Not only do you want your wedding day to be smooth for you and your soon-to-be spouse, you also want your guests to have a relaxing, enjoyable experience! There are several ways, big and small, that you can take your wedding day from the standard ceremony and reception to a wonderful event for your guests.
Now, I’m sure the words “elevating your guests’ wedding experience” probably made you feel like you’re going to have to break the bank and forget about your budget. But it doesn’t have to! There are low-cost and totally free ideas below that will enhance the flow of your day without ruining your budget.
Here are 7 ways to elevate your guests’ wedding experience:
1) Your invitation & wedding website
The guest experience isn’t just about wedding day -- it relates to all things your guests see or do leading up to the big day. Ensuring your wedding information is clearly relayed and easy to find on your invitation and wedding website is the first step to creating a wonderful experience for your guests.
Your wedding website should be clearly listed on your invitation and save the date. The website should include a variety of information, such as:
Date, time, and venue of your wedding (for both ceremony and reception if they will be at separate locations)
Guest dress code
Accommodations information: Including your customized hotel booking link or code for your room block
Transportation information & schedule: If you’ll be having a shuttle for guests, list when and where it will depart from. It’s also helpful to include parking information for any guests that may be driving.
Any arrangements for children (see below)
Local recommendations: Things for guests to see and do in the city you’ll be getting married in
COVID-related notes: If guests will need to wear a mask, practice social distancing, or any other COVID restrictions or recommendations
Any other miscellaneous notes: Such as your wedding will be in grass and guests should avoid wearing stilettos
2) Welcome Drinks
As guests arrive to your ceremony, consider offering a welcome drink station. While you can certainly offer alcoholic beverages at this time (or stick to a single option like champagne), you can also simply offer something to keep guests hydrated like fruit-infused water and iced tea.
If pre-ceremony drinks don’t work for your venue layout, you can also plan to have butler-passed water, wine, or champagne waiting for guests as they enter into your cocktail hour space. This allows for guests to grab a quick sip and will help to reduce the immediate lines formed at the bar.
If you’ll be putting together your timeline by yourself, run through it a few times to see how the timing of the day will feel to guests. Put yourself in your guests’ shoes to see if there are any dull moments or times when the flow of the day feels off. For instance, extending your cocktail hour by a half-hour or even an hour might work well to accommodate your photo schedule, but it's likely going to leave your guests feeling antsy as they wait for the next part of the evening.
Running through your timeline from a guests’ perspective can also help you to determine if you should be providing any extra accommodations, such as transportation from your ceremony to your reception.
4) Kids’ Activities
If you’re inviting kiddos to your wedding, remember that they might get a bit antsy. Offering some kids-only activities is a great way to keep the little ones entertained (and allow their parents to have some fun too!). During your ceremony, offer the kids quiet, individual activities like wedding-themed coloring pages or word searches.
For the reception, seat kids together at a table with butcher paper instead of a linen; set out markers and crayons so the group can create their own masterpieces. You can also hire kids-specific entertainment, such as a balloon artist, magician, or caricature artist.
If you prefer to keep your wedding adults-only but still want to help out those guests with little ones, consider hiring a babysitting service. There are companies that specifically specialize in event babysitting, and this is something you could set up in an extra room at your venue or in a meeting room at the hotel. Check with the service to see if they bring activities or if you should drop off some coloring books, board games, books, etc. Post the necessary information to your wedding website so parents know when and where to drop off their little ones.
5) Host a Wedding Weekend
This is highly recommended if you’ll be hosting a destination wedding but is also a great idea if you have lots of guests traveling for your wedding! Hosting a weekend of wedding-related activities is a great way to thank guests for their time. It’s also an easy way for guests to get to know one another, and you’ll have more time to connect with all your guests rather than just a quick chat at the reception.
Your wedding weekend could include a variety of events such as a welcome party, rehearsal dinner, luncheon for your wedding party, and post-wedding brunch. You could even kick things up a notch and organize some group activities like golfing, going on a sightseeing tour, attending a group cooking class, etc.
Nobody wants to have hungry wedding guests. Keeping the food rolling throughout the day will help keep guests happy and comfortable. If you’re looking to take your food to the next level, you have endless options for creative catering ideas:
Interactive food stations (live sushi making, guacamole making, etc.)
Late-night snacks (bonus points if it’s a local favorite)
International and/or cultural food
Seasonal foods or ingredients
Bite-sized food pairings (i.e. mini grilled cheese and tomato soup, mini tacos and margaritas, etc.)
Individual charcuterie boards
Espresso or tea bar
The list goes on and on!
If you’re looking to extend your unique food offerings, consider incorporating local bites into your favors or welcome bags. Wedding favors too often get left behind at the reception, but offering guests something edible to take home with them will definitely help prevent this from happening.
When it comes to the dancing portion of your reception, there are a few ways to get guests involved. One way is to let guests submit music preferences or song requests. The key here is to gather these in advance. If you’re doing online RSVPs, this is an easy spot to add a question about the guest’s music tastes. If you’ll be doing mail-in RSVPs and don’t have enough room for extra questions on the RSVP card, you can easily add a short form on your wedding website for guests to enter their info.
A lot of couples we chat with want their reception to be a super fun party -- and we totally get and love that vibe! But what we see often is just the young people hitting the dance floor. Throwing a few slow songs into your playlist is a great way for older guests to feel included in the celebration.
Beyond dancing, there are plenty of alternative entertainment options for you to include in your reception. The most popular that likely comes to mind is a photo booth, but you can even hire dancers or performers, set up outdoor games like giant tic-tac-toe or Jenga, book a team mascot, have an on-site wine or whiskey tasting, and more.
These ideas only touch the surface of what your wedding experience can be for guests! If you’re looking to chat through more ideas or want to see how you can incorporate these elements into your wedding day, schedule a free consultation call with us HERE!
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