What About the Guests? (June 2017)

Weddings evolve around the bride and her preferences – as it should – whether it be her colors, her wedding gown, bridesmaid dresses, venue, floral arrangements, the list goes on.  Many brides have a detailed checklist of things to-do and a timeline for the day-of.   The overall intent is for a beautiful ceremony and reception, bringing joy to the bride and groom’s hearts.

All that is well and good but what about the guests?  What makes them happy?  What are their simple pleasures?  Are you thinking of their needs, their comfort?  It might be helpful in planning your wedding day to know the 10 Things Guests Hate (courtesy of Woman’s Day.)

Having to Pay for Their Drinks

Guests understand if an open top-shelf bar isn’t within the couple’s budget, but charging them to celebrate a marriage?! No one should have to take out their wallets at a party. Unlimited beer, wine and soda is a considerate compromise, even if it’s only during the first couple hours of the reception

A Reception That Takes Place HOURS After the Ceremony

Churches often have set times when they’ll hold ceremonies—likewise with catering halls and receptions. But when the majority of guests aren’t close enough to go home or staying at a nearby hotel, they’re not going to be thrilled about killing two-and-a-half hours.

 Too Many Long Speeches

The best man drones on about a singular drunken escapade from college. Then two other groomsmen recount that same less-than-sober experience. The maid of honor cries for a solid six minutes of her toast. And a bridesmaid does a tribute to the couple—in rhyme. The father of the bride gives the family history. And the parents of the groom want in, too. STOP THE MADNESS. Extra guests who want the mic can get their chance at the events leading up to the wedding, or they can be honored some other way.

Sitting in Undesirable Locations

No one with functioning ears wants to eat dinner next to a throbbing DJ speaker. And the opposite is true, too: Guests don’t exactly feel like part of the action if they can’t see the dance floor or hear the toasts and music.

Being Forced to Participate

An MC who bullies people onto the dance floor, especially the unmarried folks to catch the bouquet or garter, quickly grates on guests’ nerves. Couples should invite people they’d like to be present when they get hitched, whether or not those friends and relatives want to be on display during the singles-shaming parts of the event.

Couples Who Spend More on Décor Than Their Guests’ Good Time

Sorry, florists. A wedding’s success in the eyes of guests depends far more on the food and entertainment than the bouquets. A budget devoted to flowers instead of enjoyable music and a tasty, filling meal is sure to leave guests disappointed.

Limited Food

When brides and grooms only provide light bites (no, five fruit and veggie platters won’t cut it for a wedding), or dinner options that aren’t crowd-pleasers (that mustard-crusted liver the couple split on their first date shouldn’t be the only choice on the menu), guests go hungry. And then get angry. And then leave to go get real food.

Too Many Organized Dances

The Electric Slide, the Dougie, the Macarena, and oh, the Chicken Dance. Guests want a chance to bust their own kind of moves.

Having to Wait in Line for Anything

Photo booths are fun…until you spend half an hour for a chance to get inside one. And who doesn’t love food stations? The people with grumbling stomachs who didn’t run to be first when they opened up, that’s who. Couples better satisfy guests when they designate when tables of attendees can go up to enjoy popular offerings and ensure there’s enough of a good thing for everyone.

Being Forced to Tolerate Extreme Conditions

Guests can get sunburn on a shade-free beach, or shiver in the October wind or get attacked by bees and mosquitoes. Even if the nuptials are indoors, a broken or overactive A/C or heater can bother people. When brides and grooms make guests’ comfort their number-one priority, they can’t go wrong.

Five Pitfalls to Avoid (June, 2007)

Planning a wedding can sometimes be like Charles Dickens words in A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Though you’re excited that you’re going to marry your true love, there’s so much to do that it almost seems overwhelming.

PrescottWeddings.com more than understands. That’s why we looked at all the problems that can surround a wedding and came up with five basic mistakes that Brides make, creating a domino effect that only increases her stress levels. Here’s our list of what you shouldn’t do:

5. Thinking you’re going to lose a dress size or two to fit into that “perfect” gown.

Let’s face it. This is a time where family and friends are going to fete you, hosting parties and showers in your honor. You can try to diet during this time but it’s not going to be easy turning down scrumptious tidbits of food or declining a glass of champagne.

When you buy your wedding gown, make sure that it fits comfortably. If you do lose weight, it’s always a lot easier to take in the seams then to let them out.

4. Allocating a budget first and then determining the number of guests second.

So many Brides do this and it creates all sorts of headaches or hurt feelings down the road. First, combine your list with the Groom’s of the family and friends you both would like to be in attendance. Then establish your budget. 50% of that budget should be allocated to the reception costs (location, food, beverage/bar, cake, and rentals). Divide that by the number of guests for a per person cost. From there, you can make decisions whether you can afford serving shrimp as an appetizer or if that ice sculpture is really worth it.

Where mistakes are made is when Brides decide in advance that they must have shrimp appetizers and a customized ice sculpture before they put together a guest list. If they go over their cost limit, then they just cross guests off their list, regardless if it be family or friend. Just remember it’s difficult to explain why shrimp was more important to be at your wedding than Aunt Carol and Uncle Jim.

3. Not locking-in prices; not obtaining quotes on an “inclusive” basis.

Once you’ve decided on specifics (venue, menu, décor, entertainment, etc.), start locking-in prices as soon as possible. You want to take advantage of today’s prices for tomorrow’s costs. And make sure that any quote you get is “inclusive” and not “exclusive”. Inclusive means that the cost includes tax and gratuity. Exclusive means that it’s still to be added.

There’s no surer way to wreck a budget than to get a quote on an exclusive basis. Let’s say that there’s a mandated 18% gratuity within the catering contract. Add to that Arizona’s 8% sales tax and that means your food cost per person just went up another 26%! Ouch!

2. Thinking you can say or do whatever you please because you’re the Bride and it’s your day.

Yes, it is your day but that does not give any Bride the license to be rude or ill mannered. No one is given that permission, regardless of what day it is, and that includes wedding days.

It’s important to recognize that, after a wedding, you have what is commonly referred to as a marriage. That means that you’re going to keep running into the very same people that you’ve been insulting or offending, whether it be at family reunions, holidays, graduations, and the like. Simplify your future. Be as gracious and charming as possible. It will serve you well in the years ahead.

1. Not immediately writing and mailing thank you notes for engagement, shower, and wedding gifts, in addition to thanking the hostess(es).

Yes, even in this day and age, a hand-written thank you note is still expected. A prompt thank you note goes a long way, especially during these days where some Brides’ believe that gifts are their entitlement, or at the very least, the price of admission for attending their wedding festivities. Little do they know that guests are not mandated to give a gift at all, not even under the rules of etiquette.

Should you receive a gift from a family member or friend, you should immediately write a personal note expressing your delight in their thoughtfulness. You’ll win every time.