Wedding Guest Gripes

You’ve heard it so many times that you really believe it – “It’s the bride’s day”!  But let’s face it – your guests are just that – guests – and there are some universal, unspoken wedding rules to keep in mind to keep your guests content.

Big gaps of time
If your wedding ceremony is late morning or early afternoon and you are having an evening reception (say, cocktail hour starting at 6 pm and dinner at 7 pm), you should definitely provide your guests with some ideas of what to do in between both events.  With a Boston wedding, that should be pretty easy to do.  Once you have your ceremony and reception venues settled, you can check out what’s around those areas for activities on the day of your wedding.  This information can be provided in your invitations and on your wedding website.  For my wedding, we included brochures of area museums and activities that our out of town guests could check out and in hotel gift bags.  It was very well received and those who made a weekend out of coming to Boston really appreciated it.  Of course, you may just have friends and family who would rather just hang out at a local bar between events to get the party started early.  In that case, there is no shortage of pubs in Boston to recommend!

Your guests need to be treated well since they are there for you and that means no skimping on necessities.   For example, if your wedding budget is $30,000, $20,000 of it shouldn’t go right to your gown. Food is by far, the most important expenditure of your wedding.  In fact, 60% of your wedding budget should go toward the reception.  If you are planning a simple cocktail reception only, you should still plan on having food there for your guests.  No one wants their guests to be drinking for a few hours without any food.  Plus, it really is the gesture that counts.  Work with your venue to have a proper selection of hors dourest that fit within your budget.  If you are planning a cocktail hour with a dinner reception following, the amount of food is still crucial.  As long as you provide an accurate number of guests to your venue, they can suggest the types and quantities of food to fit your budget.  Even if you end up with just a huge cheese and crackers display, you want to make sure there is enough to satisfy everyone until dinner.

No Alcohol
Whether you and the groom are non-drinkers or you think it would be best to skip offering alcohol to save costs, think again.  Your guests will be disgruntled the entire evening if they can’t enjoy a few drinks at a celebratory event.  If you are afraid of your wedding turning into a frat party because your friends like to enjoy drinks a little too much, just give your venue a heads up so they can make sure the bartenders can keep an eye out and know when to give the last drink to someone.  If the host of the wedding can afford it, you should absolutely have an open bar.  Those 2 little words are music to guests’ ears.  It’s just another gesture to make your guests feel appreciated and let’s face it, if you are an adult having a dinner party at your house, you are going to make your guests pay for drinks, are you?  If an open bar is not an option, a cash bar is a must.  But at the end of the day, the option of drinks should definatly be there.
Having relaxing dinner music during is very nice.  But, once those plates are cleared, your band or DJ better be ready to switch the tunes.  #4 on the Guest Gripe list poor music selections for after dinner.  It’s called a reception for a reason.  People want to have the option to dance (and not just slow dances).  Work with your band or DJ to make sure there is music appropriate for all the age groups represented at your wedding. 

The Bouquet Toss
I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but who ever catches the bouquet does NOT get married next.  I have caught the bouquet many times in my younger years and I didn’t marry until much later.  First of all, it’s an option to do it at all.  I did, just for the photo op.  If you decide not to do a bouquet toss, people may not even notice.  It’s a tradition that isn’t used that much anymore.  And think about the last time you even saw a garter toss.  Grooms trying to be funny pulling a pair of granny panties out from under a bride’s dress has seen its day, and well, it’s just not that funny anymore.  If you decide to do a bouquet toss, PLEASE do not force anyone to participate.  Single girls who want to join will (there will be some that will literally jump at the chance).  After the age of 25 or 30, some guests may not want to be forced to the middle of the dance floor to have a “single” label on their forehead for the rest of the night. 

The First Dance
Some guests enjoy looking forward to the first dance (maybe your immediate family and the photographer).  But with so many slow dances that consist of the bride and groom merely swaying back and forth like a scene from a school dance from The Wonder Years, don’t be surprised if you see a few yawns on guests’ faces when you look at your wedding proofs.  Want your guests’ attention?  Choose a fun song and maybe get a few dance lessons in ahead of time.  My husband and I chose to do a tango, mostly to try and do something different and to keep our guests’ attention.  It ended up being hilarious since we both kept tripping my my dress, but it made for a room full of laughter for a few minutes and that was priceless.


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