What Do Your Wedding Guests Really Want?
Whether we like to admit it or not, every couple want their wedding guests to have a great time. It is true that you should “Do what you like – it’s your day!” but it is just as important to most brides and grooms that their guests have a fantastic time. So where should you invest your budget in order to achieve the highest level of guest satisfaction?
Although for some wedding guests a large bar tab is the most important thing, most guests want more – and what is most important varies dramatically across genders, age groups and cultures. You should first consider who is attending your wedding. Although you and you partner likely have mutual friends and close family you both know well, you might be surprised to discover that you don’t know all of your guests that well! Therefore, it is so important to have your partner’s input into aspects of the day that will create those awesome memories for your guests. One thing all of your guests will have in common is they want to feel involved and a special part of your lives.
Hi! I’m Amanda, a Wedding Planner based in Christchurch. My business is The Big Day Company and I specialise in tailoring every wedding to the specifications of my couples. I can do as much or as little as you need me to and can cater to most budgets, putting your dollars into the areas that matter most to you two.
I can help make your day magical for you as a couple, and for all your guests. I would be thrilled to meet you for a free no-obligation chat to see if I might be a good fit, so get in touch!
With love, Amanda xoxo
1. Wedding Food
Just because you two are major foodies, it doesn’t mean all of your guests will want to dine on salmon caviar and truffles. Make sure there is a good mix of gourmet items and family favourites that people will know and love. Make sure you ask on your invitations for any dietary requirements so that no one goes hungry!
There are so many different styles of wedding food to consider, depending on your style of wedding.
One-bite items served by wait-staff. Usually served between the ceremony and reception, but more substantial “continuous canapés” or “bowl food” style cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in lieu of a sit down meal.
• Grazing Tables
This was the trend of 2019, but with hygiene on everyone’s mind, we are yet to see if this sharing platter style of dining continues to be popular next wedding season.
• Food Trucks
Super casual “walk and fork” style items. This is a really cool novelty style of dining that will give a point of difference and some excitement to meal service.
• Two or Three Course Table Service
Traditional wedding style and usually served in one of three ways. Either all guests get the same meals, meals are served alternate drop; or guests can choose their meal, often by pre-order when they RSVP.
Guests can choose what they like, and as much as they like.
• Family sharing platters
Platters of food are placed on the tables and everyone on the table takes what they like.
A great way to create that wow factor is to put on some entertainment that sets your wedding apart from any other. This is particularly important if you plan on getting lots of couple photos between the ceremony and reception as you don’t want your guests to get bored. Here’s some great entertainment inspo that doesn’t have to cost the earth!
• Photo Booths
There are many companies out there, from retro style booths, to space saving kiosk style and even a photobooth inside a Kombi! But you don’t need to spend a heap of money if you don’t want to.
Hire or buy an instax, get some props from a $2 store and you’re away! Get your guests to peg their photos to a board so that you can laugh at the silliness. No camera? why not pick a hashtag for your day and get everyone to tag their own pix on social media!
• Flash Mobs
If you want to do something unique, why not commission a dance crew to pose as guests or wait staff and surprise everyone with some choreographed moves. For bonus points, learn the moves yourselves and get involved!
Lawn games are a great way to amuse your guests while you are away getting photos done. Think giant connect four, giant jenga, petanque, corn hole or ring toss! Games for the kids is also a great idea so that the kids and parents can both enjoy the day.
• Cocktail Hour Music
Live music is always a nice way to chill your guests out, whether it be a singer, string quartet, or an acoustic musician.
Many DJ’s will play music for the whole day if asked, but they are best for getting the party started later on. Choose a DJ who can read a crowd and develop a rapport with your guests while making sure to play the tunes you know and love.
There really is nothing quite like a good band. Whether it be a four piece, or just a duo, if you have the budget then splash out on some great musical talent.
• Comedy MC or wait staff
If you don’t want to ask a friend to be your Master of Ceremonies, what a great opportunity to incorporate some entertainment into the role and hire a comedian! You could disguise them as a member of the catering team or a guest to ramp up the hilarity.
• Bouncy Castle!
I’ve seen it done…and it wasn’t for the kids! If you know your guests would be up for a bit of fun then hire a bouncy castle; set up usually costs extra, but that’s inflation for you… (I’ll get my coat…)
• Ceilidh Dance
One of the most stand out forms of entertainment I’ve ever seen at a wedding is a Ceilidh band. This traditional Scottish Dance gets everyone up on the floor and the “Caller” talks you through the steps making it really easy to follow.
• Photo Show
Have a slideshow of photos from your childhood and relationship which your guests can enjoy. Throw in photos with your friends and family so that they can feel a part of the journey that brought you to where you are now. If you did an engagement shoot, you might want to show some of those photos too.
3. Ice breakers
For a single introvert who only knows you two, the most stressful part of attending a wedding is making conversation with new people. Consider having an engagement party where you can introduce your friends and family to one another in an informal setting. Try to seat people together that get along well, or you think have common interests. You could also try an icebreaker game to get everyone involved.
Although it shouldn’t necessarily be a focus of the day, most of your guests will want to drink. If you have it in you budget, it is a good idea to have a bar tab running, even if it is just for beer, wine and soft drinks. If you can’t afford to shout your guest’s drinks, then it is best practise to mention it on the invitation or other pre-wedding communication so that people don’t forget their wallets!
A neat way to engage your guests further is to have themed bars stationed around the venue. For example, you could have a gin bar with a theme, a hydration station with dispensers of water flavoured with fruit, mint or cucumber, and maybe a beer station with a keg from a local brewery.
5. The Wedding Venue
If you choose a venue with a good flow between a ceremony area, dining room, bar and dance floor then your guests can participate in the activity that they want to without feeling like they are missing out on any part. A venue with a bit of character or history might interest some of your older guests, and a nice outdoor space is always a big tick.
6. Wedding Decorations
This is your opportunity to put your personalities into the space. Your guests will love to look at trinkets on the tables, and your favourite flowers and say “that is so..<insert bride or groom’s name>” Gorgeous styling will look beautiful in photos, but if you inject something personal in then your guests will love you for it!