Receiving an invitation to a wedding is a great honor! You have selected those friends and family members that mean the most to you, and you are so excited that they will all share in the joy of your wedding day with you. It is only natural for you to want them to have an amazing time on your big day! Read some tips I have gathered below about improving your guest experience, and be prepared to accept compliments for months and years to come about your amazing hosting abilities!
- Create a wedding website.
A wedding website is an amazing way to relay information to your wedding guests and to ensure they are prepared for anything on the weekend of your wedding.
You can provide them with accommodations information, and even link directly to the booking page.
If your wedding requires them to dress a certain way (think - if you have an outdoor wedding reception in a tent, you don’t want all of the ladies showing up in stiletto heels), you can let them know without putting something directly on your formal wedding invitation.
You can provide registry information on your website, but not on your formal invitation. This helps your guest know exactly what you would be happy to receive without it seeming like you are asking for presents.
- Plan your wedding day timeline so that the events of the night are timed and transitioned seamlessly.
Your guests will feel constantly engaged in the events of the day if they are properly planned and scheduled in an intentional way. For example, if you have your special dances (first dance, mother/son, father/daughter), toasts, and cake cutting all before you serve your guests dinner, they can get restless! Timing is everything when planning an event, so make sure that there is never a dull moment.
This is when having an experienced event planner is crucial. He or she can help you plan the timeline so that they guests are engaged in each and every special moment throughout the day.
Arrange for hotel blocks & provide easy instructions for booking.
Hotel blocks ensure your guests have a place to stay that is close to the venue.
Be sure to put clear instructions for booking on your wedding website or accommodations card.
Stay up to date on how many rooms have been booked, and increase the number you have reserved as needed.
If you are providing two hotel blocks at different hotels, make sure there is at least a $50 dollar difference in the nightly cost so your guests have a choice about how much they want to spend.
When out of town guests arrive to your wedding weekend, greet them with guest welcome baskets and/or information booklets.
Your out-of-town guests are spending time and money to come to your wedding. A great way to be a gracious host is to have a welcome basket waiting. This can be as simple as some essentials in a bag that has your wedding monogram/your names on it, or as elaborate as a nice bottle of wine and a handwritten note.
This is also an awesome way to infuse your personality into your event - you can put in your favorite snacks, local goodies, or a cocktail kit to create a beverage you enjoyed when you traveled abroad together.
Slip an information booklet into your basket to share important times/locations, local attractions and restaurants your guests might like to check out, and a thank you note sharing your appreciation. Another great touch? If you are moving after the wedding, include your new address so they will all have it after the wedding!
There are companies that will curate amazing and personalized gift boxes if you want to hire someone to take care of this for you!
Either organize a welcome event or provide a meeting location for guests to gather after the rehearsal dinner.
This doesn’t have to be hosted by anyone--you can just reserve a space or simply meet at a local bar or restaurant for folks to mingle.
If you so choose, you can host a cocktail hour after your rehearsal dinner and invite out-of-town guests to join you so that they have something to do once they arrive.
You also can just let everyone know that the wedding party will be heading to a certain location after the rehearsal dinner, and they are welcome to join in.
Either provide tips to your guests for transportation, or arrange for transportation for your out-of-town guests.
This is not required, but if the majority of your guests are flying in or coming from out of town, providing transportation is an optional gesture.
If you choose to provide transportation, make sure you include pick up times and locations in your website and on your welcome information. Pro tip: Tell them a departure time that is 10 minutes early.
If you don’t provide transportation or if it isn't in your budget, provide your guests with numbers to local taxi companies and/or get an uber code for your wedding that will give first time users a discount. If they are visiting your city or town for the first time, some inside tips will be very appreciated!
- Take your guests needs into consideration.
Have a plan for dietary restrictions, folks with mobility issues, couples who have children, etc.
- Give your guests options!
Whether you are giving your guests a choice of cake flavor, an entrée selection, or a variety places to lounge or socialize during the wedding, giving them options throughout the night creates a more personalized experience.
Assign seating during the dinner portion of your reception.
Assigned seating at the reception is totally optional, however, if you are wanting everyone to sit down for dinner, assigning tables for your guests makes the event go very smoothly.
If you are not providing assigned seating, make sure you provide more tables and chairs than guests so that everyone can find a place to sit.
The exception to this would be if you are having more of a cocktail style reception - you may only need partial seating.
Provide your guests with brunch suggestions on the day after the event, or host a brunch.
Hosting a brunch is not required. It is very appreciated, though! This is especially true if a large portion of your guests are coming from out of town.
If you are not planning on hosting a breakfast or brunch the next day, consider sending the guests off at the end of the night with a favor that they could munch on the next morning, or providing them with a list of suggested breakfast and brunch spots in your welcome information.
At Brianne McMullan Events, we want your guests to have an unforgettable experience. After all, your wedding guests include all of the people in your life who are nearest and dearest to you! We love working with our couples to create amazing celebrations that delight guests and reflect the unique style of each couple. Click the button below to schedule a consult with us to chat about how we can help you host an unbelievable wedding celebration.