You’ve planned your perfect day, picked the show-stopping dress, and chosen the flowers, the food, and the music. You know YOU’RE going to have a great time, but what about your guests? Try adding in one of these elements to your big day to ensure your friends and family take as many happy memories away from your wedding as you do…
1 Two words: free. bar.
This one’s kind of obvious, but nothing gets the party going like a welcome Champagne, a before-dinner beer or a signature cocktail or three. Obviously your generosity will have limits (of the bar tab variety) but ensure all your day guests never have a dry glass and the dance floor should be full all night. If you’re able to provide your own drinks, stock up on affordable wine so that your guests can have a glass with every course, and think about making up signature wedding cocktails that can be served from glass dispensers after dinner and before the dancing starts.
2 Playlist is key
Having said that, it doesn’t matter how drunk you get your guests, if the music is terrible the dance floor will be a sad and lonely place. If you’re hiring a band make sure they have an arsenal of decent covers in their back catalogue, because while their original material is probably marvellous, your wedding is not the place for a showcase. If you can, put together the playlist yourself and ask your guests for contributions, that way as many of them as possible will get up for a dance.
3 Photo ops
Guests love a photo opportunity, so think about getting a photobooth installed (if budget allows) and that way friends can take a snap away and you can print them all off for your album. And go heavy on the props. People love fancy dress (well, some people) so provide plenty of hats, which will inevitably end up on the dance floor and add extra colour to your evening photos. When you’re setting up your wedding space think about where people might like to take photos. Vowed & Amazed rent giant light up signs which make for popular photo spots, while chalk board signs are cheap to make and look great in wedding snaps.
4 Lawn games
If you’re having a lunch time ceremony, the chances are you’ll have some down-time between the vows, the dinner and the dancing. Make sure that your guests don’t have to hang around unentertained by providing some games. Think giant jenga, coconut shy, croquet or quoits to keep kids and adults alike entertained.
5 Bouncy castle
Not for everyone, but a pretty bouncy castle will go down well with some of your guests. Fact.
6 What’s the hashtag?
Let your guests play wedding photographer by having an Instagram hashtag for your big day. Friends and family will love it when you post their photo the next day, and it’s a great way for everyone to share their highlights during the day and in the week that follows.
Nothing will make you more popular than providing flip-flops for the high heel wearers. Combine your free-flowing booze, your mega-awesome playlist and the flat shoes and you’ll have a dance floor filled with super-happy guests.
8 Snacking stations
Nobody likes a hangry wedding guest. Whether you’re having a formal sit-down meal or a buffet, have a few snacking stations around the wedding venue that people can fill up on whenever they want. Pick ‘n’ mix, crisps and nuts might not sound like the most glamorous snacks, but they’ll be the most popular calling points; and you can make them look pretty in glass jars with silver scoops.
9 Seating plan
Your creative seating plan that splits couples up, mixes all the singles together and helps people get to know each other is great. But ultimately people want to sit with their pals. Sorry.
10 Photo time
Everyone gets it; you need an hour or so after the ‘I dos’ to take some gorgeous #GLAMWedding snaps. But make sure people aren’t left hanging around with nothing to do (and nothing to drink) in this time. Consider some entertainment or games, supply plenty of drinks, and make sure there is seating available.
11 Evening food
A decent end-of-night-type snack will go down so well with your friends and family. Consider a food truck style evening meal if budget allows, like a hog roast or pie van. Trays of bacon sandwiches and cheese on toast will go down better than canapés at this stage of proceedings.
12 Speech timings
Be strict with those giving the speeches. Yes, the best man’s speech will probably be crap, but better 10 minutes of crap than 35.
13 Sparklers and glow sticks for the evening
Because things that light up are really fun after a Champagne or three.