The Well Executed Wedding: Simply Stunning Shares Tips To Ensure a Wonderful Guest Experience
Monday, February 27, 2012
Whether your guests are from out of town or local, you want them all to feel equally welcome and ready to have a great time at your wedding. How do you achieve that goal? Trust us, a well executed wedding takes a pro.
Kristin Kaplan, a professional wedding planner and owner of Simply Stunning Events, puts her couples at ease by guiding them through their planning process and wedding day. Today, she shares advice that will help you think through the finer details of your wedding, so it's enjoyable for all involved.
From Kristin, owner of Simply Stunning Events...
Your wedding is a life changing and important event, but it is also a beautiful day of celebration for your family and friends. You might hear “It’s your day,…do whatever you want…it’s all about you” but I personally feel that’s not the way to go about planning your wedding. One of the most amazing aspects of the day is that it is the ONE time when all of the most important people in your lives from the past and present, all come together to honor and support you as a couple. And these days, weddings are hardly home-town affairs anymore. Many, if not all, of your guests might be traveling from out-of-town, which is even more of a reason to keep them in mind as you plan your day. Therefore, I’ve put together some wedding day topics in which it’s important to really consider your guests so that they will be as comfortable as possible and have a great time!
ABG Notes: Make the smiles on their faces last for the whole night. (Picture by Gray Photography)
The Venue, Travel, & Lodging
In choosing when and where to hold your wedding, it’s important to pick a date and location that won’t make it incredibly difficult for your guests to attend. While long weekends are popular, air travel and hotel rooms can be more expensive, and people may not want to give up their holiday weekend to travel far for a wedding. However, some pros for holiday weekends are that guests may have more time to spend for the wedding events since they already have an extra day or two off - the same goes for Friday or Sunday weddings. Many venues offer discounts to reserve days other than Saturdays but in choosing those days, your guests may have to take extra time off of work to attend. If most of your guests are local, a Sunday wedding is a great alternative.
Regardless of when you choose to have your wedding, if there will be guests traveling from out of town so be sure to reserve a block of hotel rooms, preferably at two different hotels that are each in a different budget range, and assist your guests by giving lots of information about area attractions, transportation (rental cars and taxis), and great places to eat while they are in town.
When considering whether to choose a wedding venue downtown, be aware that parking is often expensive and hard to find in the evenings (especially if there is a big concert, football or hockey game going on), and there may be a lot of noise and partying happening around the venue. Downtown venues are great if most of your guests will be staying in a hotel nearby anyway but if not, consider renting a shuttle to assist in getting them where they need to be, and so as to avoid parking costs.
ABG Notes: Include information on local attractions with your invitation or through your wedding website. (Picture by McCoy Made)
The Food & Drink
The concept of the wedding reception has always been centered around a celebratory meal, typically dinner. In the past, a seated or buffet dinner was always the norm, however lately, couples have become more interested in food stations or cocktail-style receptions. I personally love this trend, when done the right way and for the right reasons.
If you are choosing to host a cocktails only or light hors d’oeuvre style reception in order to serve less food and save money, please keep some key points in mind. First if the reception is happening at a mealtime, you need to serve a meal (and a filling one). The same goes for if you are having a 4-5 hour reception. It is in poor taste to expect guests to celebrate all night long and not feed them an actual meal just so you can save some money. Consider other ways to cut costs such as inviting fewer guests (always the simplest way to reduce your budget!).
When is it ok to serve a light meal?
- If you have a morning or early afternoon reception (a great option for those looking to keep costs down for both the food and bar).
- If you are having a shorter reception that begins late in the evening (for example you are having an 8 PM ceremony, followed by a 2 hour reception from 8:30 – 10:30 PM). In those cases you wouldn’t be expected to serve a large meal.
There has also been a huge increase in recent years of dietary restrictions and deciding on your menu can get a little tricky. Your guests may have allergies to certain foods or choose to be vegetarians or be gluten-free. My thoughts on this are that it’s nice to be as accommodating as you can to these guests, however you are never going to please everyone. Serve the food that you love as a couple but offer one or two options that those with dietary restrictions may be able to enjoy (such as one vegetable entrée and appetizer). Most people with dietary restrictions know they won’t be able to eat much and will usually eat before arriving.
When deciding what type of beverages to serve, there are a few different options and considerations. First, cash bars are a NO-NO! Please, don’t even think about it. Either host the bar, or don’t serve alcohol at all. You would never host a party at your home and expect your guests to pay for their own drinks, so absolutely do not do it at a wedding. You can either serve a full bar (which includes a variety of liquor and mixed drinks) or beer and wine only (which is perfectly acceptable and another great way to keep costs down).
ABG Notes: Let them know what's in store for the evening. (Picture by McLellan Style)
Lastly, when all is said-and-done, you’re married, you’ve had a fantastic reception and honeymoon, and you are settling into your new life as husband and wife, it’s now time to THANK YOUR GUESTS. Send custom, hand-written thank you notes within 2 months of the wedding date to thank them for the wedding gift and let them know how much you appreciate them for supporting and loving you on such a special day.
Kristin Kaplan and Simply Stunning Events is a wedding planning company. For more information visit them at SimplyStunningNashville.com.