Ever wonder what your guests will really think of your wedding?
With an average of over 6,000 weddings a day in the United States, chances are, guests invited to your wedding will have attended at another wedding or two recently. If you’re at all competitive, it’s understandable that you might wonder or worry about how your wedding will compare to others’. Luckily, you don’t need a lavish, over-the-top reception to be the best wedding of the year in your guests’ eyes.
Wedding planning often centers around what the bride and groom want (important, obviously), but it’s also worth considering your guests when it comes to decorations, reception entertainment, food, and more. We’ve done the research for you, looking at popular wedding community boards like r/weddingplanning on Reddit, and others, to see real guest feedback on the things they love–and loathe–about weddings they’ve recently attended.
Things Guests Could Do Without:
While far from universal in opinion, many guests admitted they were less than impressed by entrances made into a spectacle, especially anything to do with something like smoke machines, which are not only unnecessary, but make a wedding feel more like a production than an actual wedding. This isn’t the Superbowl– it’s a fun night with family and friends. Traditional announcements made by a DJ or family members are just fine, according to guests.
Couples spend an average of nearly $300 on favors, and that’s not including gifts for the bridal party. While some wedding planners insist that favors are good etiquette, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with them, they often go less than appreciated. Especially disliked are what guests describe as useless or disposable favors, like little trinkets, that even know are likely to be tossed. If you need to save money, this might be a good place to cut–consider instead a dessert bar with take home boxes, or a personalized note for each invited couple.
“I don’t care about favors unless they’re something edible and delicious.”
– reddit user /u/ba-b0
Cash bars may be seen as a happy medium between a pricy full bar service and no alcohol at all, but it’s unlikely your guests will see it that way. As celebrity wedding planner David Tutera explains guests don’t bring money with them, nor should they, to an event they’ve been invited to. He suggests, if your budget doesn’t allow for full bar service, to instead pick a few signature drinks or just stick with wine and beer, which tends to be cheaper.
Want an excuse for a dry wedding? Some church venues won’t even permit alcohol, and, as long as your guests know ahead of time, sparkling ciders and juices for an afternoon wedding might be a nice touch. If you’re sticking with a cash bar, however, be sure to include it on the invitation so your guests know to bring cash!
Sometimes more isn’t better, and this often applies to decor. In particular, there seems to be a good deal of agreement that overly tall centerpieces are more a nuisance than anything, blocking the guests’ view of the bridal table. Work with a planner and pick a few, tasteful decorations. You can get inspiration from this unique but not over-the-top ideas from Martha Stewart.
Not enough food
Guests should walk away with two things: full hearts, and full stomachs. If you’re planning for a big, fun party, give your guests enough food to lay down a good base to dance the night away without getting too sloppy.
“Stuff that sucks from a guest perspective: a long wait until being fed, not enough food, and not enough alcohol”
– reddit user /u/luckylady48
A DJ who takes over
DJ’s can be the life of the party. A good one will help the night run smoothly and encourage your guests to get on the dance floor. But it’s important to really make sure he or she will take song requests, play at the volume you like, and introduce and make announcements in a lively but not overbearing way. It helps to have these ten questions in mind, too, before booking your DJ.
Now, the Things Guests LOVE to see:
Every guest will have different preferences, but these are some things you’ll be sure to want to include in your wedding
● A variety of food to meet different dietary needs (Always include a vegetarian option)
● Music to dance to (including some for older generations!)
● A cake (this tradition is easy to fulfill, even if it’s store-bought!)
● Late night snacks (sliders? popcorn?)
● Personalized touches that show your personality
● Plenty of space to move around, and a quieter space to chat among groups
And perhaps the most important thing of all? Spending time with as many guests as you can during your wedding, and communicating with them about all the details before.