1. Open Bars are Good, Drunken Antics are Not
Cash bars tend to say cheapness. Providing an open bar with a wide selection of beverages is an excellent way of ensuring your guests have a fun time. That said, listening to the best man slur his way through a speech or seeing your friend do a drunken dance in front of your grandma should not be part of the festivities. Instruct the bartenders to keep an eye on the guests and to cut the booze-hounds off as they see fit.
2. Consider the Singletons
Inviting single friends is tricky. Including the phrase “plus one” on invitations can put unwanted pressure on the recipient. Many singletons view weddings as a place to meet potential dates. Send the invitation without the “plus one” and follow up with a call informing your friend he or she may bring a date if desired. This also works well with couples who reunited or started dating after the invitations were sent. Remember not to exclude live-ins or long-term partners! Just because they’re not married or engaged does not mean they don’t count.
3. Not Everyone Can Take the Day Off Work
While Saturday is the most popular day to get married, if you decide to be different, try to be considerate of your guests. You may be able to take a week off work, but it’s your wedding. Your guests aren’t as flexible. A Friday wedding with a Thursday rehearsal can require people to take two days off of work, which presents problems. An evening wedding on a weeknight should not go into the wee hours of the morning. No one wants to show up to work with a hangover and no sleep.
4. Enough With the Cake-Smashing
Not only is it rude to each other, but it makes guests feel uncomfortable. Filled with passive aggression and subliminal messages, guests prefer the smashing just didn’t happen. Not to mention, think of the potential devastation to your hair and makeup!
5. Receiving Lines Can Induce Discomfort as Well
Guests enjoy being able to personally congratulate the bride, groom and both sets of parents. Most people, however, do not care about the rest of your 10 person wedding party. Making small talk with a random bridesmaid is not pleasurable for 90% of your guests. Limiting the receiving line to you, your husband and both sets of parents will result in a faster moving procession and happiness all around.
6. DJ Horror Stories are Abundant; Don’t Fall Victim
Reception music can go very wrong very fast. Give your DJ or band clear instructions on your desires. The YMCA and Macarena are so old, even your outdated dad is sick of them. Select songs with meaning for you and your husband, while keeping in mind the ages and tastes of your guests. While no one wants to hear the Chicken Dance, don’t play Baby Got Back either. Dirty dancing, especially in front of your grandparents, is just embarrassing for everyone.
7. Reception Faux Pas
You finally found the perfect place to hold the reception, except it’s over an hour away from your wedding location. As much as you love it, don’t book it. It’s difficult for guests to travel long distances, particularly those from out-of-town. If you must locate your reception far away, provide transportation. Also, don’t leave a large time gap between the ceremony and reception. Although it provides you with much needed time to take pictures and prep for the party, your guests are left with nothing to do. To ease the idleness, provide drinks and snacks at a hotel or arrange a tour of the city. People from far away may have shelled out quite a bit to come to your special day; show them some love in return.
8. Another Cringe-Inducing Social Situation: The Seating Arrangements
Allow your guests to select on which side of the aisle to sit rather than forcing them to choose between you and your husband. You two may have mutual friends; let them sit where they want. Plus, imagine the horror when you discover how many more people are sitting on your husband’s side. One place to assign seating is at the reception. Guests don’t like being left to fend for themselves for a seat, especially when they don’t know anyone else at the wedding. Just try not to separate couples. It’s awkward enough to come as a date to a wedding where you know no one.
9. Gifts: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Every woman wants gifts for her wedding. She just doesn’t want to outright ask for them. An invitation implies the guest must bring a present. If you know people cannot come but you want to send an invitation anyway without looking like you’re grubbing for gifts, send a wedding announcement. It allows friends and family to be remembered but not propositioned. Never ask for cash! A request for cash is tacky and rude. Just don’t do it! Remember, a gift is just that, a gift. Although social tradition dictates gift-giving, wedding presents are given out of the goodness of your guests’ hearts, not because you deserve a new toaster.
10. On a Good Note…
Make the wedding personal. Guests enjoy seeing touches of you and your husband throughout the ceremony and reception. If you want to wear a blue dress, wear one! If you don’t want any attendants, then don’t have any! Typical, textbook weddings are boring for guests. It’s your wedding, make it you.