From the invitations, to the ceremony, to the reception, each couple tries to make their day as special, memorable and perfect for themselves and their guests. Since guests expect and want certain things when attending a wedding, here are some inside dos and don’ts to ensure everyone enjoys the day.
When sending out your invitations to single individuals, try to include “and guest” with their wedding invite. Just because an adult isn’t married, that doesn’t mean they don’t have someone special they’d like to bring. For more and other ways to reduce your guest list properly read here.
Let there be no surprises to anyone who sees the invitations. Make sure to include all parents of the bride and the groom, regardless of who is paying the bill. If you have step-parents, discuss with them the invitation name arrangements.
Avoid specifying the type of gifts you’re looking for. For example, never demand that you’re only looking for cash gifts. It’s bad etiquette to assume they’ll all be giving gifts, even if it is standard to do so. Instead use online registries and your bridal party to get the word out.
Always include directions to the wedding ceremony as well as to the reception. Relatives and friends come from all over and many may not know your area. Giving them a list of directions and possible hotel locations can make their stay much more organized and enjoyable.
Timing is everything. Your service should run, on average, thirty to forty-five minutes, depending whether you’re having a full mass, synagogue wedding, or simply exchanging your vows. A long ceremony can dull the magic your guests want to feel during the moment you two become husband and wife.
Don’t have a large gap in time between the ceremony and the cocktail hour. For example, if your ceremony is at 3:00 pm and your cocktail hour doesn’t start until 6:00 pm, your guests will have at least two hours to wait in between events. While the bridal party has pictures, the bridal cocktail hour and other obligations, your guests need to be entertained as well. It doesn’t need to include alcohol, but they should be given something nice.
The cocktail hour is not the main event; some hors d’ouevres, drinks and socializing is all that’s necessary in preparation for the reception. Remember, however, that guests will expect alcohol, so if you decide against it to spread that word in advance. If you're looking to nix the mix for budgetary reasons, a cash bar is not the answer: Guests should not be expected to open their wallets at your wedding.
Don’t have an overload of food; give your guests the chance to try a little bit of everything, but you don’t want them so stuffed that they have no room for the main course and, the best part… dessert!
Everyone always dreads the seating arrangements. To keep the peace, try to seat guests with those relatives and friends they get along with. Think about having parents with small children sit with other parents and their children.
Keep the intros of the bridal party short and sweet, so that you have time for food, dancing and events. Make sure you serve dinner no later than 9:00 pm...guests don’t like to eat dinner after 10.
Make sure your table centerpieces are small enough that you can see everyone across, diagonally and next to you at the table. Big centerpieces, although pretty and dramatic, can take away from the personal affect your guests should feel with each other. A small flower arrangement or candle is just enough!
Overpowering music, whether from a DJ or a band, makes it difficult for guests to talk to each other, even when sitting right next to one another. Keep the music pumping, but at a normal level; you don’t want your guests’ ears to ring for days afterwards!
Lastly, never discuss the wedding cost with your guests; this insinuates asking for a bigger gift and guests never want to feel like they were invited just for a financial handout.
Don’t worry about having to think of everything. Think about what you’ve liked (and what you didn’t!) about weddings that you’ve attended, and you’ll make the right decisions.