1. Choose a Large Enough Venue
It can be tempting to save some money by going with the smaller of the two ballrooms, but if you’re having 200 people, you have to be conscious of space. For fire code, almost all venues will have a maximum occupancy permitted in any room at a given time – however, just because 300 people may fit doesn’t mean they fit comfortably. Ask to see a layout with dimensions or make your own before you put your deposit down. Guests will become annoyed easily if every time they need to use the restroom, their entire row at their table has to stand up to let them out. Allow extra space if you want a lounge area, photo booth, or a larger dance floor.
2. Provide Refreshments Before the Ceremony
Depending on where your wedding ceremony is held, some of your guests will be traveling in from a variety of distances. The new trend is to host outdoor weddings, and while these locations can be stunning, it also means there is no climate control in the great outdoors. After being stuck in a car or on an airplane for several hours, guests will be looking for something to wet their whistle. If you’re hosting a summer wedding, water and iced tea or lemonade work wonders for taking a guest from cranky traveler to refreshed guest. For a late fall or early winter wedding that is outside, consider a hot cider, tea or coffee bar.
3. Make Cocktail Hour Fun
After you say “I Do” and you’re smiling at the camera, your guests will be in the limbo between ceremony and reception known as the cocktail hour. Unless you’re planning on doing a first look and getting all of your photographs done before the ceremony (which rarely happens, even if you do a first look), then you’ll need probably an hour to two hours for all of your photographs. Don’t make cocktail hour boring! Provide music, games or beer flights to keep guests engaged. Otherwise, they’ll become restless, which will kill the mood for the party.
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4. Be Smart About the Alcohol
Bar setups differ from wedding to wedding, but there are some helpful tips to ensure guests don’t rank yours as the lowest on their list. If you’ve decided you’re providing alcohol at your wedding, here is the number one rule: NO CASH BAR. If you’re going to ask people to travel from all over and bring you a gift, it is a big no no to make them pay for alcohol the night of your wedding. However, nowhere in the Wedding Bible Guide does it say you have to provide a full bar. More couples are providing just beer and wine or beer and wine with a few staple drinks that can be made with vodka, rum, and whiskey. You’ll not only save money on alcohol, you’ll also cut back on the number of bartenders you’ll need. Do your research and talk with your bartender to find the best alcohol for the wedding or to gift to your bridal party.
5. Don’t Skimp on Food
You don’t have to break your budget to provide great food on your wedding day. Before you book with any caterer, you’ll want to test their food, especially if you’re thinking of going with plated. Why, you say? If you do a buffet, you can get away with a portion of the food not being the greatest. Say the steak is overcooked and the green beans are overly mushy. With a buffet, your guests have other options of what they can eat. If it’s a plated meal and the steak is their only entrée choice and they have only one side other than green beans, they’ll be starving throughout the event. Ensure the food is good if you want happy guests! And remember, expensive is not synonymous with good when it comes to food.
6. Dish Out Earplugs
And yes, we’re serious. The music being too loud is one of the most frequent complaints wedding planners hear. Even though you might want to host a rave, your parents or even some of your friends might not be able to hand the loud thumping of the bass for the entire evening. Unless you want half of your guest list to leave as soon as the cake is cut, then have some earplugs ready. This rule applies whether you’re having a DJ or a live band.
7. Gift a Good Favor
Forget the cheesy sunglasses or an etched glass with your wedding date. While the thought counts, guests will appreciate taking something home that they don’t have yet and that is useful. You can’t go wrong with food. Some of the coolest favors we’ve seen include to-go popcorn bags, infused olive oil, and DIY s’mores kits (if you have a fire pit at your wedding, your guests can enjoy their favor right there!). If you’re going to put the time and money into favors, make sure it’s something guests will actually take home. If you’d rather do something different or don’t want to deal with the hassle of physical favors, make a $5 donation for every guest attending to a charity of your choosing. All of your guests will have the good feels then.
Remember: there are some wedding guests that wouldn’t be happy if you gave them free wine service for life. If you’ve done your best to create a great atmosphere, you just need to go enjoy it. It is YOUR wedding!
Kacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.
The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.