While you’ve planned for the drinks to be flowing and the music to be bumping all night long, there are a few other key components to hosting a wedding that’s anything but boring. Check out some of our favorite ways to deliver a great guest experience without breaking the bank.
Make introductions before the wedding
A wedding brings two sets of families and two sets of friends, and the result can be lots of small talk and other awkward attempts at socializing during the reception. Our advice is to be a great connector at events leading up to the wedding, such as the bridal shower, engagement party, family brunch, or at the rehearsal dinner. Your guests will feel immediately at ease if they recognize a large handful of people who they’d be otherwise meeting for the first time, making for a more relaxed and fun atmosphere at your wedding.
Stick to your wedding timeline
As some of our readers know, we help our clients create a timeline for their wedding day that will help set expectations for when certain events will happen. Of course nobody expects things to run to the second, but adhering to your timeline will ensure guests aren’t idly waiting for things to start, checking their phones every two minutes. Cocktail hour is a great opportunity to help guests entertain themselves while you are taking your formal wedding portraits. Make sure there are lots of tasty treats, shade or if held indoors or at night, the right ambient lighting, and places to grab a quick seat to keep the atmosphere positively charged.
Keep guests satiated
It can be tempting to skip serving hors d’oeuvres to save a few bucks if you plan on serving a full dinner at your reception, but in our experience, it’s a good idea to have a few yummy bites for your guests to nosh on while they await your grand entrance as newly weds. Plus, giving them a few nibbles now will ensure that they patiently listen through some of the wedding toasts that may begin before food arrives at each seat.
Have options available for transportation home
Communicate with your guest what the options are for getting home safely for those who opt to dance and drink the night away. Not only will this give you peace of mind for everyone’s safe journey home, but it will give guests the freedom to linger a little longer on the dance floor and let their hair down without worrying about their exit strategy.
Be strategic about your seating chart
We’ve all been there - the one person or couple at a table where you know no one. This is a big bummer when the energy falls flat at your table, or worse, when you see all of your friends at a neighboring table. Creating a well thought out seating chart will help naturally elevate the energy of the evening, and it’s free! If you’re finding that you have one or two couples left out of a table of eight or ten, why not opt to mix up the sizes of the tables for your reception? Farm tables or feasting style tables can seat significantly more than traditional round tables, and you can even mix and match these if your venue will allow for this. This will give you the ability to size up or size down based off of that friends or family group.
Limit the toasts
There is a fine line between a perfectly timed sentimental toast and one that seems to continue into the next week. Our advice is to keep the toasts to parents, the maid of honor, and best man. You can loosely suggest that they keep their speeches within a few minutes, (they will be relieved), and let everyone else get back to the party. It’s also a good idea to time the toasts so that guests are already seated with their meals and aren’t fighting through grumbling tummies while the last person is wrapping up.
The most important aspect of throwing a wedding is to truly enjoy the day yourselves! Don't stress over little mishaps, (in our experience wedding planning, a perfect wedding day doesn’t exist). Get out on the dance floor, and have fun! When the guests see the bride(s) and groom(s) spectacularly enjoying themselves, it will elevate the evening’s energy.
Sip and Twirl is a passionate, (and might we add fun!), group of wedding planners. We are located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Whether you have just started envisioning your dream wedding day, or are in the thick of planning, we'd love to hear from you! We plan for both small and large scale weddings, and genuinely love what we do. Reach out to us at (480) 648-0663 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.