Let’s be honest, how many of you have attended a wedding and thought a few things? Maybe the ceremony was a bit too long, perhaps the tables at the reception were too crowded, or you didn’t really get to see the couple to talk to them. You know what I’m talking about. And now that you’re in the bride and groom’s shoes, of course you’ll want to make sure your guests are comfortable and that everything runs smoothly. So today, I’m outlining some of the most common issues guests have during weddings and what you can do to avoid them happening on your big day.
1. Not being told what to expect
Nobody likes uncertainty, or worse, being the odd one out. Whether you have a certain dress code, are expecting everyone to turn up to the ceremony an hour earlier, or want gifts from a particular registry, let your guests know. Trust me, they’ll appreciate the details. You can put your details in your invitation suite, up on your wedding website, or message them individually if you want.
2. An inconvenient date
Think Christmas, New Year’s, and other holidays. Besides the horrendous traffic you can expect on these festive days, holidays are usually the times most families get together and celebrate. You wouldn’t want to inconvenience your guests by making them choose between family and you, right? Of course, if you really want to have a Christmas wedding, that’s certainly your prerogative. Just let your guests know ahead of time!
3. Uncomfortable weather
In the Philippines, it can really either be too hot–and I mean under the direct sunlight hot–or too cold–like Baguio or Tagaytay in December to February cold. While I’m not saying you shouldn’t have your wedding under the sun or in Baguio or Tagaytay, one way you can handle this is by providing your guests with fans or shawls to help them deal with the weather. I’m sure they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness.
4. A lengthy ceremony
Ahhh, here’s the rather controversial one. Because, yes, I do see where the guests are coming from, but at the same time, your wedding ceremony is the most important part of the wedding. So I say, do you. If you want a lengthy ceremony with music, multiple readings, and the exchange of your personal vows, your guests will just have to deal. But if you’re not particular, then just try to keep the entire ceremony under two hours.
5. Travel time from the ceremony to the reception venues
If your church is in Makati and your reception is in Tagaytay, then you’ll definitely be hearing a lot of these murmurs from your guests. The solution? Once you’ve booked your first venue–whether it’s your church or reception venue–then try to find your second venue within the same area. (At least try to keep the two within the same city!)
6. A long wait between the ceremony and reception
Picture this: Your guests have started getting ready maybe even before lunch for your wedding, and several hours later they’re waiting in the reception area for you to make your appearance. Wouldn’t you be hungry too? Serve cocktails and canapés to help your guests manage the waiting time, and talk to your photographers and videographers to see if you can shorten the pictorial time for your guests’ sake.
7. Unassigned seats at dinner
Doesn’t this kinda give you first day of school vibes? You know, when there are so many tables and chairs available, but you’re just awkwardly standing there because you don’t really know where to sit? Yup, you might wanna spare your guests the awkward standing and staring by deciding where they’ll be sitting and who they’ll be sitting with.
8. Crowded tables
Another thing you don’t want is your guests knocking elbows every so often because the tables are just too crowded. Once you decide on your table shape, ask your caterer or whoever is providing the rentals, how many each table comfortably sits, then don’t overstuff them when creating your seating plan. If some tables have more space than others, that’s okay. It’s always better to have more space than less.
9. Bad food or lack of food
Every couple’s worst nightmare is bad food or lack of food–or the worst of the worst, both. This is why food tasting is so important. Don’t be afraid to be very particular about the food you choose for your menu. And if there are any updates to your guest list, make sure to update your caterer ASAP so you don’t run out of food.
10. Disregarded dietary restrictions
Vegetarian? Vegan? Gluten-free? Lactose-intolerant? If any of your guests have dietary restrictions, the last thing you want to do is forget about them. Talk to your caterer about how you can manage these dietary restrictions on top of your regular menu, and have your wedding coordinator follow up with the caterer on the day itself.
11. Too many speeches
As much as we’d like to control the length of the speeches, you can’t exactly tell your future mother or father-in-law to stop once s/he reaches five minutes, right? What you can control though is the number of people who make the speeches. You don’t have to have all of your principal sponsors and everyone in your entourage speak–one to two representatives (usually your maid of honor and best man) are enough. And hey, a few reminders every now and then (from your coordinator, not you!) about how many minutes they have left won’t hurt either.
12. Bad music
This can mean either two things, the choice of music or the volume of the music, or again, in the worst cases, both. Music, folks, should not be underestimated. So before you choose your band, DJ, or string quartet, make sure that you’ve listened to a few of their songs, and that you like them of course. And if you’re playing some music from your phone or playlist during some down time, don’t forget to tell your lights and sounds people to keep it at an acceptable volume.
13. Not getting to talk to the couple
One common mistake couples make is that they get lost in the planning, making sure everything is perfect for themselves and their guests, that they forget to actually spend time with their guests. Yes, it’s understandable that you’re busy and roaming around the whole night, but exchanging a few words, hugs, and kisses with your family and friends who came to celebrate with you is all they really want.
14. Not receiving a thank you note
Even after the wedding is over, there are still some post-wedding duties for you to do. One of the most important of which is sending out thank you notes. They don’t have to be notes per se–you can send out a heartfelt email, text message, or even give your folks a call. The way you do it doesn’t matter, it’s the thought of giving thanks that does.