. There are subtle, but impactful, ways to put your guests first. When you do this, everyone wins.
VIDEO: How To Take Care Of Your Wedding Guests
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It’s important to take care of your wedding guests. Often times, they traveled a long way, spent money on a hotel room, maybe airfare, they took time out of their lives and work to be at your wedding. Hopefully, they got your a wedding present. And, if they were invited to your wedding, they are most likely a big or valued part of your life. It's important to make sure they feel important. As the guests of honor, it is also important to honor your wedding guests. (Too cheesy!?)
Here's 5 FREE ways to put your wedding guest first and make them feel appreciated
1. Pre Wedding Prep
Make sure that you talk to them about things other than "the wedding" during the planning phases. Yes, they are excited for you, but sometimes all the wedding talk can be a little much for everyone - even the ones who love you the most.
Make it a priority to take a break from all the wedding talk prior to your wedding. Ask them about their life and what’s going on with them - they will appreciate it.
2. Guest Count
This is an easy one in theory, but tougher in reality. Do not invite more people to your wedding than your venue or location can comfortably hold.
You don’t want to squish your guests in the reception room or make some of them stand during the ceremony. When the room is right-sized for your amount of guests, it makes the dance floor bigger and better when guests are not packed in there. It allows your guests to move around and for the catering staff to move around with ease. Everyone can mix and mingle without feeling like they are in someone else’s way all the time. Nothing is more uncomfortable for a wedding guest than a room that is too full. (Plus the bathroom lines are not too long!)
This one can save you a ton of money BTW, because it helps to naturally cut the guest list, which is a huge wedding money saver. Smaller guest list is less money spent on just about everything - food, drink, invitations - all of it!
This may be tough to pull off for two reasons:
1.) It’s hard to limit that guest list. You want to invite everyone and make it fair with your fiance’s side, I get it. It can be really hard to make choices and only invite certain friends without inviting the whole group of friends, and giving plus ones or inviting kids. The wedding guest list is tough, to say the least. And,
2.) Wedding venues (and you know I love you, venues) aren’t always truthful about the numbers that their spaces can hold comfortably. They are more interested in packing the most amount of people in the space than in your guests’ happiness. They want your business, they want the catering business, they want to get as many bodies in the door as they can. On paper the room may hold a certain number, but in theory it might be more comfortable for everyone at a lower number of guests.
This is where a wedding planner who has worked at your venue before will be really helpful. They will know how the space works and the true guest size that a venue can hold - comfortably.
Give your wedding guests clear directions to and from all events. Give them information about where to park and directions on how to get from the ceremony to the reception. If you are having a bus or transportation provided, give them that information as well.
You can include directions in their welcome bags. You can even email and text - just whatever you do, make sure they have the information.
It seems so small to give your guests clear and helpful directions, but it’s the little things that go a long way in making your guests comfortable and feel appreciated.
Along the lines of directions, you also need to share a timeline of the day’s events with your guests. Again, I know it seems small and not that big of a deal, but your guests will really appreciate knowing how the day is going to unfold and when they need to be where. They don’t want to disappoint you or be late, so let them know exactly when to be at certain events throughout the day and they will love you for it.
Just like the directions, you can give them a timeline in the invitations, but if it isn’t ready by the time your invitations go out, that’s OK. You can include the wedding day’s (or weekend’s) timeline in their welcome bags at the hotel when they arrive. You can also post the information on your wedding website (Check out this post I wrote on how to make your own wedding website.) and send them the information in an email or text.
Few love the reception line at a wedding where the couple stands there and guests walk by to have a second or two to chat with the couple, and, at least, say “hello.” However, love it or hate it, a reception line is a great chance for the couple to greet their guests and to personally say thank you to each of their guests.
If you aren’t going to do a receiving line, there are other ways and opportunities to say “thank you” to your guests such as including them in the toast, including a handwritten note at each seat or in their welcome bags. You can also make it a point to go around to each table during dinner (make sure someone brings you dinner before or saves you some food!) to say “thank you” to everyone.
See? I told you it wasn't that hard! These are all completely free ways to surprise and delight your guests and show them that you care.
When you serve your guests first, that's how you have everyone walking away at the end of the night saying that was the most amazing wedding ever.
To putting our guests first! Happy wedding planning!