A lot of pressure comes with planning a wedding. You want to put together a celebration that is fun for everyone invited — and not just fun, but the best night ever.
Think about the last fun wedding you attended. What do you remember most about it? Among the first things to pop into your mind were probably the food, the drinks, and the music. Those are the top three aspects of a wedding that guests say they remember the most. Now that it’s time for you to plan your wedding, we are sure that you want your family and friends all to have a good time, and remember your special day for years to come. So we put together steps you can take to ensure that your wedding is as fun as it can be!
Ultimately, your wedding day is about celebrating the love between you and the person you’re about to marry. But there’s another goal at hand: Throwing one seriously epic party that your guests will talk about for years to come. But how do you make your big day stand out among the throngs of weddings your family and friends have attended in the past? Ahead, sure-fire tips that will leave your guests impressed. Including even just a handful of this standout, ideas will turn your wedding day into an event to remember.
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Providing guests transportation is crucial in the event they will be coming from out of town and staying in a hotel. Offering them a ride from the hotel to the wedding venue will keep their planning to a minimum. Plus, they’ll probably have a great time riding a bus or trolley to and from the wedding venue together. This will help keep spirits high and contribute to your guests’ feeling involved.
Allow your single friends to bring a date
This might drive up the cost of your wedding, but allowing your single friends to bring a date will pay for itself in good times. Go ahead and pay for a few extra plates of food and invite them to bring their significant other, even if you don’t know them. Who knows, your wedding could be the start of another beautiful relationship, and soon you might get an invitation in the mail for your best friend’s wedding.
Give your guests an itinerary
You have worked hard to plan the events of your wedding day, so why not share the plan with your guests? This will help make your guests feel that they are fully involved in the wedding, and with specific times for each event, they’ll know what to expect and when. You don’t have to go crazy with this. Just include the essentials, like what time intros will begin, what time dinner will begin, and when the dance floor is scheduled to open.
Keep downtime to a minimum
Plan the timeline for your special day to ensure that you keep the action constant. Too much downtime allows room for guests to become bored. A great way to prevent this from happening is by providing music during cocktail hour, drinks, hors-d’oeuvres or even a photo booth. There shouldn’t be any question about where or when guests can grab a drink, and don’t keep them waiting too long before you open the floor for dancing. As long as the drinks are flowing, the music is upbeat, and there are plenty of snacks before dinner, your guests will feel satisfied and welcome.
Make sure the music isn’t just for you
It might be tempting to choose all your favourite songs for your wedding playlist, but you have to consider your guests. Feel free to pick plenty of songs you love, but make sure you sprinkle in some that your guests will enjoy, too. Keep the music upbeat and fun so your guests won’t have to think twice about getting out on the dance floor.
Ask toasters to keep their speeches short and sweet
Wedding toasts can be fun, but if they drag on for too long, your guest’s minds are bound to begin to wonder. Nobody wants to listen to your best friend drone on for twenty minutes about how much she loves you. Politely ask your toasters to keep their speeches short, that way you and your guests can get back to the party.
Offer late-night food options
Even after eating a full meal, drinking and dancing take a lot of energy. It’s a good idea to consider offering some munchies for your guests to eat toward the end of the night. This doesn’t have to be a full second course, just something simple like chips and dip, sliders, or mini tacos. Choose something that fits the theme of your wedding, and offer it to your guests to snack on while they party.
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Lead the way by having fun yourself
Perhaps the most important aspect of ensuring that your guests have a great time at your wedding is by having fun yourself! If your friends and family see that the bride and groom are happy and enjoying their wedding reception, they are sure to join in the fun. Don’t let the stress of wedding planning carry over to your wedding day. That’s all behind you now, and you deserve to enjoy yourself.
If you never wear heels in your daily life, why torture yourself with stilettos just because it’s your wedding day? Especially during your reception, don’t be afraid to kick off your shoes and slip into something more comfortable – like slippers! With a long gown, no one is going to see your shoes anyway, so you might as well wear something that’ll help you let loose.
Stay Among the Crowd
You’ll spend most of your wedding day mixing and mingling with guests, but once the meal is served, most couples retire to their sweetheart table. While a sweetheart table can, in theory, be a great way to spend time alone with your partner, are you actually alone? The sweetheart table tends to be front and centre in the room, meaning every single guest can sit and watch your interactions if they so desire. While some couples love being in the spotlight, it’s okay if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Instead, take a seat right in the middle of the room, where you can feel the love of your guests surrounding you.
Check out our post on How can I make my wedding unique and unforgettable?
Take it Easy on the Booze
Many couples fall into the trap of thinking more drinks = more fun. But when the liquor is free-flowing, it’s far too easy to cross over to the bad side. Too many drinks will eventually make you feel tired, and worst of all may make you forget those memorable times!. Pro tip: Drink a glass of water between every alcoholic drink to help pace yourself.
Personalize Your Moments
When we say “personalize,” most people automatically think about the décor. But you can also put your mark on your wedding through your actions. Your first dance is a standout moment and is an opportunity to really reflect who you are as a couple. “Gone are the days when you have to slow dance to a classic love song. Choose a song from your favourite band, or find an upbeat, happy song that expresses who you are as a couple, and don’t be afraid to dance like nobody is watching!” says Norian. “Your guests will likely enjoy seeing a modern rendition of an old tradition, and might even ask you for the name of the catchy song.”
Add Some Levity
Your wedding day will be full of big moments, from the first time you see each other to your first kiss as a married couple to your final sendoff. One of our favourite tradition modifications we’ve seen lately is with the first look. As much as we all love seeing sweet, sentimental photos of couples loving on each other, the buildup for that moment can feel like too much pressure to make it perfect. Alleviate the tension and turn it into a comical moment instead.
Define “Fun” in Your Own Way
Some couples love to dance; others wouldn’t be caught dead busting a move on the dance floor. If dancing isn’t your idea of a good time, then why design your entire wedding reception around that form of entertainment? Sure, play party music for your guests who want to boogie, but we can guarantee that you’re not alone in not wanting to dance. Set up games and other activities for the non-dancers to enjoy.
Do More of What Makes You Happy
Your friends and family love you just the way you are, so don’t feel pressured to fit into the “bride” box. Plan the wedding you know you’ll enjoy. Are you sweets, aficionado? Splurge on the elaborate dessert display — we’re pretty confident your guests won’t complain about having more options. Are you a crafting queen? Go ahead and DIY as much as your heart desires. And, conversely, if you don’t have a crafty bone in your body, don’t stress yourself out by taking on projects — it’s totally okay to outsource everything. Focus your attention on the elements of your big day that you know will bring a smile to your face, and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Keep Your Ceremony Brief
Don’t get us wrong, your friends and family are there to see you get married—but no one wants to watch a drawn-out ceremony. Keep the actual proceedings (not including entrances and exits) around 20 minutes so you won’t lose anyone’s attention.
Choose a Personalized Program
While we’re on the topic of the ceremony, don’t forget about creating a wedding program. By personalizing this piece of stationery with interesting details about you and your partner, a breakdown of the ceremony’s proceedings, and any important information they should know (like a translation of traditional vows or a note to let guests know not to take photos), you’ll capture their attention and get all of those key details across. Plus, it will keep them busy if the event runs a little late.
Use a Wedding App or Hashtag
There are many great wedding apps to choose from. Some interactive ones allow guests to upload wedding photos to one curated place, while others keep your friends and family up to date on any wedding-related news. Want something even easier? Create a clever hashtag and ask guests to tag all of their photos using it.
Give Out-of-Town Guests a Welcome Bag
Whether you’re hosting a destination wedding or hometown bash, some of your guests have to travel to be a part of your day. To show your appreciation, give welcome bags for guests staying at hotels. Include a few snacks, bottles of water, and a list of local spots, like the nearest drug store, restaurants, and coffee shops, plus any nearby attractions.
Greet Each Guest
It may sound obvious, but it’s important to greet every guest at your wedding personally. Once the celebration is underway, do your best to spend time with each person—whether that means chatting over a cocktail, visiting their table at dinner, or letting loose on the dance floor.
Create a Well-Planned Seating Chart
It doesn’t matter if your reception dinner will be a buffet, plated meal, or family-style servings: A smart seating chart is vital to ensuring your guests have a good time. Try to group people with similar backgrounds and interests, so they’ll have something to talk about even if they’ve never met before.
Splurge on the Open Bar
While open bars can be pricey, there are ways to make it work on any budget. Consider offering just beer and wine or a few cocktail options if you need to cut back, but don’t ask family and friends to open their wallets.
Have a Signature Cocktail
Speaking of cocktails, serve one or two delicious customized drinks. It’ll offer you huge savings if you forgo a full bar, and it makes your reception feel so personal. You and your partner should each pick a concoction, but try to select drinks that are palatable for a wide array of people.
Make Sure Your Guests Are Comfortable
No matter what time of year you’re tying the knot, it’s important to think about what your guests might need to stay comfortable throughout the evening. That may mean offering wraps, parasols, or flip-flops.
One of our biggest priorities in planning our wedding was to make sure that we had a lot of fun. We felt like it wasn’t worth all the stress, planning, time, and money if we didn’t enjoy ourselves. Well, WE HAD A BLAST!! We still talk about how much fun we had that day and night and wish we could do it all over again. In speaking with many of our married friends, we learned that most people we know actually didn’t have fun at their weddings.
Plan Everything That’s Important To You Ahead Of Time
Lots of things are going to go wrong on the day of the wedding, no matter how perfectly you plan everything. There’s nothing you can do about that. What you can do is make sure the things that are the MOST important to you go right. If there is anything that you know will ruin your day if it goes wrong, make sure you put extra effort into planning it well.
Get A Coordinator, Or At Least A Day-Of-Coordinator
There’s nothing worse than having to coordinate all the details of the day, put out fires, coordinate timelines, etc. on your wedding day. And you don’t want to put that on a family member or friend either. First of all, most likely, it’s not their job, and they have no idea what to do. Second, they should be able to have fun at your wedding too! If there’s no room in the budget for a full coordinator, at least hire someone for the day of. I can’t tell you how much peace of mind it will give you. We hired a coordinator because we were planning an at-home wedding and had heard that those were harder to execute. We feel like it’s the best money we spent as our coordinator was the biggest reason we were able to let go and have fun at the wedding. We knew that she would take care of anything that happened and we didn’t have to worry about a thing. That peace of mind was priceless. (By the way, our coordinator was Jen Bergmark of First Pick Planning. If you’re in California, we cannot more highly recommend her!)
Let It All Go, At Least The Day Before
We worked really hard planning our wedding. We obsessed over every minor little detail and planned it down to every last second. But two days before the wedding, we let it all go. Whatever wasn’t done, wasn’t done. We either delegated it to someone else or just let it go. If you can’t do this two days before the wedding, at least do it the day of. Resolve just to let things be that day. Whatever goes wrong, goes wrong. It’ll be a great story for later on! Plus, if you hire a coordinator, they can take care of all those minor emergencies!
Give Someone Your Phone
You’d be surprised at how thoughtless people can be. Your phone will be guaranteed to blow up that day with people asking what time the wedding starts, how to get there, what to wear, letting you know that they will be late, and so on. Remember the tip above, letting things go? It’s easier to do that if you just don’t know about them. Give someone your phone so that they can deal with all the questions, and you can focus on enjoying the moment! Plus, the few times we were holding our phones, it ruined the candid shots our photographer took.
Wedding dresses and tuxes are not comfortable. You’re just going to have to suck that up for a majority of the day. But try to plan to be comfortable at least halfway through the reception so you can dance like crazy! Lena didn’t plan comfortable shoes to wear because she had grand expectations that she would make it through the night in her heels, but she just took off her shoes and danced barefoot. Such a relief! Plan comfortable shoes and maybe even an outfit change!
We are both people pleasers and wanted everyone to be happy. Eventually, we learned no matter how hard we tried to please everyone with our wedding, and people were still going to be unhappy. We decided we were the only ones who mattered, and if we focused on our happiness, it would all be worth it.