When it comes to planning a wedding, there’s no way you’re going to please everyone. You may have already been given unsolicited advice from your family and friends, but in reality, your vision and plans are what matter most. But if you want your guests to have an incredible time at your wedding, you may want to think about the things they love and hate. Not surprisingly, there are things guests hate at weddings and it’s important to pay attention to them.
This feedback is meant to be really practical and helpful, so don’t panic. We still love that couples are doing things their own way, but it’s possible to have a wedding you and your guests all love!
Lots of rules
It’s completely acceptable to have some rules that you feel very strongly about. For example, if you’d really like to have an unplugged wedding ceremony, your guests will need to respect your wishes. Things get tricky when you’ve got too many rules for guests to follow. In getting really strict about a number of things, you lose the fun and spontaneity that guests love so much.
Expert tip: Consider what’s important to you and make it a priority. Then relax about the less important stuff and just go with the flow.
Midweek weddings (with very little notice)
We’re all for midweek weddings – more availability from suppliers and better prices too – so that’s not the issue here. Even though they can sometimes be less convenient than a weekend wedding, midweek weddings are becoming more popular. What guests don’t like is not having much notice.
Expert tip: Give them lots and lots of notice! They will need to take time off work and think about accommodation before it’s all booked up.
Guests do not enjoy being forced to spend a lot of money on accommodation. Things get even trickier if accommodation options are limited or nowhere near public transport.
Expert tip: Give your friends and family as much information as you can. Let them know which accommodation options are near your venue, and choose some at different price points. If there are no hotels near to your venue, then organise transport for groups to get back and forth.
Sure, parking is pretty boring but it’s not to be ignored. For guests driving to your wedding venue, make sure there’s ample parking. In addition, see if there are options nearby where guests could park their cars and walk (only if it’s a short distance) or arrange a bus if the car park is too far from the venue.
Expert tip: Communicate clearly and as early on as you can. Ultimately if guests want to take a taxi, that’s up to them, but at least you’ll know you offered information and options.
No seating plan
Too many rules can be off-putting, but so can no rules. This is especially true of seating! We totally understand why you might be tempted to forgo a seating plan, but in doing so, you’re creating potentially awkward moments of tension with guests not knowing where to sit, or having friends and families split up.
Expert tip: Let guests know which table they’re sitting at and allow them to choose which seat they’d like.
Long gaps of time
There’s a fine line between down time and things getting boring. We highly recommend avoiding long, awkward gaps of time as much as possible. Consider the moments where your timeline revolves around just you (like when you’re getting photos taken) and then think about what your guests will be doing.
Expert tip: Keep them fed and give them something to do (here are some ideas!).
Nobody is expecting you to control the weather – that would be ridiculous! What they are expecting is for you to consider the likelihood of guests getting rained on, sunburnt or totally freezing.
Expert tip: If you’re having an outdoor wedding, consider a tent, air conditioning and SPF (for summer), umbrellas (for the rain) and blankets and heaters (for winter). These thoughtful touches will go a long way!
Not enough toilets
Another boring but important one! Arranging one or two cubicles for hundreds of guests will simply not cut it. This is where guests to go freshen up, catch their breath and do the obvious. So it’s important to make sure they aren’t spending ages standing in long queues to get to the loo.
Expert tip: If your venue doesn’t have enough bathrooms, consider hiring some extras!
We’re talking about the bouquet toss and the awkward singles table. Just because some of your guests aren’t in relationships, doesn’t mean they want to be grouped together or put in the spotlight.
Expert tip: Avoid the bouquet toss or find a creative way to do it so you’re not drawing attention to your single friends. And seat them considerately. Put your single friends with people they know or people they’d get along with.
People don’t need the food to be fancy. It just needs to be plentiful! Make sure you don’t have long periods of time without food, drinks and snacks.
Expert tip: Lay out the plan for the day so guests know when they’ll be eating. And then add in extra snacks and nibbles to get them well fed.
Try not to agonise over this one! Ask your speech-makers to get it short and sweet (five minutes or less) and make sure they’re prepared and ready. You don’t have to cut out your speeches altogether, because when done right, they are often a very personal and heartwarming part of the day.
Expert tip: Place speeches strategically so guests have had something to eat (even canapés or a starter) beforehand.
Not being thanked
Your guests often won’t see how excited you are by their gift, so a short thank you note will go a long way! By the time your Big Day arrives, you would’ve already ticked hundreds of items off your to-do list, but don’t forget this one.
Expert tip: Factor in time to write (or type) a short thank you note for each guest. They’ll love you for it.
Kelly is a former wedding planner and a lover of anything pink. She believes that any bride can plan her own wedding, with a few tips and helpful tools.