Article written by Kim Forrest
Your guests are all going to tell you that they had a fantastic, amazing time at your wedding – and for the most part, that’s the truth. However, there are some things that can occur that will be mildly annoying to your nearest and dearest. You probably won’t hear about these issues, but they will affect your guests’ memory of your day. Fortunately, these are mostly things that you can plan for in advance. Here’s a list of 10 wedding missteps that will bug your guests.
Conflict with a big event
Do your research before setting a date, and make sure that there are no conflicts on your potential wedding day. From the Super Bowl to the Academy Awards, there are several must-see events that at least some of your guests will have an interest in watching live. While obviously the wedding of a loved one should take priority over these events, there will likely be some grumbling over the inopportune timing.
Avoid long gaps in time between your ceremony and reception, unless you have a plan on how to fill the time (we love the idea of giving your guests a trolley tour of your wedding city!). Guests are likely to be confused as to what to do, and may be cranky and low-energy by the time the reception rolls around. Or, even worse, they may resort to pre-reception drinking and arrive to the reception having overindulged.
Dinner served too late
Even if you had lots of tasty treats during cocktail hour, your guests will still want their main meal served in a timely fashion. The first course should be served no more than 30 to 45 minutes after the start of the reception, followed closely by the main course. Make sure that you are on the same page with your caterer and venue before the big day.
Long lines for the restroom or bar
Be sure that your venue has adequate facilities to accommodate your guests, who would rather not spend their evenings waiting in line. Make sure that the restroom areas are clearly marked and there are enough bartenders to keep service speedy – one bartender per 50 or 60 guests is recommended.
Too many slow (or fast) songs
Of course, you’ll want to play a lot of upbeat music – it’s a celebration, after all! But playing a few carefully-chosen slower songs will provide a much-needed breather for your guests, and allow for older guests who might not be into the wild dancing to take a spin across the floor.
Speeches that are too long (or numerous)
Toasts should be kept to a minimum, both in terms of number of speakers and length (two to three minutes each, please). Your guests will enjoy hearing from two or three VIPs, but any more may begin to feel tedious and everyone will start to lose interest (it’s not fun for the speaker either). Schedule the majority of your toasts for the rehearsal dinner, rather than the reception.
Confusing table assignments (or none at all)
Your guests should be able to clearly figure out where they are sitting at the reception – and it’s a good idea to assign tables so that people aren’t awkwardly walking around, figuring out where to sit (so middle school cafeteria!). Use escort cards or a clearly written and prominently displayed seating chart so everyone knows where to go.
Not enough food
You do not want a group of hangry guests, do you? Make sure that your caterer has an accurate guest count, and will provide enough food to accommodate them – plus a little extra. Hosting a plated dinner and asking your guests to place their order on their RSVP card will ensure that everyone is served exactly what they asked for. Plentiful buffets will also allow guests to take as much as they’d like.
Forcing an outdoor wedding
Yes, we know you’ve always dreamed of having an outdoor wedding – but if the weather conditions don’t allow it, consider your guests’ comfort and go with the Plan B. Obviously if it’s pouring rain or there’s thunder and lightning, the decision is clear, but also think about if it’s way too hot or cold. While there are things you can do to make a less-than-ideal temperature a bit more comfortable (cold drinks, outdoor heaters, etc.), if you’re dealing with extreme hot or cold, you’ll probably want to move things indoors if possible.
Newlyweds who don’t say “hi”
You don’t have to say hello to every single guest (especially if you’re having a big wedding), but you should at least make an effort to go table to table and greet as many people as you can. While it’s important that you spend time with your new spouse, your guests have traveled (some long distances) to celebrate with you, and it’s a nice gesture to thank them for attending, even if it’s brief.